Coronavirus update 2 September: Kickstart scheme opens & furlough scheme changes
This morning’s key update is about the government’s Kickstart scheme, which opens today. We’ve also included a summary of the main changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which came into force yesterday. If you have employees on furlough, you’ll need to know about how government support has been dialled down this month.
Kickstart scheme opens for applications
In early July, we reported on measures announced in the Chancellor’s Summer Statement. Among them was an eye-catching £2bn job creation scheme for the under-25s, christened ‘Kickstart’.
The government guidance trails the Kickstart scheme as a fund to ‘create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.’
Funding for each job covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week, along with employers’ NI contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment contributions.
So far, so good. But who can apply, and how does the scheme work?
Who can apply for Kickstart funding?
Any UK employer can apply for Kickstart funding. The jobs you offer must be for people aged 16 to 24 who are currently on Universal Credit. The roles you offer must not:
- Replace current or planned vacancies
- Cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.
The roles you offer must also:
- Be for a minimum of 25 hours per week, for six months
- Be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (although you can top this up)
- Not require people to undergo extensive training before taking up a role.
How can I apply for Kickstart?
If you are creating 30 or more job placements, you can apply directly here.
However, if you are offering fewer than 30 placements, you need to team up with partner organisations to create at least 30 placements collectively. Partners could include other businesses, charities, local authorities, trade bodies and so on. Information about becoming a representative for a group of employers is available here. You can also contact your local Jobcentre Employer Partnership team to help find a representative.
When you apply, you will be asked how you will help new employees develop their skills and experience. This will include how you will support them to look for long-term work, offer career advice and help with basic skills such as attendance and timekeeping.
When does the scheme end?
The scheme will run until at least December 2021, so you still have a reasonable amount of time to apply. If you’re a THP client and would like to talk through your options, please get in touch.
Furlough scheme changes: a reminder
As of yesterday, HMRC reduced the amount it contributes to furloughed employees’ wages. Instead of 80%, the taxman will pay 70% of usual wages to an upper limit of £2,187.50 per month (for the hours furloughed employees don’t work). In a nutshell, you have to contribute to bring each person’s wages up to 80% (up to cap of £2,500 per month). As with last month, you need to continue to pay employees’ NI and pension contributions from your own funds.
Full details of the changes to the furlough scheme are available here. If you are a THP client and would like further advice, please talk to your account manager.
About Ben Locker
Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.