Concern of delayed redundancies as furlough ends
A report on the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme by University of Leeds researchers is the subject of media attention on the concern of redundancies as furlough comes to an end in the UK.
The report, titled ‘Furloughing and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: managers' experiences and perspectives’ was published by Professors Chris Forde and Mark Stuart in the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change in May 2021, finding strong support for managers for a long-term UK furlough scheme as an alternative to staff redundancies.
With the UK furlough scheme drawing to a close on 30 September 2021, the report’s findings have again come into focus, with the researchers reporting that half of managers reporting Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS) had delayed inevitable redundancies, and workers returning from furlough either likely to lose their jobs or to experience cuts in pay or hours. Just under half of surveyed managers said that the government should provide ongoing support for staff retention or focused support for those workers made redundant.
The report recommends:
- A long-term furlough scheme to be established, supported through appropriate employment legislation and high level dialogue between key labour market actors, modelled on international examples of best practice, notably long-standing short-time working schemes.
- Businesses should be encouraged to use furloughing as an alternative to redundancy and to adopt job retention as a long-term human resource management (HRM) practice. This should be supported by bodies such as ACAS and the CIPD, through good practice codes and guidance for employers.
- The government should introduce a post-Covid-19 employment recovery plan that not only includes support for education and training, but a comprehensive programme of support for workers made redundant as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis. A recovery plan should be built on new social partnerships and should allow for a levelling up in labour standards.