New research indicates that more than half of those who have been furloughed in the UK have now returned to work on either a full or part-time basis, writes Kristy Dorsey.

In an analysis published to coincide with the beginning of the phasing out of the Government’s job retention scheme, the Resolution Foundation found that although 9.4 million people have been furloughed at some points since March, less than half remain so today. From its evaluation of three separate ONS surveys, the foundation concludes that the peak number of furloughed workers at any one time was about eight million, reaching as far back as late April.

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From today, firms must begin contributing towards the cost of furloughed workers by paying employer National Insurance and pension contributions. The foundation says the average cost of this is £70 a month per worker.

Of the less than 4.5 million workers currently furloughed, the foundation says the risk of redundancy is highest in social sectors such as hospitality and leisure, where four in 10 are still having their salaries paid by the Government. The foundation says more than a million workers in these sectors face a heightened risk of unemployment as the job retention scheme is phased out between August and October.