The Furlough scheme is to be extended until the end of October 2020 in an effort to help businesses readjust and ease employees back to work.

Some had speculated that the government would reduce the amount of pay or only apply the extension to certain sectors from 1 July 2020 onwards. That is not the case.

The Government has today indicated that the current arrangements of 80% of monthly pay, subject to a cap of £2500 will continue until the end of July 2020, extending the current arrangements by one month. They have also confirmed that the furlough scheme will continue to apply to all sectors thereafter, not just a select few.

However, between August and October employees will be able to work part time whilst still being covered by the furlough arrangements in an effort to gradually return staff to work and split the cost between the government and the employer. Further details about the scheme are expected to be published by the end of May.

The recent changes will help to retain jobs as employers who were proposing to dismiss as redundant 100 or more employees would have in many cases had to start collectively consulting by 15 May. The extension allows employers more time to consider whether redundancies will in fact be necessary and if they are, hopefully reduce the number involved.  It will help them plan for the return of employees on a gradual basis and in line with client demand. It will give employers more time to implement health and safety measures in their businesses to reduce the concerns of staff and hopefully assist those having to shield, those who are vulnerable and those reliant on children returning to school to be able to return to work.

In the meantime, employers will have plenty to consider and implement, including how to return employees back to work safely, who to return and in what order – avoiding issues of discrimination,  the level of part and full time work required in order to meet gradually returning customer demand and whether restructuring and redundancies are required and when they should be implemented, given the numbers involved.

If you would like any further information, please contact Angela Gorton on 0113 280 2026 or angela.gorton@luptonfawcett.law or another member of the employment law team.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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