On May 12, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced an extension of the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) until the end of October. According to weekly tracking research from advertising’s think tank Credos, the JRS, also referred to as furloughing, is the most applied for coronavirus Government support measure among Advertising Association members. So far approximately 7.5 million workers in sectors across the country have been entered into the scheme.
The existing JRS pays 80% of furloughed employees’ wages, up to £2,500 per month, and will run until the end of July. During this period, furloughed employees cannot do any work for their employers.
From August 1, furloughed employees will be able to return to work on a part-time basis, continuing to receive 80% of their income up to £2,500 per month. This income will be made up of a combination of government support and employer contribution. More details will be released by the end of May.
The announcement by the Chancellor removes the potential for a cliff-edge ending to the scheme, a position the Advertising Association has lobbied hard against. As our Chief Executive, Stephen Woodford outlined in The Drum on May 11, our sentiment tracker shows that it is uncertainty around how lockdown will be phased out that is a large driver of pessimism because it is making it hard for businesses to predict cashflows. The phased rolling back of the JRS scheme announced by the Chancellor will hopefully relieve some of this pressure, allowing companies to gradually bring back in employees as the economy begins to reopen over the summer months.