Planned redundancies at lowest level since 2015

19 July, 2021

Despite the imminent end of the furlough scheme, employers are planning the lowest number of job cuts for over six years.

This time last year, redundancy figures were the worst on record but 12 months on, redundancy figures for June 2021 from the Insolvency Service saw 15,661 positions put at risk in Great Britain - that’s the lowest monthly total since February 2015 and ten times lower than June 2020.

Employers planning 20 or more redundancies have to file a form notifying government which gives an early indication of redundancy rates before they show up in the official unemployment figures.

The latest numbers are the lowest since the Insolvency Service tightened up reporting guidelines, according to Tony Wilson of the Institute for Employment Studies. Before that, it was more common for firms to fail to file the necessary paperwork when planning redundancies, leading to artificially lower figures.

Proposed redundancies have been on a downward trend since September, despite two lockdowns being imposed across most of the UK during that period.

A total of 11.6 million jobs have been furloughed during the pandemic, though only 2.4 million were still on furlough at the end of May 2021.

From July, employers pay 10% of employees' wages, on top of pension contributions and National Insurance and that rises to 20% in August, until the scheme finishes at the end of September.

Employees on furlough this year have already cost their employers money, so these figures indicate that employers must be keen to keep them. In fact, businesses are increasingly reporting staff shortages, especially in industries such as distribution, manufacturing as well as, hospitality and leisure businesses.

The Insolvency Service publishes monthly figures on its website. The data only covers firms proposing 20 or more job cuts, so smaller firms are not picked up by these figures. Employers sometimes notify more redundancies than they eventually make.

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