Furlough Scheme Extended

COVID-19; Finance & Strategy; Leadership & Culture

Allan Wilson

13.05.2020

Government Furlough Scheme Extended By Four Months

Rishi Sunak is certainly becoming synonymous for his attention grabbing declarations of financial stimulus and today we saw yet another war cry against the financial impact of COVID-19, seemingly out of nowhere and yet welcomed by the many businesses struggling in the wake of COVID-19. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended by four months until end of October 2020. There is a one month extension of the scheme in it’s current format until end of July and then a further 3 months extension with some adjustments.

The changes to the current scheme will become clearer in the days and weeks ahead, but following a series of tweets on Rishi Sunak’s account this afternoon, what we can tell so far is that the extension to the scheme is designed to offer flexibility in aiding businesses to get their staff back to work. Notably there will be allowance for furloughed staff to be brought back on a part-time basis with employers paying a percentage of their wages whilst other furloughed staff will continue to have a percentage of their wages paid by the government with employers bridging the gap (still subject to the £2,500 pay cap).

Full details of the revision to the scheme will be published by the end of May and in the meantime you can find the official announcement here.

We know many of our clients are already taking advantage of the CJRS and so we’re sure this will be welcome news for many. We will as ever keep you up to date with further information as it comes to us.

You may also find the stats below of interest which show just how much the scheme and business stimulus has been taken up to date with around a £25bn commitment by the government when including their loan backing. To put that in perspective though, that’s just a quarter of the reported cost of HS2…!

Thought:
We think the Chancellor has done two things here.  Firstly he’s reduced fears of any possible cliff edge for the scheme ending but he’s also indicated that he’ll be flexible in terms of how the scheme will operate as we start to come out of this crisis.  It will prepare the ground for firms that are reawakening, while helping those who remain in hibernation.  Flexibility of support will be vitally important – we will need a scheme that encourages firms to accelerate out of the crisis rather than remain hamstrung by all or nothing support in relation to their employees.

ACTION:

In the short-term, employers who have furloughed staff will need to consider if they are going to continue with furlough arrangements under the current arrangements and if so whether employees will need to agree to any extension (which will depend on the agreement that employers have with the employees on furlough).

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