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Business

Supporting businesses to keep their workforce during COVID-19

Jo Lappin

Cumbria’s Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) is reassuring businesses and employers that help is available if they cannot maintain their current workforce because operations have been severely affected by COVID-19.

The Government’s Job Retention Scheme enables businesses to avoid redundancy of employees that started on or before 28 February 2020, by furloughing them and applying for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month. This includes the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage.

The scheme is designed to help employers whose operations have been seriously affected by COVID-19 to retain their employees and protect the UK economy, going forward.

It is initially in place for 3 months from 1 March 2020. However, it may be extended if necessary and employers can use the scheme at any time during this period. Employers can also rehire and furlough any staff they had made redundant after 28 February 2020.

Further details of the scheme and how to access it can be found at: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/.

Jo Lappin, Chair of the Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) and Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) said: “Lots of our businesses are already aware of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme and are intending to make use of it to avoid unnecessary redundancy of their employees.

“However, we are aware that some businesses might not know about the scheme and we therefore encourage them to explore this option.

“All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020 will be eligible, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and Public Authorities.

“We know that HMRC is working urgently to establish a system to pay these grants, with the first payments expected to be made shortly and complete by the end of April.”

She added “It is essential that everything possible is done to retain our workforce and support our businesses, as they will be critical to economic recovery over the next few months.”

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