Furlough extension ‘vital lifeline’ for struggling firms, but true troubles are far from over

Rob Marshall, managing director of WorkLife, said: “The Chancellor’s announcement will be hugely welcome for smaller firms who’ve been fearing they might not survive this second lockdown. Extending the furlough scheme offers them a vital lifeline, but we cannot ignore the fact that their troubles won’t be anywhere near over come March, at which point they will have been facing a year’s worth of business disruption.

“Moreover 38% of firms surveyed as part of our Small Business Monitor said that employees were worried about the impact of the first lockdown on their finances, and we’re only likely to see this figure increasing with furloughed workers facing continued salary cuts. For those firms who can’t afford to provide full pay, it is vital they are being smart in the use of their employee benefits provision and looking at any changes that could make a difference to their employees right now – be it through swapping in free financial advice or features like mental wellbeing support.”