Port Vale have used the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, also known as furloughing, placing players and staff on paid leave.
Covid-19 has suspended the season indefinitely and is causing economic hardship up and down the country and is affecting all sectors, not just football.
In Vale’s case, chief executive Colin Garlick has explained they have taken the measure to protect the business. Vale, like all lower division clubs are suffering financially because they rely heavily on matchday income.
All the first team playing and backroom staff have been placed on furlough, as have the majority of other staff.
The club is also contributing so contracted staff are still getting 100 per cent of their wages.
Meanwhile, the club is also applying to the scheme to help matchday staff.
Some staff are remaining to keep the club running, although in some cases they are also working to help the club’s community efforts which have grown in the coronavirus crisis.
The club’s community scheme is delivering hundreds of food and care packages to the community and liaising with schools, businesses and charities. That’s part of a combined effort with the Synectics Solutions and Summit Hospitality businesses also owned by Vale owners Carol and Kevin Shanahan, and the Hubb Foundation charity of which Carol is founder and a trustee.
Our colleagues at ChronicleLive have compiled a guide to furlough…
What is furlough and who are furloughed workers?
Furlough is a leave of absence, at one point this referred to that granted to a member of the services or a missionary.
Furloughed workers are the staff whose employer can’t cover their wages due to the coronavirus.
Without the money for wages, they can’t work but rather than make them redundant they instead access funding from a Government care package to cover those costs.
It avoids scores of sudden job losses. However, the Government’s package doesn’t cover all your wage.
How much does it cover?
Employers can ask HMRC for a grant of up to 80% of a staff member’s wage. However, the maximum amount claimed is £2,500 – even if that employee earns much more.
The employees are then furloughed – so they remain on the payroll for when, hopefully, the country returns to normality.
What does the Government say?
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says: “To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them while you are furloughed.
“This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
“You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to.
“If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.”
You can find more Government guidance here.
Who is eligible for furlough?
Individuals originally had to be employed on February 28 2020.
But following a review of the delivery system, the eligibility date has been extended to March 19 2020 – the day before the scheme was announced.
Can furloughed workers carry out any work at all?
Furloughed workers remain employed but must not work. Assuming the designated employee has agreed to be furloughed, they cannot undertake any work for their employer at all.
If the employee continues to work, even reduced hours, they are not eligible for the scheme. The good news for furloughed staff is that they can volunteer or undertake training providing neither activity generates income for their employer.
Whether or not people can take advantage of this while confined to their house is, of course, another matter altogether.
How long will furlough last?
The Government has extended the scheme by a month until the end of June. That announcement was made this week after the Government announced it was extending lockdown restrictions for at least another three weeks.