In a speech to the House of Commons on 8 July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined the next stage in the coronavirus economic recovery plan – the new apprenticeship scheme (which we covered in our previous blog) and the Kickstart Scheme, and this is what we know so far about it.
What is the Kickstart Scheme?
The aim of the scheme is to create high-quality jobs – or work experience – for those that are aged between 16-24, who are unemployed and on universal credit. So this will encompass the school leavers and recent graduates who in light of the recession that was announced this week will struggle to get other employment in the current climate.
What does the Scheme Cover?
There has been £20 billion invested in this scheme and that will cover the participants of the scheme’s expenses for six months. What we know so far is that the scheme will consist of a minimum of 25 hours work per week, which will be paid at National Minimum Wage (NMW). Should employers be able to top this up they can do so if they wish, however, the government will cover 100% of relevant NWM for 25 hours a week, as well as National Insurance Contributions and employer minimum pension contributions.
How many people can I employ?
From what we know at the moment this scheme is for an uncapped number of people and will run from August 2020 until December 2021. There is currently no further information on how to apply. If you would like to participate the Kickstart participants must be provided with training and support towards finding a permanent job – this does not mean that after the 6 months the employer has to employ them. What it does mean is that the work experience that they receive must be meaningful and will help them get a job in the future.
If I have made someone redundant can I replace them with a Kickstart employee?
The simple answer is no. The employer will need to prove that the Kickstart jobs are new and not just replacements for existing jobs.
What do I need to consider as an Employer if I want to participate in this scheme?
Although the Chancellor made it clear that these roles were open to all businesses however big or small, this scheme will be particularly good for small businesses who are looking to grow. So things to consider for small business owners are:
- review your structure and see where you could consider a kickstart job – this will go towards the proof you need to show that it is a new role and not an existing one
- create a meaningful job description that is engaging and shows how someone can gain experience
- create a training plan for the 6 months so those that are on the scheme can see what they will learn by the end of it
- ensure you have a ‘buddy’ or ‘mentor’ that can keep an eye on them and check in with them regularly – similar to a probationary period structure so feedback can be gained at regular intervals.
Why not take our HR Quiz to see how HR ready you would be taking on a Kickstart job here.
And, if you have immediate questions why not just click on the chat button to your right or book a call with one of the team and we can discuss further with you.