LONDON — U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Thursday unveiled a support scheme to top up the wages of workers in “viable jobs” who are unable to work full-time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new program will replace the existing furlough scheme, which is set to expire next month and has paid the wages of millions of employees during coronavirus lockdowns. However, the new Job Support Scheme, which will last six months from November, will require supported jobs to be “viable” because workers will need to work at least a third of their normal hours.
For the remaining hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay a third, with the employee losing the final third of that proportion of their salary. This means employees working a third of their normal hours will receive at least 77 percent of their normal pay.
The scheme will apply mainly to small and medium-sized enterprises, plus any larger employers with dropping turnover.
Unveiling his new plan in the House of Commons, Sunak said it “is fundamentally wrong to keep people in jobs that only exist inside the furlough.”
“I cannot save every business, I cannot save every job … but what we can and must do is deal with the problems that businesses are facing now,” he said.
Sunak had been under pressure to extend the furlough, or Job Retention Scheme, which was due to expire in October. The scheme had been designed to prevent mass redundancies by providing 80 percent of pay to workers placed on leave by their firm during lockdown.
He told MPs there had been “no harder choice than the decision to end the furlough.”
Labours Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the measures came too late to save many jobs. Labour had previously called on the government to avoid abandoning furlough without a replacement.
“I have called for the introduction of a system of targeted wage support 40 times — that call has been rebuffed by his government 20 times. ItRead More – Source