Chancellor Rishi Sunak on the 24th of September unveiled a replacement for the coronavirus furlough scheme when it comes crashing to a halt on October 31.
As explained on the Governments website, the scheme is described as follows: The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months. The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job. The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped. Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.
So, what this means
is that people can be kept in jobs on very short hours yet receive up to 78% of their normal pay. Which is incredibly useful for employees but perhaps not as financially helpful for small business owners who still have to shell out a shed load of money in staff wages whilst still struggling to cope with decreased demand. As previously mentioned, the government will only pay up to a third of the hours not worked. That means the government is paying only 22.2% of your wage - down from 80% under the furlough scheme. This is a colossal downgrade from the furlough scheme, and whilst any help is always appreciated, is this too little to truly help the little guys stay afloat? Struggling firms will have to contribute to hours you don't work which will leave employers paying 55% of the wages of a worker who is only coming in one-third of the time. Small independent bakery owner David Fussell had this to say about the new scheme “ What has been offered in the furlough scheme was fantastic, and it truly did help small businesses stay afloat in these difficult times. Whilst we are grateful to the government for offering another scheme that will also help businesses such as mine when furlough ends, I feel like it is nowhere near as helpful as the furlough scheme was. Whilst the additional help from this new scheme is beneficial, I feel like it will only be able to preserve a fraction of the number of jobs that the furlough scheme did. Simply put, for many businesses, it will just not be enough money to truly reduce unemployment for the real jobs it claims to try to protect.