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United Kingdom: localised short-time working scheme created
Planet Labor, 12 October 2020, n°12172 - www.planetlabor.com

With the UK government having opted for local coronavirus restrictions, which could involve the closure of restaurants, pubs and even businesses in the leisure sector, it plans to accompany this policy with an expanded Job Support Scheme. Beginning on 1 November and available for a period of 6 months, the support scheme will be aimed at companies whose premises are legally required to shut for some period due to local or national restrictions. In such instances, the government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 (€2,316) a month. Employers will only have to pay social security contributions. However, this request can only be made after 7 consecutive days of closure. The Confederation of British Industry, the UK business organisation, says this localised furlough scheme “should cushion the blow for the most affected and keep more people in work”. However Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, has been more reserved in her reaction. “Ministers still need to do more to stop the devastation of mass unemployment,” she says, calling for “a more generous short-time working scheme” for companies that are struggling. As a reminder, firms in the latter category will be able to benefit in November from the Job Support Scheme (see article n°12144), under which employers pay 55% of wages and the state covers 22%, but only when the employee works at least 33% of their usual working time.