Furlough scheme extended to October

Date published: 12 May 2020


The coronavirus job retention scheme for furloughed workers has been extended to the end of October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced today (Tuesday 12 May).

From the start of August, 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.

Chancellor Rishi 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.”

New statistics published today revealed the job retention scheme has protected 7.5 million workers and almost one million 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. More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of this month.

The government 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.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The Job Retention Scheme is a lifeline which has been hugely beneficial in helping small employers keep their staff in work, and it’s extension is welcome.

“Small employers have told us that part-time furloughing will help them recover from this crisis and it is welcome that new flexibility is announced today.”

Acas Chief Exec, Susan Clews, said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement to extend the furlough scheme until the end of October.

“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme helps employers to retain their staff by covering wage costs during an exceptional crisis period where businesses’ incomes have been adversely impacted due to coronavirus. This extension will give a confidence boost to many businesses and staff who were nervous about their future after June.”

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