Super League clubs looking “very closely” at furloughing staff, Robert Elstone admits

Robert Elstone has admitted clubs have discussed furloughing their employees to protect their financial positions during the Super League lockdown.

With clubs facing severe financial challenges during the coronavirus crisis, Elstone admitted talks and best practice have been shared to aid clubs during this time.

That could see clubs take up the option of furloughing, the action of temporarily laying off an employee without making them redundant, while also not paying them.

However, a new government scheme means workers can receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month, as a result of the action.

As a result, clubs are now considering that possibility, which could save them much-needed money, while also helping protect employees during their furloughing period.

“I think every club is looking very closely at that and what that allows clubs to do to get through this situation,” Super League’s chief executive said.

“We’ve spent time looking at our staff base and furloughing is an option for a large number of our employees. We’ve got to respect the fact we have to work that through, communicate with our staff and do it professionally and sympathetically. I think that principle works across all clubs. It’s an opportunity for clubs in Super League to protect themselves.

“I still think the rule around furloughing is sketchy. It’s a very welcome initiative, we had a call on best practice on what furloughing may look like, We spoke to professional advisors to find out what it means, the rules, how it is supplied. Clubs are just working through the machination of it.”

Meanwhile, the game waits in anticipation for the outcome of a request from the RFL for government funding, to help support the game during this time of uncertainty.

“The current situation is that a solid request for funding has been submitted,” Elstone said.

“In the intervening period there have been things like furloughing and additional benefits put on the table by Government and we need to reflect that in a revised submission. Super League are actively involved in what that number was, but I spoke to Ralph late last night in terms of revising and updating that. We’re very keen to be involved to ensure what we put in front of Government is as good as it can be.”