COVID-19: People


This page provides information on support available for businesses to help current employees and to recruit new employees.

Support for current employees

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – also known as the Furlough scheme – has been extended until the end of April 2021 with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages.

  • Employees will receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
  • Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for just 5% of total employment costs.
  • Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously claimed or have been claimed for under CJRS to make a claim under the extended CJRS (if other eligibility criteria are met). An employer can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020.
  • Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 (the day before the Job Support Scheme announcement) who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. The employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.
  • There will be NO employer contribution to wages for hours not worked.
  • Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and Employer pension contributions for hours not worked. For an average claim, this accounts for just 5% of total employment costs or £70 per employee per month.

Claim dates:

  •  15 February 2021 – final date to submit claims for January 2021 by 11:59pm
    • 15 March 2021 – final date to submit claims for February 2021 by 11:59pm
    • 14 April 2021 – final date to submit claims for March 2021 by 11:59pm
    • 14 May 2021 – final date to submit claims for April 2021 by 11:59pm.

Other guidance

  • Calculate how much you have to pay your furloughed employees for hours on furlough, how much you can claim for employer NICs and pension contributions and how much you can claim back. Find out more
  • Steps to take before calculating your claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Find out more
  • Examples to help you calculate your employee’s wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions. Find out more

The Job Retention Bonus that was previously announced will not be paid in February and government will redeploy a retention incentive at the appropriate time. 

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

A new online service launched on 26 May for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees, the government announced.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was announced at Budget as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

This scheme will allow small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Employers can make their claims through an online service.

Existing Apprentices

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is implementing new measures, until further notice, to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way if they need to, or to break and resume an apprenticeship later when that becomes possible.

This guidance can be viewed here

Construction Talent Retention Scheme

The Talent Retention Scheme is designed to retain and secure essential talent in the sector, this new online portal will support the redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy, allowing them to be temporarily loaned between businesses. Over 500,000 left the industry during the last recession, creating a mass skills shortage, which will only become more acute due to EU Exit and post Covid19 effects. The Talent Retention Scheme will help to stop that.

The scheme has two aims:

1. Facilitate talent matching and employee loans on a temporary basis between business
2. Supply re-deployment of staff at risk of redundancy from other sectors, given the overlapping competencies.

The system is free to use, with funding secured until April 2021, and is based on a proven model in the aerospace and automotive sectors which balances redundancies in companies with recruitment needs in others. It will be open to apprentices, self-employed workers, and direct employees, as well as giving displaced workers from other sectors a route to new employment within construction.

More information can be found here 

Pension guidance

The pensions regulator have created guidance for businesses on automatic enrolment and DC pension contributions. View the guidance  here

Employee Health and Wellbeing

As an employer you have responsibilities for your employee’s health and wellbeing, during this time the nature of these responsibilities may be different. Some useful resources to assist you with managing employee health and wellbeing are shown below.

Business in the Community have created a range of toolkits for employers to support employee health and wellbeing through COVID-19.

Recruiting New Employees

New apprenticeship funding

When you hire new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021, you can apply for extra funding to give your organisation a boost.

For apprentices aged:
16 to 24, you’ll receive £2,000
25 and over, you’ll receive £1,500

The payment is in addition to the existing £1,000 you’ll already get for taking on an apprentice who is: aged 16 to 18 years old under 25 and has an education, health and care plan or has been in the care of their local authority

Find out how to apply here

You could get the incentive payment when you hire an apprentice who’s been made redundant, as long as they’re new to your organisation.

Find out how to apply here

Kickstart Scheme

 A Kickstart Scheme has been launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up.The government will make it even simpler for employers of all sizes to benefit from joining the scheme by removing the limit requiring they create a minimum of 30 vacancies to apply directly.

From 3 February 2021, employers can apply directly to the Kickstart scheme for any number of job placements,  the threshold of 30 job placements has been removed.  You can also choose to apply through a Kickstart gateway, including those supporting sole traders.

Find out more about creating a placement here.


Tips for making a successful Kickstart Scheme application.

If you have submitted a bid and are awaiting an outcome, please note the following message from JobCentrePlus: Many thanks to those who have submitted an application to the new Kickstart scheme.
As you can imagine, we are receiving lots of enquiries since the announcement and are working hard to respond to each one. At present it is taking a little longer than the timeline of one month . Please bear with us as we progress applications and you will be notified of our decision in due course.  Once again thank you for supporting the Kick Start Scheme

Finding someone to apply for Kickstart on your behalf

You can find someone to apply on behalf of a group of employers.

Find a Kickstart Gateway from the national database to apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant on your behalf

Guidance on choosing a Kickstart Gateway

Locally there are a range of intermediaries who can work with you and on your behalf as a group of employers:

Organisation Name Named Contact Contact details (Email / Phone)
Warrington Borough Council (Warrington and Co – Local Authority)   Not applicable
West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce Not applicable
Youth Federation Chris Hindley
New Leaf Daniel Bamford
Cheshire Learning Partnership CIC (Springboard) Adele Cook
Rossendale Trust Andrea Wright
Ground Work Suzanne Murray
SCCCI Not applicable
Changing Lives Tracey Walford
Warrington and Vale Royal College Not applicable


Other support for young people

A total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job. Young people, who are amongst the worst hit by the crisis, will benefit from this. This includes:

  • A £111 million investment to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020-21 ensuring more young people have access to high quality training.
  • £17 million of funding to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements in 2020-21
  • Nearly £900 million to double the number of work coaches to 27,000;
  • Over a quarter of a million more young people to benefit from an extra £32 million investment in the National Careers Service.

We will publish more details when available.