The Chancellor Rishi Sunak this afternoon announced that the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended for another four months.
In addition – following FSB representations – from August the UK Government will allow employers to partially release their staff from furlough. This could allow, for example, a full-time staff member to work a few days of the week and still have their remaining hours covered by furlough payments.
This, says the business group, is a move that should make it easier to make for smaller firms to reopen smoothly when circumstances allow. However employers may be required to share costs associated with the scheme, a change that is also set to come in after July.
Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Today’s shrewd decisions from the Chancellor will give thousands of large and small Scottish employers the right sort of flexibility. The move to allow operators to partially furlough their staff while they consider how to get back up to speed should mean more businesses have the right tools at their disposal.
“In the coming weeks, smaller firms will want to understand the next steps for the scheme. Policymakers will need to carefully consider how to co-ordinate financial support for businesses with advice to firms about how and when to reopen safely.”