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Tuesday, Dec 07, 2021

Covid: What will happen when furlough ends?

Covid: What will happen when furlough ends?

The furlough scheme, which protected millions of jobs during the pandemic, is being wound up at the end of September.
How did furlough work?

The government has been paying towards the wages of people who couldn't work, or whose employers could no longer afford to pay them, up to a monthly limit of £2,500.

At first it paid 80% of the wages, but in August and September it paid 60%, with employers paying 20%.

How many people are still on it?

The most recent figures show 1.6 million people were on furlough at the end of July - the lowest level since the start of the pandemic and 340,000 fewer than a month earlier.

The numbers dropped as the economy reopened. In May 2020, nearly nine million people were on furlough.

High numbers of workers in restaurants and hotels were furloughed
Will unemployment rise when it ends?

Some employers with workers on furlough may find they cannot afford to keep them on when furlough ends.

International travel, and other businesses which depend on it, are still seriously disrupted. Some furloughed workers in these areas may lose their jobs.

Many forecasters, including the Bank of England, are expecting a small rise in unemployment.

What if I'm made redundant?

If you were made redundant while on furlough, you have a number of legal rights. The selection process must be fair, you must be given notice, and you are entitled to tax-free redundancy pay.

You may also qualify for other financial help.

The main benefit for anyone losing their job after a period in work is jobseeker's allowance (JSA).

This is worth £59.20 a week, if you are under 25, or £74.70 a week if you are 25 or over.

If you need help with money matters, there is a host of free guidance and advice available, including:

*  The Money Navigator tool from the Money and Pensions Service relates to coronavirus-related money matters

*  The Turn2Us charity has a benefits calculator

*  Guidance is available from Citizens Advice and from the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

In the wider jobs market, the number of vacancies is at a record high - so there are lots of employers looking to hire new workers.

What has furlough cost?

The government says 11.6 million jobs have been supported by the scheme.

From March 2020 to the end of September 2021, the cost of furlough will come to about £66bn, according to estimates from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

That's a huge sum, around one fifth of the money the government has spent on the response to Covid.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, launched the furlough scheme in March 2020

However, the scheme has undoubtedly helped to save millions of jobs.

At the start of the pandemic it was feared that more than one in 10 workers would become unemployed.

Instead the unemployment rate is currently less than one in 20.


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