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Job Support Scheme: What is changing after furlough?

By Eleanor Lawrie
BBC News

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Workers at firms told to shut because of coronavirus rules over the winter will receive at least 67% of their pay from the government.

This will be part of the Job Support Scheme, which replaces furlough at the start of November.

Until then, workers are in line for up to 80% of their pay - 20% from their employer and 60% from the government - if their premises must close, or if there isn't enough for them to do.

Will I be paid under the Job Support Scheme?

From 1 November, the extended Job Support Scheme will pay people who can't go to work because their business is closed under ''very high'' Tier Three coronavirus restrictions.

The government will pay 67% of wages - up to a maximum of £2,100 a month - for each employee. Staff must be off work for a minimum of seven days to be eligible, and their employer doesn't have to pay towards their salary.

From Wednesday 14 October, the Liverpool City Region will be the first area in England to go into a ''very high'' coronavirus lockdown.

This means pubs, bars, betting shops, leisure centres, gyms, casinos and adult gaming centres must close.

For now, these businesses can apply for furlough payments - but only on behalf of individual employees for whom they have previously claimed.

However, payments will not be available to firms that lose work as a result of places like these closing - for example, a pub's suppliers.

The Job Support Scheme will also help firms which are allowed to open and where employees can return part-time.

Staff will have to be paid to work at least a third of their hours to qualify for support.

For the hours not worked, the government and employer will each pay one-third of the remaining wages. This means the employee would get at least 77% of their pay, subject to the cap.

For part-time workers, the Job Support Scheme payment will be based on an employee's normal salary, with the government contribution capped at £697.92 per month.

So, for example, if someone earning £2,000 a month was working half their hours, they'd get £1,000 normal pay. They would then get £333 extra from their employer and £333 from the government.

The scheme will run for six months from 1 November, and then be reviewed.

What does the scheme mean for firms?

Employers which have to close because of coronavirus restrictions must still pay workers' national insurance and pension contributions.

They will receive a grant of up to £3,000 a month, which is more generous than the current arrangements which offer shuttered firms £1,500 every three weeks.

At the height of the furlough scheme, the government paid 80% of workers' wages. But under the new scheme it will pay a maximum of 66% if they are closed, and 22% if they can open.

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Employees must have been on the firm's payroll since at least 23 September. They can be moved on and off the scheme, or work different hours, but each working arrangement must cover at least seven days.

Workers cannot be made redundant or put on notice while a Jobs Support Scheme grant is being claimed on their behalf.

As with the furlough scheme, employers will be reimbursed by the government after the work has been done.

What other jobs help is on offer?

The UK government will also give firms:

  • £1,000 for every furloughed employee kept on until at least the end of January
  • £1,500 for every out-of-work 16-24 year-old given a ''high quality'' six-month work placement
  • £2,000 for every under-25 apprentice taken on until the end of January, or £1,500 for over-25s

Can I be made redundant while on furlough?

Yes. Employees can be made redundant at any point during the scheme.

If a worker loses their job and is entitled to redundancy pay, this should be calculated based on their pre-furlough wages, and firms can't use the money from furlough to subsidise redundancy packages.

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image captionUnder the new extended scheme nightclub staff could be eligible for help

What is furlough and why was it introduced?

The furlough scheme was designed to help people who couldn't do their jobs and prevent mass redundancies.

Under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, to give furlough its official title, workers placed on leave have been able to receive 80% of their pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Since July, furloughed employees have been able to go back to work part-time, with the furlough scheme covering the other days not worked.

Employers now have to pay 20% of the wages of furloughed workers, plus their National Insurance and pension contributions.

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image captionThe hospitality industry has one of the highest rates of furlough

If you work for more than one firm, you can receive furlough from any of them, up to £2,500 a month per employer.

You can continue working for any that still need you or start working for a new employer, provided you are not breaching any existing contracts.

How popular has the scheme been?

The take-up has been significant, with 9.6 million workers furloughed by 1.2 million employers since March.

These employers had made £39.3bn of furlough claims by 20 September and the scheme will cost the government an estimated £60bn in total.

The scheme covers full-time, part-time, flexible, zero-hour and agency workers if they were on their employer's PAYE payroll on 19 March 2020.

Workers must be furloughed for at least three weeks, and can be furloughed more than once.

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  • Covid-19: UK workers to get 67% of pay if firms told to shut