What happens after furlough ends?


The furlough scheme played an important role in saving jobs during the pandemic, but it’s shortly due to come to an end.

With the UK economy almost back to normal, the furlough scheme is in the process of being wound down.

Here’s what you need to know about what happens once the furlough scheme ends.

When does furlough end?

The furlough scheme is due to end for good on September 30th.

Until that date, workers who are still on furlough should continue to receive 80% of their wages – 60% from the UK government, 20% from their employer – for the hours they’re not working.

Workers on furlough should continue to receive 80% of their wages until the scheme ends on September 30th
Workers on furlough should continue to receive 80% of their wages until the scheme ends on September 30th

How many people are on furlough?

According to official figures, 1.6 million people were still furloughed at the end of July. This is down from two million in June, and amounts to 6% of the UK workforce.

Since the scheme was introduced soon after the start of the pandemic, 11.6 million workers have been on furlough at some point.

How much has the furlough scheme cost?

As of August, the furlough scheme was estimated to have cost the UK government £68.5 billion. For comparison, the annual NHS budget in a typical year is about £150 billion.

Had the scheme not been introduced at all, however, the likely long-term economic and social costs would have been even higher due to mass unemployment, collapsing consumer demand and many other problems.

The furlough scheme was intended to save jobs and keep the economy afloat during the worst of the pandemic
The furlough scheme was intended to save jobs and keep the economy afloat during the worst of the pandemic

What happens after furlough ends?

When the furlough scheme ends, it will be left to employers to decide whether or not to retain their furloughed workers or let them go.

If you’re still on furlough and your employer is planning to make you redundant, they should have already begun the redundancy process.

If you’re being called back to work, your employer should have notified you by now. There’s no legal requirement to do so, however.

Those who are still furloughed and who haven’t heard anything from their employer should contact them as soon as possible and ask them to clarify the situation.

Furloughed workers facing redundancy may be eligible for Job Seeker's Allowance, which amounts to £74.70 per week for over-25s
Furloughed workers facing redundancy may be eligible for Job Seeker’s Allowance, which amounts to £74.70 per week for over-25s

What should I do if I’m being made redundant?

If your employer is planning to let you go when the furlough scheme ends, you should apply for Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA).

JSA claims can take weeks to process, so if your employer has indicated that they won’t be taking you back at work, you shouldn’t delay in applying for it.

For over-25s, JSA pays £74.70 per week, while for under-25s it’s £59.50 per week.

However, if you and your partner have savings of £16,000 or more in the bank, you won’t be considered eligible for JSA and will be expected to live off those savings for the time being.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau will provide you with help and assistance in navigating the benefits system.

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