Churchill Knight is aware that there is a lot of open discussions about umbrella companies and the furloughing of their clients on social media. We are pleased that concerned parties are looking for answers on social media – as this is precisely what it is there for. However, we’re worried that several groups are claiming to have umbrella employees interests at heart, but are sharing incorrect and misleading information. If you are an umbrella employee who has not been able to access furlough pay yet, please understand the situation that umbrella companies find themselves in.
Lots of comments online are pointing figures at umbrella companies for “refusing” to pay their clients furlough pay. These comments suggest that umbrella companies are deliberately being difficult and are choosing to offer no financial support to their clients. This is not the case.
As an FCSA accredited umbrella company, Churchill Knight Umbrella wants to be able to furlough eligible clients. However, we simply cannot go ahead and do this until the government clear up important issues on Holiday Pay and the Apprenticeship Levy.
Here are some points to consider:
- Umbrella companies have not been told whether or not they’ll be reimbursed by the government for accrued Holiday Pay (HP) or the Apprenticeship Levy (AL). As a leading umbrella, Churchill Knight Umbrella has thousands of clients. If we were to start issuing furlough pay to later find out we will not be reimbursed for HP or the AL – we would almost certainly become insolvent within weeks.
- Churchill Knight Umbrella want to offer furlough pay to our clients, and we believe they should be entitled to more than 80% of the National Minimum Wage (NMW). This is something else that the government has not made clear. We understand that our clients are not happy with the current predicament, and neither are we.
- If umbrella companies start distributing furlough pay incorrectly – errors could be damaging to both the umbrella company and umbrella employees. The correct payments must be made the first time around – and these are not possible at present.
- As a compliant umbrella company, there is absolutely no way we can, or are looking to “profit” from the furloughing of our clients. We want to make it clear that we want to furlough our clients and we will – as soon as the government provide clarification. We also want to be able to offer our clients the highest amount of furlough pay that is legally possible – as long as it does not put the future of our business at risk of financial ruin.
- Churchill Knight Umbrella has already contacted all of our clients about the current situation. We have gathered the information of those who believe they’re entitled to furloughed leave. Providing the government is responsible and provides us with the information we need, we will start furloughing our clients immediately – and as quickly as we possibly can. We have already looked into sourcing a business loan to cover the initial cashflow demands.
- We’re proudly accredited by the FCSA and support their efforts in getting a response from the government. The FCSA, along with four other leading professional bodies, have rallied together as one voice and we sincerely hope they’re successful in their efforts to seek clarification on the subject of furloughed leave for umbrella employees. It is worth noting that the FCSA has also noticed several “misleading” pieces of information online – presented by so-called “experts”.
- Churchill Knight Umbrella is urging our clients to contact their local MP and present all of the facts about the current situation. Hopefully, this strategy will help speed up the response from the government. If you run an online group that is trying to mislead contractors and point fingers at umbrella companies – please contact your local MP too (but be sure to present facts). The FCSA has created a template Word Document, and it is available for you to use now – please click here.
- Yes – some umbrella companies are offering furloughed leave right now. However, they are either taking a substantial risk, or they do not have many clients on their books (which means the potential cost implications to their business are not likely to be damaging in the long run).
Churchill Knight is doing everything it can to be transparent
We are very keen to furlough our clients and will continue to follow the FCSA’s progress closely. In the meantime, please be careful what you read online as there are some very inaccurate pieces of information targeting contractors and freelancers.
If you are a Churchill Knight Umbrella client who believes you should be entitled to furloughed leave, please complete our online Furlough Declaration Form (if you haven’t already). In the meantime, please continue to check your emails and our blog for the latest news. We sincerely hope there is a positive outcome to this unfortunate situation.