Employers will be allowed to re-furlough staff if they are subject to a local lockdown like Leicester, it has been confirmed.
Non-essential businesses in Leicester have been told to shut their doors again from today under the UK’s first local lockdown and those firms affected will be able to place staff back on furlough if they were previously on the scheme.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: ‘If employers have used the furlough scheme at any point between March 1 and June 30, which of course many will have, they can re-furlough those employees from July 1.
‘If someone worked in non-essential retail and they have been able to go back to work and that non-essential retail now has to close again they will still be eligible to benefit from the furlough scheme.
‘It applies nationwide but obviously it’s a particular circumstance to Leicester and those surrounding conurbations at the moment.’
Car dealers are not thought to be part of the lockdown measures as they were allowed to open before the June 15.
However, there is every chance they may be forced to close if measures under local lockdowns are stricter.
Residents in Leicester have been advised to only leave the house for essential travel, placing pressure on car dealers that do decide to stay open.
Car Dealer reported this morning that there was confusion among those dealers we spoke to as to whether the lockdown affected them.
While some planned to shut their doors at 5pm today others were intending to stay open.
That’s the approach Sandicliffe is taking.
The dealer group has six showrooms in the Leicester area and intends to remain open, believing that the business which need to shut are the ones that reopened on June 15 – and that doesn’t include car showrooms.
Paul Woodhouse, Sandicliffe managing director, told Car Dealer: ‘We have taken the view that we are exempt and decided to remain fully operational until we get further guidance.’
Lawgistics Solicitor, Nona Bowkis, added: ‘As has become customary this decision has been made without full guidance being issued.
‘However, according to the gov.uk website it is only shops that were allowed to open on the June 15 which will have to close again.’
The news that staff can be placed back on furlough in the cases of local lockdowns will be a welcome relief to car dealers, who have slowly been bringing back staff.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the job retention scheme until the end of October, with employers being told to contribute to the cost from August.
Some 9.3m workers have been furloughed under the programme, claiming £25.5bn to cover the salaries of those who cannot work, according to the latest government figures.
Boris Johnson acknowledged in his major speech on Tuesday when he set out his recovery plan that ‘the furloughing cannot go on forever’.
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