WORKERS spent a total of 700,000 years on furlough in 2020, shocking new research shows today.
Employees on the Job Retention Scheme, championed by the Chancellor to get the nation through the worst of the pandemic, were at home for 6.4billion hours.
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And they are on track to spend another 3.3billion away from the office in 2021 as the scheme runs for another five months.
The New Economics Foundation warned that once the programme comes to an end in September, 850,000 jobs could be at risk, or workers may see their hours cut.
The think tank calls on ministers to change the scheme into a skills programme to stop a cliff-edge for thousands, and extend the scheme beyond September.
And they say employers should have their employer contributions clashed over the summer to give businesses a helping hand in the bounce back.
Alex Chapman, Senior Researcher at the New Economics Foundation, said last night: "The government is missing a trick on the furlough scheme.
"They have been so worried about avoiding a scheme that subsidises jobs that may never return that they have failed to seize the opportunity to use the scheme to skill up and support workers back into employment, and transition workers whose jobs do get cut into new roles."
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