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Job Schemes and Relaxed Childcare Rules for Workers Hit by Covid

If we’ve lost our job due to the pandemic and now claim job-related benefits, a range of schemes have been introduced to help us.

A range of schemes have been introduced by DWP in a bid to help job seekers forced out of work by Covid. Parents on reduced hours also stand to benefit from relaxed rules on free childcare.

The furlough scheme has been extended across the UK, until the end of March 2021. If we are on this scheme we will get 80 per cent of our salary, up to £2,500 a month. We don’t need to have been furloughed before to get onto the scheme this time round.  

The JETS scheme (Job Entry Targeted Support) is aimed at the over-25s. It will provide us with training in areas like construction and care work. We will also receive CV and interview coaching. Work placements will be funded by the scheme.

JETS is for jobseekers who have been unemployed for three months, and are on benefits such as Universal Credit (UC), All Work Related Requirements (AWRR) and New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). 

JETS is being rolled out across England and Wales. It will launch in Scotland early next year (2021). See the full list of launch dates here. To get on to the scheme we need to talk to our local Jobcentre. They will assign us a ‘Work Coach’ who will guide us through the process. 

There’s some good news if we’re self-employed. The self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) has been extended. The taxable grant will cover 80 per cent of profits from November to January 2021. It will be a lump sum of up to £7,500. Applications open from 30 November. The eligibility criteria is pretty strict – to find out if we qualify visit MoneySavingExpert which gives a helpful breakdown. (There will be a fourth grant for February – April, but details have not been released yet). Meanwhile if we’re self-employed and claim Universal Credit, click here for the latest update.

For parents who are returning to work on these schemes, help with childcare help will continue. The Department for Education (DfE) has said we will still be able to get 30 hours free or tax free childcare, even if our income falls below the threshold. To find out if you are eligible and how to apply, visit the government website

Finally, if we are aged between 16-24 and on Universal Credit, there is a separate training scheme with our name on it. Kickstart provides 6-month, fully-paid work placements. Employers on the scheme get £1,500 per work placement. This pays for ongoing support and career advice to help individuals find long-term work. Kickstart is available in England, Scotland and Wales. 

Sam Windett, director of policy at youth employment group, Impetus, said: “This isn’t about numbers, it’s about moving young people into sustainable jobs after the scheme has finished.”

Quids in! says: “There’s a lot of changes taking place in employment right now. If we’re coming off the furlough scheme our employer should be able to talk to us about next steps. If we’re trying to get a job, DWP and the Jobcentre are good places to get more information.”

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