The construction sector has received over £1.8bn to help furlough 680,000 employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures have revealed.
The funding has come from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), with the news included in the first release of official HMRC statistics on the CJRS.
The initial figures reveal that CJRS saw 154,000 construction sector employers furlough 680,000 employees to the tune of £1.8bn up to 31 May 2020 – a figure that is set to rise as the scheme has been extended until October 2020.
The CJRS was announced by the government on 20 March 2020 in order to support employers who have been unable to undertake their normal activities through the Covid-19 period.
Under CJRS, employers are able to claim support from the period starting 1 March 2020, where employees have already been furloughed from that date.
The scheme currently provides employers with financial support up to 80% of salary, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per employee, plus the associated employer national insurance contributions and pension contributions (up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) on that subsidised furlough pay.
As announced on 12 May, the CJRS will remain open until the end of October, with new flexibility introduced from August to help furloughed workers return to work part-time, and employers being asked to pay a slightly higher percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
Speaking in May, chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected millions of jobs and businesses across the UK during the outbreak – and I’ve been clear that I want to avoid a cliff edge and get people back to work in a measured way. This extension and the changes we are making to the scheme will give flexibility to businesses while protecting the livelihoods of the British people and our future economic prospects.”
The Association for Consultancy and Engineering is hosting a dedicated webinar this Wednesday, 17 June, that will explain the nuances of the government’s extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.