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At the end of this month (30 September 2021), the Government’s Job Retention Scheme – otherwise known as furlough – set up at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, is set to end. The scheme has been a lifeline to millions of businesses and employees across the UK and has saved many people from being made redundant – and losing out on a regular wage.

What is furlough?

Most of us are familiar with the word ‘furlough’ by now, but in short it means a temporary leave of absence from work – which can affect just one company, or as we’ve recently seen, economic conditions across a nation – and indeed the world.

Introduced in early 2020, furlough began with the Government initially covering 80% of the wages of furloughed workers– up to a monthly limit of £2,500. Then, from July 2021, employers were required to make up 10% of salaries, as the Government contribution fell to 70%.

This was then changed further in August and September of this year, when the Government’s contribution dropped to 60% and employers’ increased to 20%, along with staff pension and National Insurance contributions.

Since furlough began, the Government predicts 11.6 million jobs have been supported and the cost of the scheme is expected to total approximately £66 billion by time it ends (ref: The Office of Budget Responsibility).

What do I do now furlough is ending?

With furlough coming to an end this week, it’s important to know and understand what your next steps should be:

  1. If you haven’t yet heard from your employer, get in touch with them to find out when you’re expected back
  2. If you’re facing redundancy, apply for support schemes as soon as you can:
    1. Apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) here
    2. Check out the Turn2us Benefits Calculator here
    3. If you’re worried about making ends meet and debt repayments, contact our team for further advice – either through our Live Chat facility or by calling 0800 316 1833
  3. If you’re an existing PayPlan client and you’re worried about your finances – or your income has changed – let us know as soon as you can. We’ll review your budget with you and ensure your monthly payment is still sustainable.
  4. If you’re not an existing PayPlan client, and you’re struggling to make repayments or find yourself in problem debt, speak to us and we’ll go through your budget, look at the money you have going in and coming out and prioritise what you need to pay. We’ll talk to you about available debt solutions and help you decide which is right for you.

Where to look for a new job if you’ve been made redundant following furlough

If you’re worried about losing your job – or have been made redundant following the pandemic – the good news is that the number of job vacancies has hit a record high. So, as soon as you can, update your CV and start applying for some new positions. Being made redundant is a difficult and stressful experience but it could also be the start of a fresh chapter for you.

There are a few steps you can take first:

  • The National Careers Service has a useful section on how to write a CV, going through how to lay it out, what to include, references and some top tips
  • Connect with old colleagues and friends – let them know you’re available for work and looking for your next opportunity
  • Make use of Britain’s largest database of job vacancies
  • Contact your local JobCentre Plus
  • Update your LinkedIn and Indeed profiles
  • Contact employment agencies

There are also several organisations that offer job-related support, including:

  • ACAS – can help with all employment rights issues. Call 0300 123 1100
  • Citizens Advice – offers free and impartial advice. Find your local office online.
  • – provides general online advice about redundancy selection, consultation, redundancy pay and notice periods
  • Pensions Advisory Service – offers free and impartial guidance to people with workplace and personal pensions. Call 0800 011 3797
  • Samaritans – are there to support you, no matter what you’re going through. They’re available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123.

No matter what your situation is, if you’re struggling to make repayments or find yourself in problem debt – the risk of redundancy can be very scary, but we’re here to help you. We’ve put together a Debt and Redundancy Guide to support you, which talks you through what to do if you’ve been made redundant and you’re in debt.

Check it out here: PayPlan’s Redundancy Guide | PayPlan