The British Heart Foundation has furloughed around 80% of its staff

21 Apr 2020 News

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has furloughed around 80 per cent of its staff, the “vast majority” of whom work in the charity's shops.

BHF expects the pandemic will have a “seismic impact” on its income, estimating a shortfall of at least £10m per month while it continues.

Data for the financial year ending 31 March 2019 put the charity's income at £338m and spending at £366.9m. BHF has over 4,000 employees. 

In a statement issued yesterday, Gill Staunton, head of human resources, said: “Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, our top priority has been protecting the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and supporters as well as the 7.4 million people across the UK living with heart disease.

“Like many charities, the crisis is going to have a seismic impact on our income, and we estimate it will cost us at least £10m a month while it continues. In order to protect the BHF’s financial sustainability and the future of our life saving work, we have utilised the Government’s Job Retention scheme.

“Currently, around 80 per cent of our colleagues - the vast majority of whom are based in our shops - are on furlough.”

'We are not reinstating the very small number of people who have left the BHF'

The furlough scheme can be used by for employees who were on the payroll up to 19 March 2020, with the government financing 80% of their salary up to £2,500 a month. Employers can top this up to 100% if they choose to.

For people who have recently moved jobs, the government suggested that their former employer should reinstate them in order to furlough them. However, BHF said it ws not able to do this for people who had left its employment due to the complexities involved. 

When the scheme was first announced, individuals had to be employed by the firm furloughing them on 28 February 2020. Last week this deadline was extended to 19 March.

Staunton said: “Due to the significant financial strain on the BHF, we are not reinstating the very small number of people who have left the BHF since 28 February. This is because we have already recruited replacements for some of these roles, and reinstating employees is a complex process that could incur long-term costs for the charity - something that we are doing everything in our power to minimise.

“We are reviewing the situation daily and doing all we can to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on our people, our research programme, and the vital support we give those with heart and circulatory disease.”

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.

More on