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RPC Comments on the Government's new Job Support Scheme

Published on 24 September 2020

Commenting on the Government's new Job Support Scheme, Kelly Thomson, employment lawyer and partner at the law firm RPC said:

"The Chancellor's new Job Support Scheme has a completely different emphasis to previous furlough schemes. Support will be available only for viable jobs. And viability will be determined by whether the work exists now (albeit on a reduced hours basis). If there is no work to be done now – even if the role may be viable in the future – the scheme will not assist."

"Though they may breathe a sigh of relief that the cliff edge has been part-fenced, with just 5 weeks before the scheme launches, employers will have a number of concerns about the hurdles to access. Organisations will need to navigate a number of legal risks before deciding which roles are viable. Even with the scheme funding, employees will receive less than their full salary which means employers will need to take advice on how to implement this lawfully and effectively. Importantly, the scheme also requires employers to pay employees for in excess of the hours they are actually working which, for many businesses, may not be financially viable." 

In addition, Patrick Brodie, employment lawyer and partner at RPC added:

"COVID-19 has turned the world upside down including how businesses engage with their people and how their people deliver work. Organisations are starting to look to the future, using this period as an opportunity to redesign ways of working to better balance the interests of the business and of all their people. For those organisations that use it with sensitivity, this scheme may be helpful in supporting in this balancing exercise."