Today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak took us a little by surprise in extending the Job Retention Scheme (aka furlough scheme) to the end of October.
Where there was an announcement due this week as to the future of the scheme, we didn’t envisage such a long extension to the provisions, especially with the Prime Minister’s message this week of trying to get people back to work in some shape or form. We were expecting concessions for certain areas, such as tourism, hospitality or retail, but there appears to be no differentiation on business type.
Whilst details are relatively scarce, it was announced the scheme will continue in its current form until at least the end of July. The scheme will then change from the beginning of August. Employers will be asked to contribute towards the measure (what that means exactly, we don’t know) and also people will be able to work part-time and claim furlough for the non-working time, rather than the all or nothing model we have now.
The Chancellor’s twitter update said that there will be full details coming towards the end of May. This announcement does at least offer the chance to plan further for what your business will look like in the coming months.
As of 12 May there are 935,000 employers using the scheme, with 7.5 million employees affected, so reversing any form of measure for that number of people is going to be a mammoth task. However, that does emphasise the number of people who have been taken out of the UK workforce at the present time and should that continue for much longer, will result in some tough consequences.
We will of course continue to monitor announcements and keep you up to date accordingly.