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Furlough and service


Georgina_Frogley
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All our staff are currently furloughed. They are all keeping in touch with parents via tapestry and posting activities to their accounts. The way we got around with this was to give them permission to keep in touch with parents in their own time, but not request that they do so. 

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This has been bothering me for days, I didn’t want to cut them off completely from seeing what their key parents are posting but also didn’t want them posting any more next steps or doing progress tracking  as I do see that as providing a service (it’s something they would have done under employment), all  are now furloughed, I’ve deactivated their individual accounts but we do have a staff pin only accountant that all use if adding someone else’s KC to an ob, if they ‘choose’ to look at that they can and acknowledge receipt, we explained to our parents that they’d be unable to send out any more next steps, they added lots of stories and fun activities to share with home before being furloughed that I can continue to send out and I’ll pick up assessments from parent obs.

My staff wouldn’t be generating revenue but I guess it’s what each individual feels counts as ‘providing a service’ ...a really tricky one 🤔

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the governments intention (to my mind) is that they wanted to make sure you couldn't take a second paid job whilst you were taking furlough. It appears from the information given that you are able to volunteer some time to your business (espcially if you are a charity) and even as the leader of the business you can do enough to ensure the business continues to run. I don't think we should be getting ourselves twisted up on little details as long as they are not claiming furlough and taking on another job (that pays through the paye system ) 

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Martin Lewis has just confirmed that you can work for another employer whilst you are furloughed, but you must not carry out any work at all for the employer who has furloughed you. He said this would be a serious breach of the furlough regulations, which has concerned me!!  For me I would see any staff continuing to post activities to Tapestry as continuing to carry out 'work' for us as their employer.  There would also be a 'trail' to prove staff were still 'working'.  

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Hi 

This is a real tricky one isn't it as part of the reason for furloughed staff to keep in touch with the children/families is about maintaining relationships with them while staff and children have to be apart.

We at the FSF have been emailing all sorts of people in government offices trying to get a definitive answer and if we do we will post it for sure.

In the meantime this might be of help:
https://www.eyalliance.org.uk/news/2020/04/government-confirms-furlough-flexibility

The Early Years Alliance are really working hard to ensure that settings have flexibility and I am sure the question of continued contact will be answered eventually!

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You cannot ask your employee to do any work that:

  • makes money for your organisation
  • provides services for your organisation

They can take part in volunteer work or training.

My thoughts on this (and i have NO legal standing!!) are that if your staff are volunteering their time to keep in contact that is up to them, but it needs to be clear that they are volunteering and this has nothing to do with their employment. They can't be Asked to do it. I had thought that if we were topping up the 80% that that might cover it but the government document does make it clear that this is not the case

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Well, my thinking on this is- maybe they have volunteered as part of staff training?  

Just  me thinking outside the box here but-

  • Maybe they just want a bit of feedback from how they are doing?....  (maybe they've just done an online course on language and communication and want to put it into practice will it's fresh in their minds)
  • What they could improve on next time ?
  •  Perhaps they want to 'create' up their own staff training content- stuff that can be shared at a later date for discussion at later staff meetings?

They're not actually working on anything other than their own CPD.   Obviously they need feedback about what works - so need to share with parents? 

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I asked our committee chair to call Early Years Alliance Lawcall and ask the question if staff could continue to keep in contact with families on Tapestry.  We have been asking them to set up one activity each week for their key children and respond to parents who are uploading photos etc.  Lawcall said no, they cannot provide any services and this would be part of their normal duties, so would not be able to continue whilst furloughed.  Hope this helps!

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1 hour ago, NBBubbles said:

I asked our committee chair to call Early Years Alliance Lawcall and ask the question if staff could continue to keep in contact with families on Tapestry.  We have been asking them to set up one activity each week for their key children and respond to parents who are uploading photos etc.  Lawcall said no, they cannot provide any services and this would be part of their normal duties, so would not be able to continue whilst furloughed.  Hope this helps!

but this is because you have asked them to do it as part of their duties, therfore you have requested them to work.

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