On 12 May the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced that the furlough scheme will be extended at 80% of employees salary up to £2500 until the end of October 2020, clarifying that guidance on flexibility from August is yet to be published.
This economic support is welcome, yet there remain serious questions and areas of concern for different groups of women.
Key questions and suggested actions touch upon:
- How will safety be ensured for those back at work? 1 in 10 low earners cannot work from home and 69% of low earners are women so this is also an equalities issues.
- How will parents, especially women, return to work without full time childcare? How can social distancing be maintained in childcare settings?
- How will those with caring responsibilities and pregnant women be protected against discrimination?
- Can part time furlough be introduced now to aid those with caring responsibilities?
- Will the Government amend the gaps in the social security system to also support those made unemployed?
- Will the Government collect data on the economic and health impacts of easing lockdown by protected characteristics to monitor the impact as well as undertaking and publishing meaningful equality impact assessments?
- Will the Government take immediate action to avoid further problems in the childcare and social care sectors and consider these investments social infrastructure?