As part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, better known as the ‘furlough’ scheme, employers have been required to contribute 20% of their furloughed employees’ salaries since 1 August 2021; a move that has understandably caused concern among some organisations that are still reeling from the ongoing impact of the pandemic. A recent survey from the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) found that as a result of this change, one in five businesses intend to make staff redundant, with one in four planning on reducing employees’ hours.
Unemployment will rise
Unemployment is certain to rise further when the furlough scheme comes to a complete stop at the end of September, with an estimated 1.3 – 1.9 million furloughed employees facing an uncertain future. Also uncertain is the impact this will have on the recruitment industry, with an abundance of workers seeking employment but limited roles in many sectors to be filled.
Re-skill those left unemployed
Jane Gratton, Head of People Policy at the BCC, has urged the Government to invest in ‘rapid retraining opportunities’ to re-skill those left unemployed at the end of the furlough scheme, with skill shortages leaving hard-to-fill vacancies in nursing, welfare and housing, and software development. Seemingly resolute in its decision to not extend furlough beyond September, the Government must now act to mitigate the impending mass job losses facing the UK labour market.
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