Response to furlough and self-employed scheme extensions

Today the Chancellor has announced details of changes to both the Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Responding to the Chancellor’s update, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:

“There are some welcome changes to the furlough scheme, particularly in terms of introducing the kind of flexibility we have been calling for. Different sectors should now be able to respond to the effects on their businesses as lockdown unwinds. It’s right that employer contributions will be phased in and the risks of a cliff edge are reduced. However, the government must think about the long-term and ensure that the UK has a lasting jobs and skills retention programme that can ensure our business and industry can survive a bumpy recovery and then thrive in the future.

“As regards the Self Employed Income Support Scheme, the Chancellor has made the right decision to extend the scheme. It will ease the worries of many self-employed workers. However, the scheme still needs significant amendment to help those who fell through the gaps in the first phase. The newly self-employed, people with limited companies, those who had taken maternity or parental leave and many thousands more who have received no help at all so far. It’s welcome the scheme has been extended in time but it must be extended in scope, so there’s help for everyone who needs it.”

The Chancellor announced the changes to the furlough and self-employed schemes at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing.

Furloughed workers will continue to receive 80% of their pay, but from August it will include a growing employer contribution. It will start with employers paying NI and pensions in August, plus 10% of pay in September, rising to 20% in October

Employers will be able to bring people back ‘part-time’ and determine shift patterns using the scheme from July.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme is being extended. People will be able to make a claim for a second and final grant in August 2020.

Those eligible for the second (and the government says final) grant will be a taxable grant worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

Community’s campaign to extend the self-employed income support scheme for everyone who needs it will continue. Sign our petition here.

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