Kickstart Scheme: the changes from 3 February 2021

According to a report by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Kickstart Scheme has supported over 120,000 young people find employment, since its launch in September 2020.

The Government created the scheme to help 16-to-24-year-olds find work by providing funding to employers to produce six-month work placements on Universal Credit. Research reveals this age group is the most affected by pandemic-caused unemployment. The successful scheme will run until December 2021.

What does the funding cover?

Employers that use the scheme can benefit from funding that covers 100 per cent of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions.

The Government is also offering to pay companies £1,500 to cover the setup costs and training for young people who take advantage of the placements.

However, if the workers are required to work overtime, employers must top up their wages themselves.

What are the recent changes to the Kickstart Scheme?

When the scheme started only employers who could offer 30 or more roles could apply directly through the Kickstart Scheme. If you offered fewer than 30 placements, you had to find a “Kickstart gateway” to get onto the scheme.

On 3 February (in two days), the Government will remove the vacancy threshold for employers, allowing smaller companies to apply for Kickstart placements directly, rather than through intermediaries.

However, if employers need support to access the scheme, they can still partner with gateways organisations, such as a Local Authority, Chamber of Commerce, charity or trade body.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, stated that “Kickstart has moved up a gear and I encourage employers to join us and invest in the next generation of talent by joining our Kickstart scheme.

“Now is the time to prepare for post-lockdown placements and employers will now have a choice to apply directly or through one of our 600 fantastic Kickstart gateways, who may be locally connected or sector-specific providing that tailored support.”

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