ukactive has questioned the government’s decision to make all employers start paying towards the wages of their furloughed staff.
On 29 May, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which will let businesses bring back staff part-time from July – but introduce a taper requiring firms to contribute to salaries from 1 August.
Gyms, health clubs and leisure centres have been closed since 20 March and, as it stands, there is no confirmed date for the fitness industry to return to business.
Responding to the chancellor’s announcement, Huw Edwards, ukactive CEO said: “Asking businesses who have had no income for five months to contribute to wages under the furlough scheme is a guarantee of redundancies.
“If gyms and leisure centres are not allowed to reopen, before having to make contributions on 1 August, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost, with the potential for thousands of facilities to go out of business.
“The physical activity sector has made extensive use of the CJRS, which has helped to protect jobs since the closures were mandated on 20 March.
“With no income since then, it is imperative the government continues to support the sector, or the jobs retained since then will be lost. As such, there cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the changes to the scheme.
“We welcome the support for part-time furloughing, as per our call for the Government last month, but this support must recognise the precarious nature of the sector after many months of closure.
“ukactive is committed to working with the government to develop a solution, so the physical activity sector can return to its crucial role following this pandemic.”