From left: Carolyn Fairbairn of the CBI, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Frances O'Grady of the TUC [Credit: PA Media]

On 24 September, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new plan aimed at reducing further unemployment this winter following the end of the furlough scheme in October.

The new plan comes amid mounting pressure from various trade bodies to extend or replace the furlough scheme which has proved a lifeline for many businesses and helped prevent a flood of unemployment.

Opening on 1 November 2020 and running for six months until April 2021, the new Jobs Support Scheme will look to encourage employers to bring employees back to work by contributing directly to the wages of those working fewer hours due to lower demand.

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Under the Jobs Support Scheme, companies will continue to pay employees for time worked, however, the financial burden of hours not worked will be split three ways between the government (through wage support), the employer and the employee (through a wage reduction).

Employers will pay the wages of staff for the hours they work and for the hours not worked, the government and the employer will pay one third each of the remaining salary.

Welcoming the new Jobs Support Scheme, Leonard Cheshire Director of Policy Gemma Hope said it will come as a huge relief for a lot of people, but that the UK Government will need to do more work in order to stave off a “major jobs crisis.”

She said: “Today’s announcement of the Jobs Support Scheme will be a huge relief for many. But the government needs to go much further to stave off a major jobs crisis.

“Creating the new Jobs Support Scheme is an essential step, especially for disabled people and shielders who stand to lose most from the economic downturn associated with the pandemic.

“We recommended similar support in our ‘Plan For Jobs’, released yesterday, and we welcome this being put into action.

“However, we need the government to go a step further and devise an in-depth plan for jobs for disabled people so they can stay in sustainable, meaningful work – and receive the right financial support where necessary. These measures are essential to a recovery that includes disabled people.”

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