May 10, 2020 / 10:34 PM / 19 days ago

Britain's job retention scheme set to be extended to September: The Telegraph

FILE PHOTO: People walk through the Canary Wharf financial district of London, Britain, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

(Reuters) - Britain's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is set to be extended until the end of September, at a reduced rate of 60 percent, while also topping up the pay packets of staff brought back to work on a part-time basis, The Telegraph reported here late on Sunday.

Changes to the furlough scheme could be announced by Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, as soon as Monday, the report said.

Cabinet ministers have ­begun telling bosses that the plan will continue throughout the summer, with taxpayers footing the bill for 60 percent of wages, the newspaper added, citing sources.

A Treasury source told the newspaper that talks were ongoing with final decisions yet to be taken.

“Future decisions around the scheme will take into account the wider context of any lockdown extension, as well as the public health response, so that people and businesses can get back to work when it is safe to do so,” a Treasury spokesperson said in response to a Reuters request for comment.

Along with the extension, the chancellor is expected to announce that furloughed staff returning to work part time will have their wages “topped up” by the government, according to the report. Businesses are to be incentivised to gradually bring staff back to work so that social distancing rules can be observed and operations can be slowly built back up.

The Telegraph had reported last week that the furlough scheme is set to become more flexible, including allowing some staff to work part-time and reducing the amount of government wage subsidy.

First announced in March, the furlough scheme was originally open for three months, backdated from March 1 to the end of May and was later extended by a month until the end of June.

Reporting by Juby Babu in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft

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