Ikea to repay government furlough payments globally


Ikea has said it is planning to repay salaries paid by governments around the world under furlough schemes.

It is set to repay nine governments, including the US and Ireland.

However, it does not include the UK as although the furniture chain furloughed 10,000 UK workers it did not claim back their salaries from the government.

Other firms are also refunding furlough pay, with Games Workshop and the Spectator magazine both saying they will repay the UK government.

Governments across the globe have set up schemes to pay workers who could not do their jobs because of the lockdowns that were designed to control the spread of coronavirus.

In the UK, furloughed workers are being paid 80% of their pay under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

‘Feeling hopeful’

Ikea said it started the lockdown by paying 90% of wages for workers it furloughed.

In the UK it said: “We furloughed around 10,000 co-workers in the UK. At such an uncertain time, we had initially anticipated putting a number of co-workers on furlough under the job retention scheme. However, we did not claim for or accept any money under the job retention scheme, and we will not be doing so.”

Now that stores are re-opening, it says it does not plan to take any more government money from the countries where it had availed itself of government support: “Although no one knows how things will continue to develop, or what the impact on our business or the economy will be, we are feeling more hopeful and clearer about the decisions we need to take for the future,” Ikea said in a statement.

The countries in which it received support are Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain and the US, the Financial Times reported.

On Friday, Games Workshop – the company that makes Warhammer toy soldiers – said it would aim to repay furlough money after sales recovered by more than it had expected.

Earlier this month, the Spectator magazine said the financial hit it had suffered during the coronavirus outbreak was not as bad as feared, and that it would repay the funds it had received under the furlough scheme.