Furlough rules in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme currently allow employers to receive help from the state to cover their workers’ wages. The scheme has been crucial for struggling workers across the UK and last week, Rishi Sunak announced that changes are on the horizon for the scheme.
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However, Rishi confirmed on May 29 that the “furlough scheme cannot continue indefinitely” and details of coming changes were laid out.
In the daily briefing, the Chancellor of the Exchequer revealed that:
- Employers will soon be asked to contribute to the cost
- Furloughed workers will be able to be able to work flexibly from July
- Workers will see no change in support
- The scheme will end around October
Along with these details, Rishi confirmed that applications for the scheme will soon go through an overhaul.
“Employers wanting to place new employees on the scheme will need to do so by June 10th.”
While many are likely to understand the need for certain changes, this deadline which occurs next week could be problematic for certain workers.
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Workers already furloughed will likely be ok for the foreseeable future but staff still working now have limited time to take action.
There is now only a week available for workers to discuss potential furlough agreements with their employer’s, who ultimately make the decision on who will benefit from the scheme.
Citizens Advice have warned that this will be especially problematic for people in the shielded group, they are calling on the government to waive the deadline for those affected.
Dame Gillian Guy, the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, commented on the announcements: “While the government’s gradual approach to winding down the Job Retention Scheme is welcome, there are now just days left for employers to protect their workers who need to shield.
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“We are already seeing too many heartbreaking cases where, having been denied furlough, shielded workers face the impossible choice of safeguarding their health or ensuring they have enough to live on.
“The government should waive the 10 June deadline for the shielded group, and those they live with.
“Employers should also be exempt from contributing to the cost of the scheme for the shielded group.”
The shielded workers issue can be highlighted by examining recent research from Citizens Advice.
Analysis from the charity found that:
- Four in ten (41 percent) of those in the shielded group have lost at least 20 percent of their income since the coronavirus outbreak began
- More than a quarter (27 percent) of those in the shielded group have lost 60 percent of their income or more
- As many as 1 in 10 (12 percent) in the shielded group are working outside of the home despite this potentially putting their health at risk
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