Employee RelationsNews

CIPD calls for extension to furlough scheme

CIPD has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to call for an extension of the Job Retention Scheme which is due to expire March 31 2021, as well as additional training support to provide “business certainty”.

The scheme has supported millions of UK workers this year, with many still remaining covered by the scheme, with a portion of their wages still provided by the government.

As the economy continues to recover slowly from the pandemic, CIPD has warned that a high level of business uncertainty remains ahead for the new year.

In light of this, Peter Cheese, chief executive for CIPD, has called for the level of wage subsidy to remain at 80% for February and March.

The group said that given that the vaccine roll-out programme will still be in its infancy and the trajectory of the virus will be uncertain over the next few months , it should then reduce to 70% in April and later remain at  60% for May and June 2021.

Additionally, CIPD has asked the government for the next phase of the Furlough Scheme to create support to enable firms to train staff who are fully furloughed or working reduced hours and provide funded outplacement skills development to any worker made redundant.

Cheese wrote to the chancellor: “Ahead of the January review of the CJRS, I am writing to make the case, first for the level of wage subsidy to remain at 80% for February and March given the vaccine roll-out programme will still be in its infancy and the trajectory of the virus uncertain over the next few months.

“This will provide certainty and reassurance for firms, particularly those that are under tier 3 restrictions, or if businesses have to survive another full lockdown, where restrictions are necessarily tighter. ”

He added: “In summary, setting out a clear plan in January to extend the CJRS to the end of June and linking the scheme to support for skills development will boost business confidence and mitigate the numerous uncertainties firms are facing as a result of the pandemic.

“As well as any challenges they may face arising from the end of the Brexit transition and over the timing of economic recovery.”

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