On 30 September 2021, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which supported millions of workers throughout the pandemic, came to an end.
What was the CJRS?
Hailed as a lifeline for employers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the CJRS was first introduced by the UK Government on 20 March 2020 in order to prevent redundancies and support employers that were severely affected by COVID-19. Under the scheme, the UK Government contributed towards the wages of eligible individuals who were unable to work and those whose employers could not afford to pay them, up to a monthly limit of £2,500.
It has been estimated that throughout the duration of the scheme, the CJRS subsidised the wages of more than 11 million jobs. However, as the scheme came to an end on 30 September 2021, the Office for National Statistics estimated that almost 1 million people were still being supported by the scheme. This sparked concern that the end of the CJRS would lead to widespread redundancies and unemployment.
What has happened since the end of the CJRS?
Despite fears that the end of the CJRS would result in a wave of job losses, early data suggests that the number of redundancies proposed by employers in September was close to record lows.
It has been reported that just over 200 firms in the UK informed the Government of plans to make redundancies in September, with a total of 13,836 jobs at risk. This early data indicates a more promising labour market at the end of the CJRS than first anticipated. This is further evidenced by individual businesses such as British Airways, the biggest user of the CJRS, which brought all of its furloughed workers back by the end of September.
However, it is important to note that only firms which plan to make 20 or more redundancies are required to report these figures to the Government. As a result, smaller businesses, which were hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, are not included within these redundancy figures.
Given that six in ten furloughed workers were employed by firms with fewer than 20 employees, there are concerns that this early data is not an accurate reflection of the whole labour market. We will therefore need to wait to see the full impact of the end of the CJRS and its effect on smaller businesses over the coming months.
For more information and advice on the options available to employers following the end of the CJRS, please read our latest advice here.
For a free, no obligation conversation about how we can help you with the above, please contact Owen John on [email protected] / 02920829118.