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12 August, 2021 Open access

TUC calls on government to establish a permanent short-time working scheme to help protect working people from future economic change

Union body recommends that new scheme should provide 80 per cent of workers’ wages, funded training, and full flexibility in working hours

The TUC has called on the government to establish a permanent short-time working scheme to help protect working people through periods of future economic change.

Highlighting in a report published today, Beyond furlough: why the UK needs a permanent short-time work scheme, that the success of the furlough scheme during the Covid pandemic reflects widespread evidence from long-standing schemes in other developed countries that they protect both workers and business, the TUC makes the case for the UK to put in place a permanent furlough scheme - to deal with future periods of economic turbulence and build on the success of the current scheme rather than 'throwing away its good work' by ending support abruptly from October 2021.

Recommending that a tripartite panel of unions, business and government is tasked with designing the criteria for the new scheme, the TUC proposes that its features should include -

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said today -

'Everyone deserves dignity and security at work. The pandemic shows how an unexpected economic shock can wreak havoc on jobs and livelihoods with little warning.

In a changing and unpredictable world - as we battle climate change and new technologies emerge - a permanent short-time workings scheme would help make our labour market more resilient and protect jobs and livelihoods.

Too often in the past, periods of economic and industrial change have been badly mismanaged - increasing inequalities and leaving working people and whole communities abandoned.

Setting up a ‘daughter of furlough’ to provide certainty to workers and firms through future industrial change would be a fitting pandemic legacy.

Furlough has been a lifeline for millions of working people during the pandemic. Now is the time for the government to build on the success of furlough with a short-time working scheme - not throw away its good work.'

For more information, see ‘Daughter of furlough’ - TUC calls for permanent short-time working scheme to protect jobs in times of economic crisis and change.