The latest figures released by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show that 13 per cent of UK workers were furloughed at the end of December.
The data records workers that were either partly or fully furloughed during December 2020, with restrictions increasing before the four UK Governments introduced varying degrees of lockdowns in January.
On average, 3.85 million workers were furloughed during the month, which is a decrease from November’s figure of 4.05 million, but higher than October’s figure of 2.52 million.
The figures have been impacted by various restrictions being implemented in the final quarter of 2020, with many retail and hospitality venues closing first on a local basis, then national, with non-essential retail being closed during the November national lockdown in England.
Following its introduction in Spring 2020, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) saw thirty per cent of private-sector employees placed on the scheme, equating to approximately 8.9 million workers.
Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also suggested that the rates of furlough have increased in January with national lockdown measures being implemented, along with school closures (other than for vulnerable children and the children of key workers).
Charlie McCurdy, Researcher at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The Job Retention Scheme has been a living standards lifeline for millions of workers, with three-in-ten private-sector workers furloughed at the peak of the first lockdown.
“The winding-up of the scheme in just three months is expected to cause a fresh wave of unemployment. It’s vital therefore that the chancellor ensures a flexible transition out of the scheme, to avoid millions of workers simply moving from furlough straight into unemployment.”
Employers will be making considerations over redundancies and future working situations with the CJRS currently set to draw to a conclusion in April 2021, and the correct redundancy consultation procedures must be followed.
For help and advice on matters relating to furlough, redundancy and employment law, contact Joanna Alexiou, Head of Employment Law at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 207 240 0521 or at firstname.lastname@example.org