The UK government has claimed official figures show that the furlough scheme, where the government initially picked up 80% of the wages up to £2,500 a month for all those asked not to work during the pandemic, has worked, with more than half of employees back at work already, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

At the schemes peak in May, 30% of the workforce across the UK was furloughed. The share of the workforce furloughed fell by more than half to 11% by mid-August - and will likely have fallen further since.

To tackle the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on people’s jobs, businesses and livelihoods, the government introduced one of the most generous and comprehensive packages of support in the world, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The UK government is now promoting the Job Retention Bonus, aimed at encouraging employers to keep staff on until at least the end of January next year. The £1,000 Job Retention Bonus is equal to a 20% wage subsidy for the employment costs of the average person previously furloughed, but for those on lower incomes, it’s 40% of wage costs over the three-month period to the end of January 2021.

HMRC statistics show that the number of employments furloughed peaked at 8.9m on 8 May, with 9.6m employments in total furloughed for at least part of the period between March to June.

Further information can be found at ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme statistics: August 2020’