The Village ‘furloughed’ – even online!

Last day in The Village office.
Last day: Richard, Louise and Sally in a selfie taken on their last day all together in The Village office on March 17 2020.

As the coronavirus lockdown took hold, and as the Government’s measures to try to keep the UK economy on life support became clearer, the staff behind The Village operation became silent, one by one.

First, it was clear we should not send out teenagers to push magazines that could, feasibly, carry the virus through letterboxes. This decision, which we took more than a week ago, was confirmed on Monday by Worcestershire County Council’s child employment protection officers.

Then, with no magazine to write for or to organise, The Editor was “furloughed” – the Government Americanism that means they are on a paid leave of absence, with the Exchequer paying 80% of the furloughed worker’s wages.

Then, on Monday the Sales Manager, having contacted all of her advertising customers to explain what was happening and tying up loose administrative ends, headed off to her Lickey home HQ to sit out the crisis on furlough.

And now the Publisher, that’s me, who is also the sole director of the company that publishes The Village, has to step back from anything that could be classed as working for the business so as to qualify for furlough myself.

It’s not yet clear what this entails, although it seems that vital parts of maintaining a company, such as administering the payroll for furloughed staff and calculating the VAT Return can still be done.

But I don’t yet know whether maintaining this website with the latest news and information, items that could be of great use to Villagers, is something I can do under the furlough rules – even though it is not generating any income for the business.

So, as from April 1, I am on furlough and until it becomes clear what is allowed will not be updating this website, which is a shame because we’ve worked very hard over the past 10 days to rebuild it.

I don’t think I am even able to moderate the comments posted, so if any of you do add any, they may not appear for a while – but please do tell us what you think.

And with that, I will sign off for now – and hope to be back in the very near future.

Richard Peach