Employee support scheme draws to a close

As the furlough scheme closes, we take a look back at what a difference it made to thousands of People Group’s contractors. Including many key workers during the most trying of times.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was first announced in a statement on 20 March 2020. Prior to receiving government funding People Group were among the first to react to support their workforce and make CJRS payments to contractors.

In an interview with Radio 4’s money box programme back in April 2020, People Group MD Terry Hillier explained why he made the decision to engage with the CJRS scheme. Stating primarily that it was the right thing to do. To support thousands of workers who would have otherwise been unpaid. The interview also featured the then MD of the FCSA Julia Kermode looking to defend the outdated contracts that many FCSA members were using. These old contracts meant furlough pay would be lower for many workers and in some cases non-existent while further guidance was awaited. Something which People Group had addressed previously when reviewing employment contracts.

Talking about the very early days of Furlough, Terry commented: “It wasn’t easy. Almost overnight we designed and implemented a new system for identifying contractors who were eligible for furlough and to enable accurate payments. All while ensuring our recruitment agency partners were very much in the loop and understood their part in the process.”

While the systems were initially put in place at great speed, the constantly updated government guidance meant that the People Group team had to frequently amend systems to accommodate the latest updates.

Client Care manager, Karen Illston-Baggs commented: “Looking back over the first three months of lockdown is quite surreal. The amount we managed to achieve to keep both our recruitment agencies and contractors updated was immense. The whole team really pulled together and achieved fantastic results which ultimately made a real difference to thousands of peoples’ livelihoods. All whilst working remotely!”

Throughout 2020 and because of the support provided to many key workers, the videos, and notes of thanks from our customers was incredible. People Group received hundreds of messages including children of key workers saying what a difference we had made. You can read a few of these below.

In total People Group supported thousands of individuals, generated 70,000 pay slips and released funds of over £10 Million. We received over 100 video messages and 400 emails thanking us for supporting our workers. We have since been fully audited for our CJRS submissions and throughout it all, acted in the best interest of ‘People’.

“At the best of times, I am not a great fan of ‘umbrella companies’ but in this instance I was amazed to see how pro-active the People Group were. While most companies are only now launching the furlough scheme (if they are), you have from the start of the confinement informed us and were very prompt in making a decision.

“I could not believe how easy you made the process for us and how quickly we got the money. I am extremely grateful for your efficiency because without it, I would been in a very precarious situation.

“We tend to contact companies when there’s something wrong but hardly ever to congratulate them. So, I wanted to thank all the staff at the People Group for their support and care. It means a lot in these difficult times and I am sure many of us will not forget when this is all over.

“All the best and stay safe”

“At a time when you are worried about your loved ones dying and you actually have time to think, rather than running around like a headless chicken keeping your job and family smoothly running: THANK YOU.

“As a supply teacher, my worry about not having an income again was huge and wondering how to pay bills, so I was enormously impressed when I was asked if I wanted to be furloughed just after the first time I heard the term on the news.

“I was even more impressed by your efficiency to get the process started with all the information. A huge thank you and the team are much appreciated.

“Keep well. Keep safe.”

“Many thanks for your continued support during this difficult time.  Considering that I am only using you as an umbrella company, you have been more forthcoming than my previous multinational company employer. I was emailed by yourselves regarding Furlough payments.  To enable it, all I had to do was a few clicks and I was done.  Amazing!  I wish all my online interactions were as easy.”

Hear from the contractors themselves: