Helping the economy get back on its feet: employment measures


Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced the government's latest measures to get the UK economy back on its feet following the period of lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Here are the measures that matter as far as employment is concerned.

Job retention bonus

A one-off payment of £1,000 will be given to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.  Payments will be made from February 2021 and employees will have to earn above £520 per month (the Lower Earnings Limit) on average from the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) on 31 October to 31 January 2021.  More details of the job retention bonus will be announced by the end of this month and we will keep you posted.

Kickstart Scheme

A new Kickstart Scheme, constituting a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements, will be introduced.  This is 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 placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week as well as National Insurance contributions and the minimum automatic enrolment employer contributions.

Payments for those hiring new apprentices

A new £2,000 payment will be introduced for each new apprentice an employer hires under the age of 25, while a payment of £1,500 will be paid for each new apprentice aged 25 and over.  This is open to employers in England and will be available from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021.

Provision of high quality traineeships

An additional £111 million will be provided for traineeships in England, to fund high quality work placements and training for those aged between 16 and 24.  Also, for the first time ever, the Government will provide £1,000 per trainee to those employers who provide trainees with work experience.  The government has pledged to improve provision and expand eligibility for traineeships to those with Level 3 qualifications and below as a way of ensuring that high quality training is open to larger numbers of young people.

National Careers Service to receive additional funding

An additional £32 million funding will be provided to the National Careers Service so that 269,000 more people in England can receive personalised advice on training and work.

Courses for school and college leavers

All 18-19 year olds will have the opportunity to study targeted high value Level 2 and 3 courses for the 2020-21 academic year where there are no employment opportunities available to them.  The government has pledged £101 million to enable this.

Additional funding for sector-based work academies

An additional £17 million will be provided by the government this year to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements in England.  This will have the effect of providing vocational training and guaranteed interviews for more people to enable them to gain the skills that they need to apply for jobs in their local area.

Will it work?

The obvious answer to this is that only time will tell.  However, the job retention bonus is a significant measure which may well help to keep people in jobs that they would otherwise be due to lose as the CJRS comes to an end in October.  The aim to avoid the problem of mass unemployment is clear, and it may be that the bonus will be an effective solution.


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