Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Furlough extended until October
15th May 2020
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I feel like I say this every week but ohhh boy, what a week it’s been! We’ve gone from “stay at home” to “stay alert, go to work but don’t go to work, use public transport but don’t use public transport, do not pass go, do not collect £200, go straight to jail”. The new regulations have left the nation scratching their heads in unison wondering what the hell is going on; not least, those who are on furlough or have employees on furlough.
Well, luckily at least one person at number 10 Downing Street seems to have their affairs in order - the Chancellor Rishi Sunak who yesterday announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended for four months, until the end of October. Furthermore, there will be no changes to the scheme whatsoever, until the end of July.
Ok, so at least that much is clear, but maybe not so straightforward. What does it all mean? Well Rishi was so kind (unlike other MPs *cough cough*) as to clarify further:
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 employees back part-time.
Workers will, through the combined efforts of government and employees, continue to receive the same level of support as they do now, at 80% of their salary, up to £2,500.
The most welcome part of this news is that it addresses the concerns many had regarding flexibility for staff to work part-time. It seems from this announcement that staff will be able to make a gradual return to work part-time and that salaries will be shared between the government and employers.
However, while welcome news to the 935,000 employers and 7.5 million employees who are currently using the furlough scheme, there is still no mention of new starters who do not fit within the parameters of the scheme’s eligibility, the self-employed who do not qualify for the scheme, limited companies and those paid through dividends. October seems a very very long way away for all of us, but especially those who have no income coming in.
In any case, it is a step in the right direction on an otherwise unbeaten path. I’m sure this time next week there will be another existential crisis to deal with or some new development that will outrage and frighten us in equal measures, but for now, we must keep calm and carry on doing nothing - at least until October. *sigh*
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