A north-east councillor has called for flexibility to be introduced to the UK Government’s furlough scheme to help disadvantaged businesses.
Geva Blackett, Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside representative urged the government to make adjustments that would allowed furloughed employees to use some of their time to help their organisation out.
Speaking during the virtual full Aberdeenshire Council meeting yesterday, Ms Blackett said: “Employers are able, as we know, to claim back 80% of a furloughed employee’s salary up to a £2,500 per month ceiling.
“Employees are not allowed to do any work for their employer while furloughed however if their contract allows, they can go and take paid employment elsewhere.
“Quite a number of employers are topping up those salaries with the remaining 20% and this is where I believe there needs to be an amendment. Many businesses, particularly those in tourism, could actually do with having someone working that 20% that they are paying for.
“I have written to the Scotland Office and the Leader of Aberdeenshire Council reiterating what I hope will be viewed as a constructive suggestion to aid and assist local businesses during this time.”
She used Braemar Castle as an example of when this adjustment could come in handy, with the tourist attraction employing a manager who is currently on furlough.
That means volunteers need to keep the castle secure, continue with the Heritage Lottery Funding bid , do forward planning and also social media updates something the manager usually does.
If their manager could do the job at least one day a week, it would make it easier for the group.