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

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months and will replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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 JSS starts to operate from 1 November and coves all Nations of the UK. For every hour not worked, the employee will be paid up to two-thirds of their usual salary.
  • The government will provide up to 61.67% of wages for hours not worked, up to £1541.75 per month (more than doubling the maximum payment of £697.92 under the previous rules). The cap is set above median earnings for employees in August at a reference salary of £3,125 per month.
  • Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Find out more

Job Support Scheme:Local Lockdowns

  • Premises which are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work – protecting jobs and enabling businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted. The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
  • Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions, a very small proportion of overall employment costs. It is estimated that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so face no employer contribution.
  • Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
  • The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January.

Find out more


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until the end of October and will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme.

For October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for time they are furloughed. You can read more information about the changes.

Unless you’re making a new claim for an employee who is a military reservist or is returning from statutory parental leave, you can only continue to claim through the scheme if:

  • you have previously furloughed the employee for 3 consecutive weeks between March 1 and 30 June
  • you submitted your claim before 31 July
  • 30 November 2020 is the last day employers can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before 30 October 2020

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

Job Retention Bonus

A Job Retention Bonus will be introduced to help firms keep furloughed workers. UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.

The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment to employers of £1,000 for every employee who they previously claimed for under the scheme, and who remains continuously employed through to 31 January 2021. Eligible employees must earn at least £520 a month on average between the 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021. Employers will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus after they have filed PAYE for January and payments will be made to employers from February 2021.

To be eligible, the employee must have received earnings in November, December and January, and must have been paid an average of at least £520 per month, and a total of at least £1,560 across the three months.
As the employer, you will be able to claim the bonus after you have filed PAYE information for January 2021, and the bonus will be paid from February 2021.

You will be able to claim it between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021.

Find out more here

HMRC have published further details on the Job Retention Bonus. Businesses will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January next year. The eligibility criteria for it are:
o employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021
o employees must earn at least £520 (the National Insurance lower earnings limit) a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January
o those who were furloughed and had a claim submitted after the 10 June (when the CJRS closed to new entrants), because they were returning from paternal leave or time serving as a military reservist will also be eligible for the bonus as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria
o employers will also be eligible for employee transfers protected under TUPE legislation, provided they have been continuously employed and meet the other eligibility criteria and the new employer has also submitted a CJRS claim for that employee

Find out more here

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 January 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.

If you will be creating 30 or more placements read this guidance.

If you will be creating 29 or less jobs placements read this guidance and the information below about finding someone to apply on your behalf.

Finding someone to apply for Kickstart on your behalf

Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can find someone to apply on behalf of a group of employers to reach the minimum number.

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

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

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.