In response to the Chancellor’s plan to extend the Job Retention Scheme, Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and development, said:

"The decision to extend the furlough scheme and make it more flexible at the same time will bring a sigh of relief from employers across the UK.

“These changes will give businesses the breathing space they need to bring people back from furlough gradually on reduced hours as lockdown measures are unwound.

“Without this, it’s very likely that the Government’s job retention scheme would have proved to simply be a waiting room for unemployment. The scheme has already saved as many as four million redundancies being made and will now continue to help protect jobs as the economy slowly recovers.

“We’re delighted that the Chancellor has listened to calls from the CIPD and people professionals to extend and make the scheme more flexible.

“We must also recognise that with more flexibility in the system comes a greater responsibility for businesses to make appropriate use of the scheme, and to support their people fairly. Businesses will need to show they are adapting as they gradually bring their people back to work, communicating openly, and that they have taken the necessary steps to make their workplaces safe in accordance with government guidance.”

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