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New Kickstart scheme - what does it mean for employers?

Nick Jones, Employment Solicitor and Head of GL’s Employment Team reports on the detail of the Government’s proposed £2bn Kickstart Scheme, which has been published today. The Scheme is designed to create job placements for 16 to 24-year olds. 

The intention is to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for those within the age bracket who are on Universal Credit and deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.

Placement funding

The funding available to employers for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for up to 25 hours a week. In addition, employer NI and minimum auto-enrollment pension contributions will be funded. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for set-up costs, training and support.

The intention is that the placements will enable the participants to develop experience and skills that will help them find work when the scheme ends.

However, funding is only available to employers after they have completed a successful application process, which must be for a minimum of 30 placements.  Smaller employers, who are unable to offer 30 places, can partner together with other employers to reach the minimum number.  This group of employers will then have to nominate a representative to submit their application on behalf of them collectively.  It is intended that local authorities, chambers of commerce and trade bodies will be able to act as representatives.

Who can apply for the Kickstart Scheme?

Any employer, irrespective of size, can apply for the Kickstart funding.  However, the placements created must be new jobs.  They cannot replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing staff to lose or reduce their employment.  Roles must be for a minimum of 25 hours a week, and for a minimum 6-month period.  Employers will need to explain how they will help the participants develop their skills, for example through providing careers advice and setting goals for them to achieve, providing them with support for CV and interview preparations, supporting basic skills such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork.

How do businesses apply for the Kickstart Scheme?

Businesses that intend to create more than 30 roles can submit their application directly online. If employers will be creating less than the required minimum of 30 placements, must firstly partner with other employers before applying.

Employers will need to supply:

  • a Companies House reference number (or Charity Commission number)
  • address and contact details
  • details of the job placements and their location
  • information to show that the jobs are new jobs, and
  • details of the support that will be provided to develop the employability skills of the young people who will be employed under the scheme.

Applications will be considered by a panel, and funding will be provided if the application meets the criteria.  It is intended that applications will be responded to within 1 month.

If the application succeeds, employers will be notified and given a grant agreement, which must be signed and returned before any placements can begin. A job description for each of the roles must be provided, together with details of how to apply.  Employers will then be contacted by young people who will be matched to the job placement and can decide who they choose to appoint to the roles.

If the application for funding does not succeed, employers will be given an explanation and provided with feedback.  They will be able to re-apply and there is no limit to the number of applications that can be made.

Once employers have appointed a young person to the role, enrolled them onto payroll and started paying through PAYE, they will receive the initial set-up costs.  The remainder of the grant will be paid in arrears throughout the period of the placement.

Further funding

Once a 6-month placement has completed, it will be possible to fill the placement with another applicant and for the funding to continue.  It is however possible that the DWP will contact employers at points throughout the placement to ensure that the promised employability skills and training is being provided.

Several large employers have given backing to the Scheme, with Tesco saying it intends to create 1,000 Kickstart placements.  Whilst the Chancellor has urged all employers to become involved, it will of course be more difficult for smaller employers to enter into the Scheme, needing to group together with other interested parties.

Advice about the Kickstart Scheme and Employment Law

If you require further advice or assistance on the Scheme, help with submitting an application, or advice on any other aspect of Employment Law, contact Nick Jones or Cecily Donoghue in our team of Bristol Employment Solicitors. Call 0117 906 9400 or email enquiries@gregglatchams.com 

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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