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United Kingdom: government extends Job Retention Scheme until end of April
Planet Labor, 18 December 2020, n°12282 -

Having extended its furlough scheme until 31 March, the UK government decided on 17 December to push its end date further back, this time to 30 April 2021. Dubbed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the short-time working measure sees the government contribute 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked. Having previously been exempted from all payments when the Job Retention Scheme was launched in March (see article n°11771), companies must now cover pay for hours worked as well as national insurance and pension contributions for hours worked and not worked (see article n°12005). Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry, says: “In the middle of a tough winter, this will bring some much-needed certainty and respite for businesses.” The Trades Union Congress meanwhile says the news will be a relief for concerned employees. However Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the trade union centre, warns that the “threat of mass unemployment has not gone away”, and calls on the government to invest “now in jobs in green infrastructure, transport and our public services”. It should be noted that this week the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the professional association for HR professionals, called for an extension of the furlough scheme until the end of June. According to the CIPD, this measure is necessary to allow businesses to gain confidence and create jobs next summer.