Furlough pay by Richard Hartley

Furlough pay by Richard Hartley

The government released new guidelines yesterday on how to handle furlough pay (see link below for full details).

We are creating a furlough pay type for S4labour to support our customers through this challenging time but I wanted to write and share how we’re calculating this so others have the information to do so.

The government has said for employees it will pay a grant of 80% of earnings up to £2,500. This will be based on the higher of the average earnings in the whole previous 12 months (or fewer if they have worked for less time than this, including a part-month calculation if they were taken on in February) or the earnings in the same pay period in the previous year.

This is helpful for salaried staff but much more complicated for weekly paid employees on variable-hours contracts. We are therefore required to interpret how to calculate the above earnings for our weekly paid employees. We are going to apply the following logic:

We will calculate their average monthly earnings for the previous 12 months from the date they were furloughed. For example, if they were furloughed from 21 March we would reference 21/03/19 to 20/03/20 and work out a monthly average.

We will recalculate the last year’s monthly earnings every week based on the month that starts on the same date as the week last year. For example, for the week that runs 23/03/20 to 29/03/20, we’ll look at the monthly earnings from 23/03/19 to 22/03/19.

We will then take the higher of these monthly earnings and use this to calculate the weekly pay for the employee. This is good news for our teams whose earnings typically increase as we head into the summer months as they will benefit from this uplift.

All employees are eligible as long as they were employed by the organisation on 28 February.

We were pleased to see the government will additionally cover the National Insurance contributions and pension contributions for employers.

Employers are also able to top up their employees’ pay and we will support this functionality, although NI and pension contributions on the top-up aren’t covered by the scheme.

There’s still no announcement on how to treat holiday while staff are furloughed. In the short term, we’re going to maintain their accruals so we have an accurate picture of holiday entitlement as we come out of the pandemic but will amend this if further advice from government suggests we need to. Our thoughts are that the government is delaying making an announcement on holiday as it’s unsure how long the pandemic will last and to commit to any specific stance in the short term could have longer-term consequences.

We will continue to do what we can to support our customers and the wider industry. If anyone has any specific questions, email richard@s4labour.co.uk and I will do my best to answer. Click here to view the new government guidelines in full.

Richard Hartley is chief product officer of Catton Hospitality

Catton Hospitality is a member of our BeatTheVirus campaign

Furlough pay by Richard Hartley

Propel launches BeatTheVirus campaign

Propel has launched BeatTheVirus to help operators through the covid-19 crisis. We have teamed up with Propel Multi Club conference series partners to offer the sector their expertise. Partners will offer more general advice and highlight some of the initiatives they are doing. Bibendum and Startleare the latest companies to come on board and join Airship, Bibendum, Bums on Seats, CACI, Christie & Co, COREcruitment, CPL Learning, Cynergy Bank, Elliotts, Hastee, haysmacintyre, John Gaunt & Partners, KAM Media, Prestige Purchasing, S4labour, Startle, Ten Kites, The NPD Group, Toggle, Trail, Venners, Wireless Social, Yapster and sector trade bodyUKHospitality.

Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “It is amazing to see how the industry has come together during this crisis and here at Propel we want to do our bit. This is why we are working with Multi Club partners to offer expert support and advice to our readers and to answer their questions at what is a tough time for everyone.”

Readers can email questions for our experts to paul.charity@propelinfo.com. Please use BeatTheVirus in the subject line. A selection of questions and answers can be found at the bottom of this newsletter.

Furlough pay by Richard Hartley

BeatTheVirus – S4labour offers advice on furlough pay

Richard Hartley, chief product officer of S4labour, the online labour-scheduling management system from Catton Hospitality, has offered readers advice on the issue of furlough pay. He said: “We are awaiting further information from the government but for those of you that need to pay your teams now, this is how we are treating furlough pay. In the absence of any advice we’re treating this as a normal pay element. It therefore attracts National Insurance payments, pension payments and is subject to holiday accrual.

If the government changes any element regarding this, we plan to make adjustments in the next pay run to reflect those changes. The government is creating a portal for employers to claim back the furlough pay and aims to have this up and running by the end of April – presumably in time for April’s pay run. This will mean organisations need to fund any payments up to this point out of current cash reserves, which will undoubtedly take its toll on some operators.

The intention is that organisations use the additional support available to bridge these payments. We will update this advice as we receive more information.” Hartley said S4labour had also drafted a key worker letter. He added: “Our payroll team has moved to remote working and is working tirelessly to ensure we accurately process the pay for so many of our customers in these difficult times and with the additional pressure of furlough adjustments. We are, therefore, grateful the government has afforded them key worker status. As such, we have drafted a key worker letter they can pass on to relevant parties. For a copy of this letter, email Sam@s4labour.co.uk

S4labour is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

February 2020 Like For Like Sales Figures

February 2020 Like For Like Sales Figures

Like for like sales figures jump 4.4% for hospitality providers in February.


According to analysis of more than 1,500 sites using S4labour software, overall like for like sales were up 4.4% in February 2020, compared with the same month in 2019.


In February 2020, it was the sales of drinks that bolstered the strongest like for like growth, up 6.1% on February 2019, which contrasted with the 1.3% increase in sales of food. This however should be put into context, where 2019 saw reasonably strong growth in sales of food and very modest increase in drinks of sales. 


Like last month, it was sites outside of London that saw the strongest sales growth, with a 4.5% uplift of sales outside the capital and a 3.3% rise in London.


Sam Wignell, S4labour Chief Customer Officer noted that the figures show a continuing trend in 2020 which suggests that there is something of a revival of wet-led pubs outside London and really strong performance from restaurants in the capital. In fact, there was an 8.1% jump in like for like sales for food orientated business inside the capital and an 8.5% boost in like for like sales for drink focused business outside London. Both of which are year on year growth, something that will be highly encouraging to operators. It will be very interesting to see how this trend pans out throughout the rest of 2020.