You’ve probably heard that the government are starting up a new Job Support Scheme to help those affected by the loss of income that many businesses are facing due to Covid-19. It’s a little more complicated than the previous scheme, so we’re going to take a look at how it works an what you need to do if you think it applies to you.
Who is the job support scheme for?
This new grant supports businesses and employees in industries where lower demand over the coming winter months would otherwise force them to make job cuts. The idea is to protect jobs that will be retained once the scheme comes to an end – what is referred to as a ‘viable job’. It begins on 1 November and will continue for six months, offering relative stability for those who may have expected to be laid off.
People will only be eligible if they can continue to work for at least a third of their contracted hours. This is part of the criteria for a ‘viable’ job – it shows that there is still a demand for the role, just at a decreased rate.
How does it work?
Your employer will continue to pay you for the hours that you work as they usually would, so this will cover at minimum a third of your usual wages. Of what’s left, the government will pay a third of your remaining wages and your employer will also pay a third. That means that, all together, you will be getting at least 77% of your standard pay – just slightly less than what was offered to those on furlough.
You can’t be made redundant or put on notice while there is an active Job Support Scheme claim being made on your behalf.
How do I make a claim?
Employees don’t claim directly – as with furlough, it’s all done through the business. Employers will need to go to the gov.uk website to make their claim – the link has not gone live yet – and will be paid on a monthly basis. Grants are made to the business in arrears, after employees have already received their pay for that period.
What about furlough?
The Job Support Scheme doesn’t exactly replace furlough, as it’s designed to support a different kind of worker. Where furlough helped those who could no longer work at all due to their regular place of business being closed or suffering reduced demand, this is designed to help those who are still able to work.
In reality, many of the same employees are likely to be covered by the new scheme, as hospitality businesses are beginning to re-open their doors. The furlough scheme is coming to an end on 31 October, at which point businesses will have to decide whether to keep their employees on. This new option may make that decision a little easier.
Separately, the government are also offering businesses £1000 one-off payments for every furloughed employee still employed at the end of January. There are also £1,500 payments available for high quality job placements offered to eligible 16-24-year-olds and further grants being given to companies who hire apprentices.