12 May 2020

Furloughed workers can 'return part-time' from August

Furloughed workers can 'return part-time' from August

Businesses will soon have the flexibility to take furloughed staff back to work part-time and pay a percentage of their salary.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension of the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, which as of this morning is paying the wages of 7.5million UK employees.

In a boost to millions of jobs and businesses, Mr Sunak said the furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months, until October, with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary.

And he has added new flexibility for businesses from the start of August, when furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

Further details will be announced before the end of May.

'Measured' return

Mr Sunak said: "Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected millions of jobs and businesses across the UK during the outbreak – and I’ve been clear that I want to avoid a cliff edge and get people back to work in a measured way.

"This extension and the changes we are making to the scheme will give flexibility to businesses while protecting the livelihoods of the British people and our future economic prospects."

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, welcomed the changes, saying small employers have told him that part-time furloughing will help them recover from this crisis.

Furloughed workers 'could learn new skills'

New statistics published today revealed the job retention scheme has protected 7.5million workers and almost 1million businesses.

The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July and the changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August

The government has said it will explore ways through which furloughed workers who wish to do additional training or learn new skills are supported during this period. It will also continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure the scheme supports people across the Union.

The Chancellor’s decision to extend the scheme, which will continue to apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy, comes after the government outlined its plan for the next phase of its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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