Entrepreneurs call for furloughed staff to be allowed to return to work

Entrepreneurs call for furloughed staff to be allowed to return to work
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Mon 11th May 2020

Three business owners have called on the chancellor to allow furloughed workers to return to work to support their struggling companies.

Emma Loisel, founder of Volcano Coffee Works, and Theadora Alexander and Chris Green, co-founders of Young Foodies, have written an open letter to Rishi Sunak in which they say while the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has stopped businesses laying off staff, many small firms may no longer exist when the scheme ends.

"Things could be different if furloughed employees were allowed to continue to work for their employers," the letter says.

"For businesses, under the current rules, it's like our people are on enforced leave, just when we need them the most!

"Our loss in revenues means we can't afford to pay them right now.  But we still need their time and expertise to maximise all revenue opportunities, keep our businesses alive, plus get them ready to flourish again when more normal trading environments return.

"You are already paying our people's wages. This huge sunk cost could become an investment in our future, if you let us get our people back to work."

According to research commissioned by the entrepreneurs, 86% of furloughed staff are willing to work to help their employer's business survive the coronavirus lockdown, and 82% said they feel a sense of duty to contribute to the recovery of the British economy.

The call comes after press reports suggest the chancellor is considering changes to the scheme including extending it to September but reducing the amount of wages covered or allowing works to return part-time.

Enterprise Nation joined a call last month during which small business minister Paul Scully said the government is considering part-time furloughing.

Theadora Alexander said: "Bringing Britain's talent back into the workforce is a no-brainer. It makes no sense for the government to restrict people from supporting their employers, effectively putting the breaks on the economy and making it harder for businesses to recover."

The entrepreneurs are encouraging furloughed workers to support the campaign on social media using the #RatherBeWorking hashtag.

The latest coronavirus support information

We are keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access the government's coronavirus business support here. You can also find advice and ask a question on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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