To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits to industries such as the steel industry which are experiencing shortages of skilled workers of amending the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme to enable employers to furlough employees for shorter periods of time.
To be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, firms must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020, enrolled for PAYE online and have a UK bank account. Once on furlough, employees cannot work for their employer but they can undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidance, so long as they are not making money for their employer or any organisation linked or associated with their association, or providing services to their employer or any organisation linked or associated with their association.
The arrangement between workers and their employers remains subject to negotiation. To be eligible for the scheme, each employee must be furloughed for a minimum of three weeks at a time. This is consistent with public health guidance seeking to minimise the number of people outside their homes on a regular basis. There is no restriction on the number of times an individual could be furloughed or the maximum period, other than the life of the scheme.
Employers may also be able to benefit from other schemes and measures such as the VAT deferral and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Further details can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19