As Chancellor Sunak confirms the extension of the furlough scheme, now planned to run until October 2020, easing-in measures to help businesses reopen should also be in place by the end of the month, with measures such as allowing employers to bring employees on furlough back on a part-time basis over the summer months. To date, over 6 million persons have been furloughed across the UK. More detail should follow on other measures still under scrutiny, including having employers cover part of the 80% furlough cost together with the government, and support schemes to employees who wish to re-train or develop skills over the furlough period.

Despite the government’s efforts, a significant 22% of businesses are nonetheless planning significant redundancies throughout the coming weeks and months, covering an average of 60% of employees across such organisations, according to the CIPD and Adecco Group’s latest Labour Market Outlook study. Alex Fleming, head of Adecco Group (UK & Ireland), notes that “it’s positive to see that redundancy intentions have increased only modestly compared with the previous quarter”, despite the significant economic slowdown. The UK is also facing a significant reduction in hiring activity, down by 26% since the last records taken during the 2019/2020 winter period.

Various organisations have taken to measures such as wage freezing, non-payment of bonuses and increased flexi-work agreements in an attempt to minimize the effects the current economic slow-dun will have on their business and their workers. The UK has also seen a healthy 44% increase in teleworking arrangements over the pandemic crisis period, transforming their regular working systems to adapt as best they can in the current circumstances. Work Wise UK has injected efforts into promoting healthy homeworking practices, aiming to promote the homeworking culture. Work Wise notes that a significant portion of businesses have reacted fairly well to homeworking arrangements, without the need for much preparation or labour overhaul in the transfer thereto.

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