Work worries ramping up with month to go till end of furlough
With one month [31 days as of 1 October] until the furlough scheme closes, Citizens Advice reports redundancy and benefits queries are on the rise.
- Last week frontline advisers gave one-to-one redundancy advice to more than 1,000 people and views to the charity’s employment pages passed 250,000, the highest in four weeks
- Views to the charity’s check what benefits you can get page have nearly doubled since August
- Since lockdown, advisers have supported more than 25,000 people with one-to-one advice on redundancy via phone and webchat
By law if employers are dismissing 20 or more employees at the same workplace, they must carry out a 30-day collective redundancy consultation. If they are dismissing 100 employees or more, this must be a 45-day consultation.
Citizens Advice has previously set out guidance on steps to take if you’re facing a redundancy.
‘A lot of people feel like they're in the waiting room for a redundancy’
Andy Gillett, a telephone advice manager at Citizens Advice Blackpool, says: "Work worries are really ramping up. With the end of the furlough scheme in just a few short weeks, a lot of people feel like they're in the waiting room for a redundancy.
"There's a sense of underlying anxiety, but at the same time people are trying to be practical, for example asking how they'd go about claiming benefits or what they can do about their bills if they suddenly lose their income.
"The hardest thing is people saying that if they lose their job there won’t easily be another to go into - for many, that’s the reality of the labour market."
Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“The furlough scheme has been an extraordinary intervention, but as it draws to a close we could face a bleak winter of redundancies.
“The Chancellor has acknowledged that the new Job Support Scheme won’t protect every job. While people look for work it’s critical our benefits system provides a strong enough safety net.
“Making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent would provide some much-needed security as we weather this storm.”
Notes to editors
- From August, the furlough scheme stopped covering employers' National Insurance contributions for furloughed workers. From September employers must make up 10% of their workers' furlough pay. Payments to employers under the scheme stop completely on 31 October.
- If employers are dismissing 20 or more employees at the same workplace, they must carry out a 30-day collective redundancy consultation; if 100 employees or more, a 45-day consultation. For 19 employees or less, an employer should consult individually with all those who are affected.
- Page views on redundancy and benefits pages at the beginning of the pandemic and have begun to climb again following a lull in August.
- Between 21 September and 25 September advisers gave one-to-one redundancy advice to more than 1,000 people via phone and web chat. This is almost three times as many as the same period last year.
- There have been 14,000 page views to the charity’s check what benefits you can get pages in last week, an 84% increase against the same period last month.
- Since the furlough scheme was announced on 20 March, Citizens Advice’s frontline advisers have given one-to-one furlough help to almost 20,000 people, with half of the queries relating to eligibility for the scheme.
- Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
- The availability of face-to-face services will be affected during the outbreak. If people need to speak to someone for advice, they should check our website for the status of their nearest Citizens Advice.
- Our network of charities offers impartial advice online and over the phone, for free.
- We helped 2.8 million people face to face, over the phone, by email and webchat in 2019-20. And we had 34.5 million visits to our website. For full service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 for Welsh language speakers.