Monday 11 May 2020 7:33 am

Coronavirus: Job retention scheme to be extended to September

The government’s coronavirus job retention scheme will reportedly be extended until September at a reduced rate of 60 per cent.

The furlough scheme, which currently covers 80 per cent of the wages of laid off employees up to £2,500 a month, will be reduced to 60 per cent, and will also be available to top up the salary of staff brought back to work on a part-time basis. 

Read more: Small businesses call for furloughed workers to return to work

Changes to the job retention scheme, which were reported by The Telegraph, could be announced by Sunak as early as today.

Some company bosses have already been told that furlough will be available throughout the summer, as the government slowly reopens the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The move would allow businesses to gradually bring staff back to work while observing social distancing rules.

The Treasury reportedly said that talks were ongoing and a decision on the extension was yet to be finalised.

“Future decisions around the scheme will take into account the wider context of any lockdown extension, as well as the public health response, so that people and businesses can get back to work when it is safe to do so,” a Treasury spokesperson told Reuters.

The chancellor is also expected to announce that furloughed staff returning to work part time will have their wages “topped up” by the government, according to the report. 

Read more: Rishi Sunak: No ‘cliff edge’ to job retention scheme

The furlough scheme was first announced in March as part of a government package in response to the coronavirus crisis. 

The scheme was originally open until the end of May, with pay backdated from 1 March, and was later extended until the end of June.