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This week’s Directors Take from Laura McFadyen, Chamber board director and partner at Stephens Scown Solicitors:
Moving from Furlough to the Job Support Scheme
Rishi Sunak announced big changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) - set to replace furlough in November. He told the Commons that even businesses not forced to shut were facing "profound economic uncertainty". Under the revised scheme, employers will pay less and staff can work fewer hours before they qualify. At the same time, the taxpayer subsidy has been doubled.
Instead of a minimum requirement of paying 55% of wages for a third of hours, as announced last month at the launch of the Winter Economic Plan, employers will have to pay for a minimum of 20% of usual hours worked, and 5% of hours not worked.
The government will now fund 62% of the wages for hours not worked. This more than doubles the maximum payment to £1,541.75 a month. In the most generous case, the taxpayer will now go from funding 22% of wages to just under half. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54644241
There has been no change to the eligibility requirement for the short-time working JSS, so that all small and medium sized businesses are eligible. Larger businesses are only eligible if their turnover has fallen during the pandemic. No changes have been made to the JSS for businesses legally required to close their premises.
Laura said: "We have known for some time that the Coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) will come to an end on 31 October 2020 and this was always going to be a very crucial time for businesses with decisions to make regarding their employees. These new revisions to the JSS announced by the Chancellor last week should however now be of benefit to a wider range of businesses that have been adversely affected due to Government Coronavirus restrictions. The result of a more generous scheme has the hope that it will protect further jobs.
Project to support employment in Exeter launches
A new project aiming to keep Exeter’s employee economy moving and to minimise unemployment launched last week. Exeter Works, a joint collaboration between Exeter Chamber of Commerce and Exeter City Council, has launched with a website signposting useful resources for individuals looking for work, developing their skills or facing redundancy.
The project launched as part of the Chamber’s online event [Re]Focus which brought together one hundred members of the business community, sharing information about the website as well as people’s experiences of recruiting, redundancy, securing a job, winning an apprenticeship and starting a business during the pandemic.
Jo Caine, chair of the Exeter Skills Advisory Group and a board director of Exeter Chamber said: “We know that the next few months are going to be difficult for many people. We want to help by bringing together useful information and resources around employment available locally into one place. Though this project has been launched as a response to the pandemic, our aim is to make it the go-to place for businesses and individuals for all things employment related in Greater Exeter.”
Exeter Chiefs - the double cup champions
Just seven days after being crowned Kings of Europe, Exeter Chiefs followed it up by claiming their second Gallagher Premiership title with victory over Wasps.
A huge congratulations from the Chamber goes to the whole team and everyone involved for such an amazing achievement!
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