What is next for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
The Governments' Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has proven a popular option for employers looking for ways to minimise workforce losses and disruption during the pandemic; in a recent survey of 1,000 employers almost half (46%) have already used it to furlough staff, while another 10% plan to do so.
The survey, commissioned by the CIPD (the professional body for HR and people development) also found that more than three quarters of the employers who have already furloughed staff (76%) or plan to (78%) said that making the scheme more flexible to enable a reduced-hours return to work would be useful.
“Letting furloughed staff work some hours, where possible, will enable organisations to bring back workers from furlough gradually while rebuilding their business. This will be vital as lockdown measures are eased over a number of weeks or months and will reduce the risk of large-scale redundancies in this next phase of the crisis”, commented CIPD Chief Executive, Peter Cheese.
In addition to greater flexibility, employers would also like the scheme to be extended to the end of September (at present the scheme is only planned to be available until June).
“The Government must also consider extending the scheme to at least the end of September”, Mr Cheese continued, “this will provide more certainty for employers and ensure that there is no ‘cliff edge’ exit from furlough straight to redundancy for hundreds of thousands of workers at the end of June”.
The CIPD warns that ‘without these changes the current JRS could prove to be a waiting room for unemployment and fail to protect significant numbers of the jobs it set out to save’.