COVID-19: Job Retention - Support and Incentives for Young People

James Richardson | 09 July 2020

COVID-19: Job Retention - Support and Incentives for Young People

Job Retention - Support and Incentives for Young People

Written Thursday 9th July 2020.


The Chancellor has provided details of an unexpected support package which aims to help ease the impact coronavirus has had on the UK economy. Specifically, a large element of this support package will be a new £2bn scheme to create thousands of job placements for young people in an effort to retain employment for those aged 16-24.

This demographic have been deemed as being particularly at risk from the extended impact of the coronavirus pandemic; due to their increased levels of employment within significantly affected industries (such as hospitality) and a lack of experience stopping them from transitioning to another sector.

Current plans will see a focus on retaining employment for this demographic, with the Chancellor explaining the goal is to create an “opportunity to build their skills in the workplace, and to gain experience that will improve their chances of going on to find long-term sustainable work".


What is the incentive?

The fund that has been announced will subsidise up to six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

For each "kickstarter" job, the government will cover the cost of 25 hours' work a week at the National Minimum Wage.

The National Minimum Wage is:

  • £4.55 for under 18s,
  • £6.45 for 18 to 20-year-olds, and
  • £8.20 for 21 to 24-year-olds.

Employers will be able to top up that payment if they wish to do. For example, they may be a living wage employer, or wish to provide their staff with an enhanced package where feasible.

An application process will open in August, with the first jobs expected to start the following month and run until December 2021. There will also be an option for these jobs to be extended.

The kickstarter fund will cover England, Scotland and Wales, and the government said it would provide additional funding to Northern Ireland for a similar scheme.


What we don’t know yet.

In the current uncertain climate, every little bit of support and assistance will be accepted wholeheartedly by employers across the country, but whether this will be enough to secure jobs in the long run is yet to be seen.

Additionally, we await further details being announced on how the application process will work as there are likely to be further caveats and criteria for employers to abide by in order to be entitled to this funding support.

The scheme will be available to those who are at risk of long-term unemployment and how this will be determined is yet to be outlined.


Our Advice for Employers.

The extensive support package announced in the Government’s “Summer Statement” is likely to be helpful for many employers as it can remove a significant proportion of risk in maintaining someone’s employment during a troublesome and uncertain time. However, there has already been significant critiques made in regards to how helpful this will be in the long run. We would suggest that employers look at their business from as wide a perspective as possible to ensure tough decisions are not unnecessarily delayed despite this unprecedented level of government support.


Further Support

Our HR team are on hand to support you in handling any employment issues you face at this time.

Please click on the link to find out how we can support you in Navigating Coronavirus Employment Issues.  Alternatively, please call 0141 221 2984 or email Louise McCosh, HR Director at


Other similar resources:

We have produced a range of guidance download to support you in your decision making as follows:

Full details of how we can help you around COVID-19 / Coronavirus is available on our special page ( which you can access by clicking here. We will be keeping all our information updated as things progress and schemes are clarified, so please check back regularly, or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn to keep informed of all the changes.

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