Easing of restrictions allows most Renfrewshire Leisure staff to return to jobs

Less than one per cent of Renfrewshire Leisure staff are now on full-time furlough from their jobs as bosses insist they are continuing to bring back services gradually.

Back in May last year, 40 per cent of the trust’s employees had been placed on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as centres shut down and classes ground to a halt to help stem the flow of the virus.

But it has now been revealed only a handful of staff – both full-time and casual – remain off work completely as the easing of restrictions has allowed the bulk of services to resume.

However, almost a quarter of workers are still on flexible furlough, where they have returned to work on a part-time basis due to some continuing coronavirus rules.

Those who have been told to stay at home have continued to receive their full wages, as Renfrewshire Leisure has topped up the 80 per cent provided by the government.

The council’s finance director Alan Russell had speculated during the last full council meeting that the end of the scheme – due to finish up at the end of next month – could negatively impact on the organisation.

But the trust’s chiefs say they have carried out “extensive financial modelling” to ensure they are fully prepared.

A Renfrewshire Leisure spokesman said: “Less than one per cent of Renfrewshire Leisure staff are now on full-time furlough – and this is because the full range of services they normally deliver are not possible under the current safety guidelines.

“Our services are gradually restarting as restrictions allow.

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“We are aware of the impact the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will have on the charity’s finances in supporting staff costs while Covid-19 restrictions have affected what services we can operate, but have planned for this in our modelling for the safe and gradual return of our services.

“We have carried out extensive financial modelling which factors in the easing of restrictions, the gradual expansion of services as safety guidelines allow, the end of the furlough scheme and the impact this will have on our finances to ensure we are fully prepared.

“A number of measures remain in place to support our financial position, which include financial support arrangements with the council in line with agreed parameters.”

Daily Record – Paisley