The Coronavirus crisis has left millions of families facing financial hardship, with unemployment rocketing up.Without the Jobs Retention Scheme, it would have been worse.
That has enabled around 6 million employees to be "furloughed", staying at home, safely, with most of their wages paid by the Government.
But the Government is now talking about ending the scheme. With the scheme due to end on 30th June, many businesses are set to start consulting on mass redundancies next week.
And the Chancellor has yet to say what will happen next.
If this support is stripped away overnight, millions more could become unemployed.
That is why - working with businesses - Liberal Democrats have created a new plan to protect employees, their families and the businesses they work for.
The furlough scheme is protecting millions of people from risk of redundancy - yet the Government is now suggesting it will "wind down" the scheme.- Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) May 6, 2020
We cannot let this happen. We must extend the furlough scheme and protect those workers 👇https://t.co/u8C5iximJ9
Our plan includes keeping some furlough payments as lockdown is eased so businesses can recover. The shadow of the lockdown will be long, and the 'new normal' will be challenging for businesses.
The Liberal Democrat Job Protection Scheme will help businesses to rebuild, stop job losses and stop unnecessary damage to our communities.
The plan includes:
1. A "Safe to Return to Work Scheme" providing new wage subsidy for all employees coming off furlough, with:
●50% of salary paid during the first month in work, after furlough.
●40% of salary paid during the second month in work, after furlough.
●30% of salary paid during the third month in work, after furlough.
The current £2,500 cap under the Job Retention Scheme would be reduced in line with these percentages.
The scheme would begin from 1st July, or if lockdown ends later, as soon as it has been eased.
If a company commits to employing the staff member for at least 6 months, this new 3 month wage subsidy could be paid upfront, to ease cashflow further.
For sectors where lockdown cannot be eased - for example, the hospitality sector - the original Jobs Retention Scheme would continue, with the 80% wage subsidy.
2. New "Prepare to Return to Work" flexibility for part-time work in the Jobs Retention Scheme:
Building new extra flexibility into the existing Jobs Retention Scheme, to help businesses prepare for a return to work.
From 1st June, a furloughed employee would be allowed to work up to 50% of their time, whilst remaining on furlough, with the existing 80% wage subsidy.
This revised Jobs Retention Scheme would continue until the lockdown is eased.
This flexibility would end as soon as lockdown has been eased, and the "Safe to Return to Work Scheme" can be introduced.
The government are now considering "winding down" the furlough scheme. This is far too soon, and puts millions of furloughed workers are risk of redundancy.- Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) May 5, 2020
Back our campaign to extend job protection for furloughed workers ⬇️https://t.co/LxSvX2VhOw pic.twitter.com/vztKG8u1o6
The furlough scheme is protecting 1 in 5 workers from redundancy.
Ending it too early would be a disaster for millions of families and our economy.
Back our campaign to protect furloughed workers.