UK government prepares jobs support if firms forced to close

LONDON (AP) — The British government is on Friday set to announce further support for firms to retain staff in the coming months if they are forced to close as a result of the imposition of further lockdown restrictions.

With the government expected to tighten restrictions over the coming days to deal with a sharp spike in new coronavirus infections, there are growing concerns that the economy will suffer during the winter and that hundreds of thousands of jobs may be lost.

Treasury chief Rishi Sunak said he understood how “people are worried about the coming winter months.”


He is being urged by businesses, politicians and unions to accompany any lockdown restrictions with a financial support package to prevent mass unemployment. Specifically, he is being urged to back local job retention programs, whereby the government steps in to pay the lion’s share of the salaries of workers who are forced

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An initiative from Germany’s Social Democrat labour minister to give people the right to work from home is facing opposition from chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and business groups, though a survey shows most workers like the idea.

The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted work flows in many companies in Europe’s largest economy, accelerating a trend to work partly from home and speeding up the digitisation of business organisation and communication.

But it has also created new problems such as working longer hours and pushing up stress levels, especially among parents juggling childcare and working from home.

Hubertus Heil from the co-governing, centre-left SPD told Deutschlandfunk radio on Monday that his draft law would give employees the right to work from home or somewhere else at least 24 days per year if the profession and work flows allow.

With the draft law, Heil wants to increase job satisfaction among employees and avoid

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