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Chancellor needs to urgently clarify his job retention scheme for firms that are in crisis now

The British Airline Pilots Association says there are serious technical issues with the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), that need to be sorted out now.

The pilots’ union is concerned there is a lack of detail about the system, that it is confusing, that it conflicts with UK employment law and that it won’t be ready for weeks while workers are being laid off now.

Many pilots, who’ve borne the brunt of the impact of COVID-19 are already grounded and face cuts in pay or redundancy as the airlines look at how to weather the storm.

BALPA is calling for clarity on the term ‘furloughed’, as there is no such concept in UK employment law.

The pilots’ union is also asking what will happen to those who are not laid off on zero pay but, for example, half hours or half pay. This is more common and a better practice than laying off – but the Government scheme doesn’t cover this.

Pilots also want to know now how the process will work and BALPA has asked for the Government to provide details now.

BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:

“While we are pleased to see the Chancellor is looking at ways to help employees, it must be workable and lawful, so urgent detail is necessary immediately, before employers and workers make mistakes.

“From the scant details we have now, it seems like a terrible mess. We are very concerned that some people will simply fall through the net of this provision, and that it may give an employer a ridiculous incentive to give a few staff lots of work and furlough the rest.

“It is surely obvious that topping up reduced pay or hours should also be part of the scheme, not just paying for lay-offs.

“The point is workers are being laid off or being put on reduced pay right now and are in total confusion.

“Announcements without detail and substance are a source of confusion to both workers and their employers. The Chancellor needs to sort this out now.”