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  • Emma Walsh

Rishi Sunak unveils emergency jobs scheme

The government and firms will continue to top up wages of workers who have not been able to return to the workplace full time due to the coronavirus.

The Job Support Scheme, which will replace the furlough scheme, will see workers get three quarters of their normal salaries for six months.

It aims to stop mass job cuts after the government introduced new measures to tackle a rise in coronavirus cases.

  • Under the scheme, the government will subsidise the pay of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to lower demand

  • Workers must do at least a third of their normal hours

  • Employers will pay staff for the hours they work

  • The government and the employer will pay a third each for the hours they can't work

  • It means someone working a third of their hours would receive 77% of their pay

  • The grant will be capped at £697.92 per month

  • All small and medium sized businesses will be eligible for the scheme

  • Larger business will be eligible if their turnover has fallen during the crisis

  • It will be open to employers across the UK even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme

  • The scheme will run for six months starting in November and replaces the "furlough" scheme

  • It means the government will pay a maximum of 22% of someone's wages, down from 80% at the start of the furlough policy

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said it was part of a wider "winter economy plan".

Nearly three million workers - or 12% of the UK's workforce - are currently on partial or full furlough leave, according to official figures. The current furlough scheme ends on 31 October.

Mr Sunak said the new scheme would "support only viable jobs" as opposed to jobs that only exist because the government is continuing to subsidise the wages.

The government's contribution to workers' pay will fall sharply compared with the furlough scheme. Under furlough, it initially paid 80% of a monthly wage up to £2,500 - under the new scheme this will drop to 22%.

The new scheme begins on 1 November and will cost the government an estimated £300m a month. Companies who use it can also still claim the Job Retention Bonus, where the government pays £1,000 for every furloughed employee who comes back to work until at least the end of January.

Mr Sunak said a similar scheme for the self-employed would be available.

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