Businesses that have been using the government’s coronavirus furlough scheme are now having to contribute to workers’ wages.

Since March, the Job Retention Scheme has paid 80% of the wages of workers placed on leave, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

But now that is going down to 70%, with the employer paying 10%.

From 1 September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 a month. Employers are already paying employees’ pension contributions and National Insurance, but will now have to pay 10% of salaries as well.

In October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. The employers’ share of the bill will then go up to 20% of wages.

There are fears that the changes will see a rise in unemployment, with many businesses struggling to pay staff salaries. Calls for the scheme to be extended have been refused by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the government.