Latest news from Bira

29 May 2020

Furlough scheme update - phased end to government scheme

Business will be expected to contribute to the Government's furlough scheme from September, it has been announced.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak made the statement as part of the daily Covid-19 briefing tonight (Friday, May 29).

From August, employers will be expected to pay for the National Insurance and pension contributions towards their employees wages.

In September, businesses will be expected to pay 10% towards the furloughed staffs wages, then 20% in October - the final month of the scheme.

The scheme will increase its flexibility from July 1, meaning the old scheme closes to new employees from June 30. Flexibility is earlier than originally expected and means staff can return on a part-time basis with their remaining hours covered by the furlough scheme.

Under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme launched in March, employers can claim 80% of furloughed staff’s wages, up to £2,500 a month. It was extended until October on May 12.

Bira's CEO Andrew Goodacre said retailers understood they would have to contribute to the scheme.

"We campaigned for an extended and more flexible furlough scheme – even if that resulted in a cost to the retailer. This is because everyone in non-food retail recognises that trade will not return to normal when shops re-open, and an extended furlough scheme is crucial when operating businesses that will not at full capacity for several weeks," he said.

Meanwhile, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will be extended to cover a further three months of earnings - but at a rate to match the furlough scheme.

Read the full government statement here

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