FTA demands furlough flexibility for economic recovery

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The FTA has said that were the government to include part-time working as part of the current furlough scheme from the end of May, rather than waiting until August, it would ensure the future security of businesses across logistics in the UK.

FTA chief executive David Wells said: “The furloughing scheme has been a lifeline for logistics businesses across the country, many of which have suffered a dramatic loss of all revenue thanks to the shut down in a number of sectors.

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David Wells, FTA

“But as the economy starts to return to normality, it is vital that a flexibility that accommodates part time work by furloughed workers is included as part of the scheme, to enable our member organisations to increase their revenue streams and reduce their reliance on furloughing payments from government.

He continues: “The furloughing scheme has been a lifeline for logistics businesses across the country, many of which have suffered a dramatic loss of all revenue thanks to the shut down in a number of sectors.

“But as the economy starts to return to normality, it is vital that a flexibility that accommodates part time work by furloughed workers is included as part of the scheme, to enable our member organisations to increase their revenue streams and reduce their reliance on furloughing payments from government.”

The FTA said its members were in agreement that the minimum furlough period involved of three weeks should also be shortened to provide additional flexibility for employers.

Wells said: “Currently, employers must fully furlough workers for three weeks before any payments can be made, and any break in this pattern returns workers to a three-week cycle.

“This prevents operators from using furloughed employees on a part time basis, and is hampering the full return to work, by limiting the number of workers available for businesses to use. We believe the three-week cycle should be reduced to a single week, to give additional flexibility to accommodate peaks and troughs in business as the economy recovers.”

The FTA has also called for more clarity on the withdrawal of furlough payments. Wells said: “It is unclear whether or not business will need to start paying for the non-working time of furloughed workers.

“And whether a top-up payment will be required if the percentage of wages paid by government is reduced. Furloughing was intended to avoid a tidal wave of redundancies, but if logistics businesses must pay an increasing proportion of furloughing costs, the economy could be faced with exactly that scenario.

“The government owes it to our members to clarify what is to happen, and when.”

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