Syft has spent the last two weeks working closely with our finance and legal teams to understand what we can offer our workers in terms of financial assistance. As a result, we are very happy to announce we will be offering eligible Syfters the Job Retention Scheme. As you may have heard, the Government has announced a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, stating that individuals who work through employment agencies and who were on the agency’s payroll on 28 February 2020, can benefit from this scheme. Under this Scheme, employers will be able to furlough workers who have no work as a direct result of the outbreak, and we will be able to pay you 80% of your wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. We have followed the government’s guidelines closely and believe this scheme provides the best support for our community.
Therefore, we have decided to furlough hospitality workers* who have been on the Syft’s Payroll from November 2019 to February 2020 as the hospitality sector has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and no work is available. For industrial and facilities management workers, we have seen an increased demand so the Scheme would not be applicable.
If you are eligible for the scheme, you will receive a separate email from us explaining the scheme in more detail with the opportunity to participate and receive a monthly wage on Wednesday (8 April 2020). These arrangements will start on 13 April 2020, and we will backdate to 1 March. They will continue until 31 May 2020, which is the date that the Government grant is expected to cease. If you are eligible and accept to be furloughed, the March furlough wages will be paid on 17 April 2020.
Being furloughed is not compulsory of course, however, we do believe this is the best option for those whose industry has been particularly affected. If you agree to be furloughed, you will remain on the Syft payroll. However, you will not be permitted to continue working for Syft and your profile will be temporarily unverified. Rest assured we’ll re-verify you once the furlough period is over.
I cannot get many shifts in the industrial and facilities management sectors as well, why am I not eligible?
The government guidance advises employers can place employees on furlough if there is no work available, as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). In that case, the hospitality sector is severely impacted by the lockdown and social distancing measures and no work is available.
However, we have seen an increased number of shifts for industrial and facilities management workers due to the demand of essential services. Our team is working hard to bring more businesses on board and provide more shifts to you in the coming weeks.
Therefore, workers that have been verified for more than the hospitality sector would not be eligible.
I was on Syft payroll in October but didn’t work with you after that, why am I not eligible?
As the availability of hospitality shifts peaked in November 2019, we believe that was the period when most active hospitality Syfters would be able to get work, and therefore their incomes are directly impacted by the coronavirus with no work available now, meeting the government guidance of eligibility for furlough.
I have worked in late February, why am I not eligible?
According to the government guidance, you must have been on our PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020. Unfortunately, if your last completed shift was in the second half of February, it would appear in the March payroll. If that was the only shift you have completed since November 2019, you would not be eligible to be furloughed by Syft.
How much will I get?
You will receive the same month’s earnings from the previous year (2019) or your average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 year, whichever is greater.
When will I be able to work with you again?
Your profile will be temporarily unverified once you agree to be furloughed. Once we see more shifts available on the platform, we’ll re-activate your profile and you will be able to pick up shifts again. If we see this happening earlier than 31st May, we might take people off furlough sooner, and initially the first minimum period of furlough would be 3 weeks.
Once I accept to be furloughed, when do I get the March pay? What about April’s and May’s?
We ask everyone who agrees to be furloughed to respond by 23:59 12th April. The March furlough wages will be paid on 17th April 2020. April and May’s pay dates will be communicated as soon as possible.
Can I still work with other employers/agencies?
You will still be permitted to work with other employers, this will not affect your furlough status with Syft. And if you choose, you are also permitted to volunteer during your furloughed time.
I’m in self-isolation, can I still be furloughed?
Government guidance indicates that “employees on sick leave or self-isolating should get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) but can be furloughed after this”. This means for Syfters who are currently on SSP, you will be able to accept to be furloughed after you come off sick leave. For Syfters who are in self-isolation but do not receive SSP, they can accept to be furloughed now.
If there is available work, do I get a choice to either go back into work or stay on furlough?
Once you are furloughed, your profile will be temporarily unverified for a minimum of 3 weeks, during which you will not be permitted to work through Syft. After the initial 3 weeks, if there is work available, Syft will reactivate your profile and you will be able to book shifts.
Am I able to get furloughed if I have applied for Universal Credit or other grants?
If your salary is reduced as a result of being furloughed, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit, as it is means-tested.
If you are already on Universal Credit beforehand, and if you’re earning less because you’re on furlough, your Universal Credit payment might change – find out how earnings affect your payments.
How do I know if I have been accepted/processed to be furlough?
You have received an email that allows you to accept participation to be furloughed. Provided you have clicked the “Accept” button, you will receive an email within 24 hours confirming your furlough status.
How can I see how much I earn each month in 2019?
You can check your payslips on paycircle.