CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak's announcement that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until October and workers on furloughed leave will continue to receive 80 per cent of their wages is critical.

Fifty per cent of businesses within Herefordshire and Worcestershire are relying on the scheme to protect their workforce and the future of their business. This announcement is of great importance to these businesses who will be able to secure their workforce for a further four months at least.

This news will be of huge relief for businesses who were worrying about how they would continue beyond the end of June if the scheme was brought to an end. This news also gives employees currently furloughed confidence that they may be able to return to work within the coming months.

As part of the announcement, the Chancellor also detailed that new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and provide a boost to the economy. The government will start asking companies to ‘start sharing’ the cost of the scheme from August.

From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80 per cent of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

It will be vitally important for the government to continually monitor the situation and allow for flexibility within the scheme and react when needed, as businesses slowly but surely open, in order to protect millions of jobs and give businesses the platform they need in order to slowly return to work.

For further information on the guidance and support available to your business, please visit our Coronavirus Business Support Hub.