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To retire

(52 Posts)
Esspee Tue 04-Aug-20 12:56:57

I have been on furlough, though I never applied as I thought I didn't qualify. My work is sort of part time freelance in that I get offered short contracts and can accept them or not.

A couple of companies I usually do work for simply started paying furlough money into my account. Ironically the company I do the most work for wrote saying I didn't qualify, possibly because I was out of the country in January and February but that is irrelevant to my question.

I am no longer in receipt of furlough pay and a very limited number of jobs are currently on offer but I am loathe to apply. It is customer facing work and I have been told I have to wear a mask for 8 hours a day which I will find exceedingly stressful. If I don't apply for these jobs someone else will do, so the companies won't be left in the lurch.

Am I being unreasonable to now retire? Is it unethical to have accepted the government money then decide not to return to work?

Lucca Tue 04-Aug-20 13:13:41

Not in my opinion

Sar53 Tue 04-Aug-20 13:21:05

Esspee my DH was in a similar position but not exactly the same. He had worked for the same company for the last 15 years, he was furloughed for some weeks then returned but working from home. Not a lot going on and his company decided to make many staff redundant. He is nearly 65 and offered to take early retirement which he did at the end of June. He was hoping to work til 66 but doesn't regret his decision. I think one of his reasons for retiring was so that someone younger than him didn't lose their job through redundancy .
I don't think you are being unreasonable in retiring at all. The best of luck.

geekesse Tue 04-Aug-20 13:23:04

It depends a bit on your age and circumstances. Do you have a decent pension or enough income to live comfortably and do the things you want to do? If so, you certainly are not being unreasonable. Just remember that retirement isn’t the only solution to employment woes, even if it looks the most attractive one right now.

humptydumpty Tue 04-Aug-20 13:24:05

There are so many people who aren't going to have a job when their furlough ends, you'll be opening up a job for someone else, so go for it and enjoy!

Esspee Tue 04-Aug-20 15:16:14

geekesse I am a young 71 and thankfully only work for "pin money". I will miss the intellectual stimulation and social interaction but my main concern at the moment is whether ethically I should return the money.

Spangler Tue 04-Aug-20 16:01:33


geekesse I am a young 71 and thankfully only work for "pin money". I will miss the intellectual stimulation and social interaction but my main concern at the moment is whether ethically I should return the money.

That's exactly the same reason why I work. You are wrestling with your moral conscience over money paid to you through the furlough system. When so many couldn't give a cuss, when corporate giants take the money and still lay staff off, you feel a sense of duty to do the right thing. Compliments to you.

I would say that if you are ready to retire, and wish to do so, then do it. But to put your conscience at ease, check to see how much you were paid through furlough and then pay that amount, in piecemeal, to a charity of your choice.
If that were to cause you some financial pain, then when you are retired, and when it's safe to do so, offer your skills to a charity for a few hours each week.

We had a retiree at my place of work last Friday. Everyone had signed his retirement card, adding some sort of cheesy message. I put: Retiring? At 75? What will you do? Wuss! I didn't sign it, but as soon as the retiree opened the card and read it, a text message came through. He had laughed and told me that it was 'noted' for when I throw the towel in.

nanaK54 Tue 04-Aug-20 16:10:24


geekesse I am a young 71 and thankfully only work for "pin money". I will miss the intellectual stimulation and social interaction but my main concern at the moment is whether ethically I should return the money.

I honestly don't think that you need to 'return the money', you didn't choose this situation.
Here's to a long and happy retirement wine

Glorybee Tue 04-Aug-20 16:17:56

I would return the money and retire with a clear conscience. There may possibility be a time when somehow it is followed up and that won’t matter for you as you didn’t keep it. For peace of mind, irrespective of what any other company or person does, I would return it.

Esspee Tue 04-Aug-20 17:38:45

My OH has made the point that I have been paying tax so he feels that the furlough money is deserved. TBH it is not a huge sum but I am beginning to feel I would rather give it to the hospice than return it.
Your comments have been a great help. Thank you all.

SueDonim Tue 04-Aug-20 17:53:03

I don’t think it’s unethical to accept the money. You couldn’t possibly have known at the start of this how things would pan out, so don’t feel guilty.

If you need the money, keep it. If you don’t, then as suggested, donate to a charity or if you have grandchildren, why not pass it on to them? Our GC are going to be the ones who end up paying for the pandemic through their taxes so this would square the circle a bit.

Humbertbear Tue 04-Aug-20 18:43:30

Many people on furlough are going to be told that they are redundant. If you are ready to retire then go for it. You don’t owe the companies anything. Enjoy your retirement.

Daisymae Tue 04-Aug-20 19:12:53

Hardly unethical. In fact you would be doing the workforce and the government a favour now by retiring and freeing up work for someone who needs the money to live on, if that is what you would like to do. The furlough scheme was designed in unique circumstances to get people through tough times. You were entitled so I would retire with good grace and a clear conscience.

maddyone Tue 04-Aug-20 19:30:14

Answer to OP is no, retire.

V3ra Tue 04-Aug-20 19:40:56

Who would you return the money to though? The company didn't pay you themselves, the government paid it to them and they just passed it on.
If you're a tax payer then rest assured we'll all be repaying the furlough money one way or another over the next few years!
Why not use the money to support some local shops or restaurants to help kickstart the economy?
Or donate to a local charity: lots of them are struggling as their normal fundraising activities have had to be cancelled.
Either way don't feel guilty about it!

MissAdventure Tue 04-Aug-20 20:48:26

Will you need to work out any notice?
I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, I think I'm just nosy. (Or nosey)

Esspee Tue 04-Aug-20 23:00:28

No MissAdventure I’m sort of freelance.
I prefer inquisitive to nosey/nosy. Positive attribute.?

MissAdventure Tue 04-Aug-20 23:09:36

Ah, thank you.
I suppose I had thought that working notice would kind of cancel out accepting the furlough money.

Then again, is it even worth a second though?

Logic tells me that a company only want you because you benefit them in some way, so you shouldn't worry.
(I would, though; I'm a terrible coward in work situations)

Callistemon Tue 04-Aug-20 23:22:48

MissAdventure I'm glad to see you post, I wondered where you were.

I don't think you need to repay the furlough money; it was not your fault you were unable to work and you might have been desperate for it.
You might have been made redundant afterwards anyway.

You're releasing the job for someone who may need it more than you.

You could donate it to charity if it would make you feel better. Or put it aside for a rainy day.

Callistemon Tue 04-Aug-20 23:24:38

You may not be able to return the money anyway.

Esspee Tue 04-Aug-20 23:28:46

I have decided what to do. The hospice will gladly accept it and I’ll feel better. It’s a win - win situation.

Babs758 Wed 05-Aug-20 10:02:55

Good for you Esspee!
I wish there were more people like you around!

Callistemon Wed 05-Aug-20 10:04:20

Well done Esspee

Happy retirement.

Gwenisgreat1 Wed 05-Aug-20 10:44:43

You retire when you are ready to, it's not up to anybody else!

harrysgran Wed 05-Aug-20 10:50:51

If you are in a position financially that you can retire then go ahead I'm sure someone will be happy to fill the position