Job retention scheme ‘offers lifeline to care providers’

New guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) issued by the UK government can provide a possible lifeline to care providers struggling to recruit staff, according to specialist employment law firm Royds Withy King.

The guidance issued at the weekend confirms furloughed staff can work for other organisations without losing furloughed pay from their primary employer.

The latest guidance provides a potentially significant lifeline to care providers, which in some cases are losing around 25% of their workforce due to the coronavirus, said Royds Withy King social care head James Sage.

“The guidance confirms that workers who have been furloughed can work for other organisations, subject to any restrictions in their employment contracts, without adversely affecting their entitlement to 80% of pay while furloughed by their primary employer. This was not prohibited under previous guidance but has now been expressly confirmed,” he added.

“This provides a significant opportunity for care providers to attract staff from other sectors which have furloughed high numbers of staff including retail, hospitality and leisure, transport and logistics”.

Sage said the opportunity to boost reduced earnings and provide a valuable contribution to the Covid-19 response would be attractive to many workers.

“Although some workers will only be available for the duration of the CJRS, others may be able to continue on a part-time basis after they return to their other jobs. There will also be those that want to make a permanent move to the social care sector.”

Sage meanwhile said the government’s new emergency volunteering scheme under the Coronavirus Act 2020, which gives workers the right to take leave from work so that they can volunteer temporarily in the NHS or social care sector, provides care providers a significant opportunity for care providers trying to manage the pandemic.

The National Care Force, a new platform connecting local volunteers to care providers facing severe understaffing, has already seen more than 10,000 people sign up to help with various job roles in the sector, including cooking, driving and clinical care, he noted.