The Guardian (24.09.2020) The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a replacement for the coronavirus job retention scheme based on a German-style system of wage subsidies. Faced with the prospect of rising job losses this autumn when furlough closes at the end of October, and tougher restrictions on the economy as the pandemic worsens, the “job support scheme” forms the backbone of his winter economy plan.
The government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours, and will cover 22% of worker pay for six months.
The government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours. However, there are concerns workers at companies forced to close because of coronavirus restrictions – where no working hours may be possible – will be left without support.
Employers will continue to pay the usual wages of their staff for the hours they work. For hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of the equivalent salary.
Who is eligible?
The employee must not be on a redundancy notice, in a step designed to encourage companies to retain staff.
For the first three months of the scheme, the employee must work at least 33% of their usual hours. The government will review whether to increase the threshold after three months.
Employees will be able to “cycle on and off” the scheme and do not have to work the same pattern each month. However, each short-time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days.
The scheme will run for six months from 1 November.