A final self-employment Covid-19 grant is to be made available in the UK, and businesses there must start paying towards the worker furlough scheme from August, the government announced, 29 May. UK freelance workers will be able to claim up to £6,570 (US$8,082) from that date, giving those workers access to a total coronavirus grant of up to £14,070 each.

Businesses will also have to start paying National Insurance and tax contributions for staff in August, ramping up to 10% of furloughed wages in September and 20% in October.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak had previously announced the plan to get businesses to contribute to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), but he laid out further details on Friday. He also revealed that workers can return part-time without losing any furlough payments from July – a month earlier than previously planned, following lobbying from businesses.

The Treasury said: “Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them – and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.”

Since it was launched, the CJRS has been used by one million businesses to support 8.5m jobs, at a cost of £15bn so far. The scheme is expected to cost a total of around £80bn, or £10bn a month.

Minister Sunak said: “Now, as we begin to reopen our country and kick-start our economy, these schemes will adjust to ensure those who are able to work can do so, while remaining amongst the most generous in the world.”