“All-or-nothing” approach of the Job Retention Scheme needs to change

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The CIPD is calling for the Government to make the Job Retention Scheme more flexible, if it is extended beyond the end of May, to allow furloughed staff to carry out work on reduced hours for their existing employer where possible.

The CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, believes the benefits of doing so include:

  • Helping organisations to bring back workers from furlough gradually, which is likely to be necessary if lockdown measures are phased out over time – and because demand in the economy is likely to recover slowly
  • Enabling organisations to flex their workforce more efficiently, taking pressure off non-furloughed staff and enabling furloughed staff to keep engaged and contributing on reduced hours where possible
  • Potentially reducing the cost of the scheme to the taxpayer

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:  “The Government should be commended for its swift action in bringing in the Job Retention Scheme, which has helped protect jobs.

“However, with the lockdown now being extended it’s clear that the scheme needs to have greater flexibility built into it if it is extended. As it stands, furloughed staff are not able to do any work for their existing employer, meaning organisations which could provide some work for staff on reduced hours are not able to.

“This change would enable employers to bring back workers gradually, which is likely to be necessary if lockdown measures are phased out over time. It could also help bring down the bill for taxpayers, who will ultimately have to fund the cost of the scheme.

“The Government has shown its prepared to adapt and improve its rescue packages for businesses and workers, and needs to do so again here.”