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The pandemic has produced challenges in all aspects of our lives, not least the job market. As the economy grinded to a halt, so too did people’s income.

As a result, the government put in place the job retention scheme. This was how employers could continue paying its employees the majority of their wage, by way of a grant, through the various lockdowns.

However, now the pandemic is retreating somewhat, the job retention scheme is ending. So, what support is in place, if any, to help us come out the other end?


The Job Retention Scheme Update

The current version of the job retention scheme is in its third iteration, having initially commenced in March 2020. The extended version of the scheme was then due to run until December 31st, 2020.

Since then, however, that end date has been pushed back a number of times due to the unpredictability of the virus. On the 17th of December, the Chancellor announced the job retention scheme end date would be the 30th of April 2021.

Now, we find ourselves at what seems to be the very final extension, with the scheme ending on the 30th of September. This latest version of the scheme will have run for a total of eleven months.


What Can We Expect Next?

The Governments own data has shown that approximately three million people have been taken off the job retention scheme since March 2021.

Though this is no doubt heading in the right direction, at the end of July there were still an estimated two million people on furlough or flexible furlough.

Naturally, by the time the end date comes around, there will no longer be anyone on the furlough scheme, or at least that is the plan.

Once this is enacted, it will be the employer’s decision what happens to their employees next. Their options are likely to be:

  • Bring their employees fully back to work on their agreed contractual terms and conditions.
  • Terminate their employment with normal redundancy rules applying to furloughed staff.
  • Agree with their employees any specific changes to terms and conditions of employment with rules for contractual changes also applying to furloughed staff.


How Can Howells Help?

Trying to navigate and understand your employee rights can be difficult at the best of times, not least after an extended period of furlough.

At the same time, if you are an employer and aren’t sure what your options are, it’s important to get clued up for when the furlough scheme comes to an end.

For more information on employment law, or any of our other areas of expertise, contact us today.

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