The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until the end of October, the Chancellor has announced.
The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July, but new flexibility will be introduced from August to “get employees back to work and boost the economy”.
From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time and will continue to receive 80 percent of their salary, up to £2,500 a month. However, employers will be asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
The government said more specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of this month.
New statistics published today revealed the job retention scheme has protected 7.5 million workers and almost one million businesses - with a total of £10.1bn claimed through the scheme.
The decision to extend the scheme, which will continue to apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy, comes after the government outlined its plan for the next phase of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected millions of jobs and businesses across the UK during the outbreak – and I’ve been clear that I want to avoid a cliff edge and get people back to work in a measured way.
“This extension and the changes we are making to the scheme will give flexibility to businesses while protecting the livelihoods of the British people and our future economic prospects.”
Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, added: “We will engage with the treasury and HMRC on the detail to ensure that this gives companies the flexibility they need to reopen safely.”
The government has also published new statistics today, finding businesses have benefitted from more than £14bn in loans and guarantees to support their cashflow during the crisis.