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Furloughing - should it include agents’ commission as well?

One of the biggest issues for agencies at the moment is furloughing - a safety net being offered by the government to avoid job losses during what is seen as the temporary Coronavirus crisis.

Under the rules outlined by the Treasury, this suggests that furloughed staff - effectively laid off in terms of work but still on an employer’s books - will receive 80 per cent of their basic salary up to £2,500 a month.

This is for full-time and part-time employees, based on their salary before tax as of February 28 this year: employer National Insurance Contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions are included but discretionary fees, bonuses and commissions are not included.

The problem for many agency staff involved in sales in particular is clear - they may be on a low basic which in normal times can be topped up substantially by commission.

Now there is a petition being circulated - started by the Independent Motor Dealers Association but applying to many agents and others in sales-driven employment - which wants sales commission from fees included in furlough arrangements.

So far over 17,000 signatories have backed the petition which says it aims to “help ALL salespeople across ALL industries who rely on their sales Commission and their families many of which are young families just starting out.”

It continues: “We feel that a fair calculation could be based on the last three months wages slips to gain an average and base the 80 per cent Furlough Leave payment on that.”

You can see the petition here.

* The ValPal Network has started daily tips on what furloughing is, how firms are doing it, and what it means when the virus crisis finally ends. You can check it out by subscribing here. The ValPal Network is a product of Angels Media, publisher of Estate Agent Today and other Today industry titles.

  • Simon Shinerock

    What is still unclear to me at present is the distinction between commission and variable pay. As the guidance is set out it doesn’t make it clear whether employers can look at average pay over the past year or whether this has to exclude commissions, in which case what is variable pay. It may be that the support simply excludes commissions not yet paid.

  • icon

    Agreed with the above from Simon. A lot of this is down to interpretation and what you can claim. Look at what football clubs are doing with the Furlough - I think we have to be strong as an industry and go for variable option. Petitions like this are misguided.


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