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UK furlough scheme extended until October

The UK government's job retention scheme to pay workers on furlough because of Coronavirus has been extended by four months to October.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said;

"I can announce today that the job retention scheme will be extended for 4 months until the end of October. By that point, we will have provided 8 months of support to British people and businesses. Until the end of July, there will be no changes whatsoever, then from August to October, the scheme will continue for all sectors and regions of the UK, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work

"Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employers back part-time and we will ask employers to start sharing with the government the cost of paying people's salaries."

The Chancellor added that more details would follow by the end of the month, but that employees would continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages from the government up to £2,500.

 

 

The TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady has praised the announcement, saying;

 "We are pleased ministers have listened to unions and extended the job retention scheme to the autumn. This will be a big relief for millions.

"Changing the rules to allow part-time working is key to enabling a gradual and safe return to work. And maintaining the rate at 80% is a win for the pay packets of working families.

"As the economic consequences of COVID-19 become clear, unions will keep pushing for a job guarantee scheme to make sure everyone has a decent job."

James Simpson, head of employment at Blaser Mills Law told us that the extension of the job retention scheme would be 'welcome news to businesses and employees across the country.' He added that while the rules would allow furloughed employees to be brought back part-time, “employers will still need to ensure the working environment is safe and measures are in place to limit the risk of infection". He also said that "employers should take a flexible approach to working patterns, staggering shifts as necessary and adjusting start and finish times to help staff avoid rush hours and the number of people they come into contact with.”

According to the Chancellor, 7.5 million jobs have been furloughed in the UK as part of the job retention scheme so far. 

Under the Job Retention Scheme, employers can claim for 80% of their employee's wages, plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions if they furlough staff due to the Coronavirus. The scheme is one of the measures put in place by the UK government to help employers and employees during the difficult times of the pandemic. The pandemic has been causing significant financial woes for many businesses and has already played a role in sending some businesses into administration, including Bright House and Flybe.

 

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