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Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) employees, Furlough and JobStart Updates

Outlined below are updates on Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) employees, changes to the Furlough scheme to be introduced, and the re-introduction of the JobStart scheme for local employers.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable employees:

Employees who have a medical condition, and are categorised as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), are advised to work-from-home and if unable to, should not attend the workplace. This restriction will be lifted effective from 12 April, permitting those who are CEV to return to the workplace. If these employees can work-from-home, they should continue to do so beyond 12 April. Employers should ensure appropriate social distancing measures are in place in the workplace for CEV including travel to work.

Further guidance on this can be found here: LINK.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS):

Employer contributions:

The CJRS, or furlough scheme, has been extended until 30 September 2021 and the level of grant available to employers under the scheme will remain at 80% until 30 June 2021.

From 1 July 2021 and again on 1 August, the level of grant will be reduced, meaning employers will be required to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages. To be eligible for the grant you must continue to pay your furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they spend on furlough.

Employees undertaking training on furlough:

The wording of CJRS with regard to employees undertaking training while on furlough has changed. It now states:

“Furloughed employees can engage in training during hours which you can record your employee as being on furlough, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation. Furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training.”

“While training is being undertaken by furloughed employees during hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least the appropriate national minimum wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours”.

For more information on training that is available, visit: LINK.

JobStart Scheme:

The Department of Communities has opened a scheme to create employment opportunities for those aged between 16 to 24, employers could avail of this funding support if they can meet the following criteria.

How the scheme works:

The JobStart Scheme provides funding to create new job opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

  • 100% of the national minimum wage or national living wage, depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months (or 9 months for a young person who meets additional criteria)
  • Associated employers national insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions
  • £1,500 funding per job opportunity for set up costs and to support the young person develop their employability skills.  A training plan must be presented for prior to receiving this payment.

Employers can stagger the start dates of the job opportunities up until the end of March 2022.

If an employer is unsure of the number of job opportunities they want to create when making their initial application, they can submit further applications up to 31 March 2022.

Job opportunity criteria:

The job opportunities created with JobStart Scheme funding must not:

  • replace existing or planned vacancies; or
  • cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours

The job opportunities must:

  • be a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months (or 9 months if applicable)
  • pay at least the NMW or NLW for the employee’s age group

For each job opportunity you must help the young person become more employable. This could include:

  • training to develop occupational related skills
  • training to develop employability skills, such as team work, organisation and communications as part of the role
  • support to update their CV and interview preparation
  • support to look for long-term work

Further information on this can be found here: LINK.