Job Retention Scheme - General Message
The closure of many of our University buildings in line with Government advice, effective from 24 March 2020, led to a rapid transition which has seen significant short-term changes to many job roles and indeed the availability of work in some areas. Whilst we would hope to be in a position to return to business as usual as and when government and Public Health Scotland advice indicates it is safe to do so, we do not know exactly when that is likely to be.
Many colleagues will have heard of the Government’s plan to assist UK employers in continuing to pay their staff through the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. This scheme has been established to provide Government support with wage costs at a time when, for many roles, work is unavailable or cannot be carried out. The scheme involves “furloughing” affected employees and in turn the Government will reimburse 80% of furloughed staff wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
The University is in the process of assessing which roles may be eligible for the ‘furloughing’ scheme, with a specific focus on areas where work is unavailable or cannot be carried out (e.g. from home) given the current ‘lockdown’ circumstances. It must be stated that whilst the Government scheme will reimburse 80% of normal wages, the University has fully committed to maintaining full and normal pay (including pension contributions) for any individuals identified as furloughed (i.e. the University will top-up).
The University is carrying out this work in consultation with the campus recognised Trade Unions and will communicate directly with any colleagues identified and who will potentially qualify for furlough.
The scheme is fully intended as a temporary measure and, once current Government advice changes and work becomes available again, the University will notify furloughed individuals to return to work consistent with normal working arrangements.