The Kickstart scheme will pay 100% of the employment costs (including employer’s NI and pension contributions) of new employees for up to 25 hours per week, for six months. That sounds too good to be true, so what’s the catch?
The scheme has been designed to discourage claims from small businesses who may not be providing a real job to a young person who needs it (eg taking on their niece in order to claim the grant).
The basic conditions of the Kickstart scheme are:
- The job applicants must be aged 16 to 24, be claiming Universal Credit and be at risk of “long-term employment”.
- The DWP chooses the applicants for the jobs and sends them to the employer.
- The job placement must be for at least six months, and for a minimum of 25 hours per week.
- The new job must not replace existing or planned vacancies, or cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.
- The employer must show how it will help the young employees develop basic skills, set goals, and look for long-term work.
- The grant funding is paid in arears after the individuals’ pay has been reported through RTI.
- The grant funding is taxable for the employer, but will be fully off-set by the employment costs.
- The employer’s application must be cover at least 30 job placements.
This last condition appears to rule out small employers with fewer than around 50 employees. However, if the employer joins a representative group of employers it can be part of a kickstart application for at least 30 job placements on behalf of that group.
The group of employers could be made up of businesses in one location, such as in the same shopping centre or business park. Alternatively, a trade body may organise a group application for its members. The Government also suggests that group applications could be submitted by local authorities or registered charities.