All of us at BVNA recognise the stress and uncertainty that the world is experiencing right now – both as veterinary professionals and as individuals with homes and families to look after. Many of us will be dealing with financial hardships as well as adjusting to significant changes to our daily routines, one of which may be changes to our work schedules, hours and contracts.

We want to assure you that we are here to provide support and guidance to all those that may need it. Our members Advisory Service is accessible to all our members and can provide information on a wide range of legal and employment matters including furloughing.

What is furloughing?

This is an unfamiliar term for many and simply explained, is a way that an employer can retain their staff and pay them whilst they cannot attend work. If you have been placed on furlough, then it is important that you do not view this negatively. This is a significant lifeline to both employees and employers – allowing people to receive a proportion of their wages during these times of uncertainty and also, significantly increase the likelihood of having a job to go back to once it is safe to do so. Without the option of being placed on furlough, many employers would have to make a large proportion of their employees redundant, causing significant disruption and distress to all involved.

Additional support

If you are placed on furlough and your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit and/or the new style Employment and Support Allowance. You will still be paid by your employer and pay taxes from your income. It is important to understand that you cannot undertake ANY work for your employer while on furlough, so you cannot be part of an on-call rota, work from home or do any other forms of work for your employer during this period.

If you have been advised to stay at home by a medical professional because of COVID-19 you may be eligible for Statuary Sick Pay. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

Many veterinary staff are self-employed and cannot be placed on furlough, however you may still be eligible for the range of benefits outlined above. Regardless of your situation, please do contact our members helpline for more advice on your personal situation – we are here to help!

An opportunity

For those that have been placed on furlough, treat this as an opportunity to re-group and reconnect with yourself, your loved ones and your hobbies. 2020 has been an exceptionally hectic and stressful year so far for most of us and we are in desperate need of some self-care for both our physical and mental well-being. Take the time to do things that make you happy and share this with your veterinary family too. Even though we may not be working side by side, we still have friendships formed with our co-workers and staying in contact is vital, especially during this extended period of isolation.

Keep up-to-date with BVNA

You can keep up to date with the BVNA in a variety of ways including following our social media, logging onto our website and taking advantage of the CPD available. Also, read our BVNA blogs and keep an eye out for our upcoming series of articles based on ‘what nurses can do’ as well as keeping in touch with our network of Regional Representatives. Sadly, we are not holding any regional face to face events at the moment, however our Reps are still active and happy to chat to you. They are also looking into holding some online events so do keep in touch with your local Rep.

So be smart, stay safe and help each other through these difficult times, because…that’s #whatVNsdo

Furlough Guidance (As at 4th April 2020)

Additional Key Points:

  • Furlough can rotate as long as the furlough period is for at least 3 weeks
  • If employed by an Umbrella Company they can furlough you
  • If you have 2 jobs -You can be furloughed by 1 organisation and not the other
  • Compulsory Commission can be  included in furlough