Furlough falls, particularly for younger workers

The number of people on furlough has fallen, with over 65s the age group with the highest proportion of workers still furloughed.

Age bias at work

 

The number of people on furlough has fallen to between 1.1 and 1.6 million, as the scheme tapers off and employers have to pay towards it, with younger people coming off it more quickly than older workers.

The Treasury reported that 1.9 million people remained on the scheme by the end of June, more than half a million fewer than the 2.4 million at the end of May.

Since then, numbers may have fallen further as employers now have to contribute to the furlough scheme, with the ONS Business Insights and Conditions Survey, published this week, estimating that between 1.1 and 1.6 million people are still on furlough.

The Government says that in the last three months younger people have moved off the scheme twice as fast as all other age brackets, with almost 600,000 under 25s moving off the scheme. The proportion of furloughed staff aged under 18 fell from 13% in May to 7% in June; for those aged 18 to 24 it feel from 10% to 6%.

Meanwhile, 10% of workers over 65 are reported to be still on furlough, the highest proportion of any age group and one in three of furloughed workers are estimated to be over 50, raising fears about unemployment amid concerns that older people are more likely to find it more difficult to get back into work after a period of unemployment. People over 50 now account for 34% of furloughed people, up from 27% in January, according to Rest Less.

When it comes to sectors, hospitality and retail no longer make up the majority of all those on furlough. The arts, education and recreation industry, and the transportation and storage industry have the highest proportion of workers still on furlough, at 16%, and 11% respectively. Within the arts, education and recreation industry, the highest proportion of the workforce reported to be on furlough leave is in the performing arts sector. Within the transportation and storage industry, the highest proportion of the workforce reported to be on furlough leave is in the operation of warehousing and storage facilities for land transport activities, and the service activities incidental to air transportation sectors.

Starting on 1st August, the employer contribution to furlough costs will increase to 20%, with the Government paying 60% of wages [up to a maximum cap of £1,875 per month], and that contribution level will continue until the scheme ends at the end of September.

The figures show that those on furlough are more likely to be partially furloughed than on full furlough. Since 1st July, employers have been able to furlough their employees for part of their usual hours, with the employee free to work the remainder.

The furlough scheme is set to end on 30th September.

Meanwhile, a survey by CIPHR shows two-fifths [39%] of employees have not been consulted about returning to the workplace. Forty per cent of the 1,000 workers surveyed said they had not been asked for their views on how many days they would like to be in the office.



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