Smart policy measures for jobs, skills, and business growth
The digital age is approaching, and a pandemic is upon us. Anzo Francis, Vice Chair of the LSCA Business Board, and LSCA Business Champion, looks at Government measures to protect employment and drive growth.
Alongside the many immediate challenges that businesses, government and people are facing, we also need to future-proof and prepare. So, what’s happening in the world of jobs, skills, and training for the future? The government has been busy protecting jobs, and issuing policies for skills and training, some of which are set out below.
Businesses taking on new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021, will be rewarded with £2,000 for 16 to 24-year-olds, and £1,500 for over 24. The apprentice must not have been employed by the employer within the six months prior to the apprenticeship contract start date.
Payments will be made to employers in two equal instalments, on condition that the apprentice is still in learning on day 90 and day 365. For an apprentice starting 1 August, the initial 50% instalment can be claimed end-October.
With the tech revolution, there is an increasing need for workers to retrain for the jobs of the future. Globalisation and the transformation of economies and markets based on remote working, also means that the job market will become increasingly more competitive. People with science, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) skills are in short supply.
The scheme announced in September 2020 enables adults without an A-Level or equivalent qualification to attend a free college course. Re-training will enable adults to offer employers a stronger skill set, adding greater economic value to employers. The scheme starts in April 2021.
Job support scheme
In place of the CJRS, the government has announced a new job support scheme. The scheme supports part-time working for up to six months from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021. Workers must work at least one third of their normal hours, to be eligible. The government and employer pay one third each of the lost hours. All employed staff are eligible.
For employees working 33% normal hours, the government pays 22% salary, capped at £697.72 a month.The employer pays 55% salary. Therefore, the employee receives 77% normal pay (subject to cap). Employees working 50% normal hours would receive 84% of normal pay (subject to cap).
Job retention bonus
The job retention bonus incentivises employers to keep their staff employed after the CJRS ends on 31 October. Employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee previously furloughed under the CJRS. Eligible staff must remain continuously employed to end-January and earn at least £520 monthly on average from November to January.
It will be interesting to see the take-up of these measures in due course.