Over a month ago, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced his economic support schemes and made a direct promise to every worker that we would ‘not be left behind’. Since then, we have observed the Governments response to concern’s regarding a multitude of flaws in the CJRS, including those affecting TUPEd workers, casual workers, fixed-term contracts and, of course, new starters. Over the past weeks we have watched on as Rishi Sunak proceeded to announce measures to remedy such issues and extend the scheme to support workers in each instance, except one.
The pleas of new start Employees are still being silenced and dismissed by The Chancellor. There are estimates that over a million workers with legitimate Employment Contracts being denied even the chance of access to this scheme, due to (as stated by Steve Barclay MP yesterday, 29/4) “trade-offs’ that have been made. Hundreds of thousands are being ‘traded for’ what seems to be, ease and speed of delivery and to minimize the required admin during the application process. Employees who are not so obviously simple to identify (by previous RTI PAYE submission), are being cast aside as collateral damage. However, the example of claims for support relating to TUPEd workers shows how it is very much possible to provide enough information to satisfy HMRC, without a previous payroll reference. To provide financial support for ‘new start’ Employees transferred under TUPE whilst denying other examples of a new, though equally legitimate Employment Contracts is not acceptable.
Through our open letter, we are now calling on Rishi to stand by his promise so that workers who have a legitimate, contractual commitment with their Employer (made prior to relative Government announcements), are not forced OUT of Employment and into undeserved poverty or hardship. The solution presents itself; the Government must amend an employee’s eligibility for the Job Retention Scheme to include new starters that were not on payroll with their new company on the 28th February, nor who had an RTI submitted by 19 March. The government must implement a system whereby between you and your new employer, you can prove that a contract has begun or was arranged to commence, prior to the announcement of this lockdown. The particulars of that contract must then be eligible for the same support as all other Employees of the Company. Such cases can be proven by using a multitude of evidence, dated prior to any announcement of the Governments reactions to this pandemic, and acted upon in an undeniable innocence. Some of the many suggested can be seen below:
Each of these can be proven as an action (time/date stamped) at a time prior to Government instruction of ‘lock down’ and of the subsequent proposed financial support measures. The Chancellor has proven that there is still time and capacity to make much needed amendments to support those who need it. Our concern for the future has now moved on to become a devastating reality. The financial and emotional impact of this issue is hitting the households of over a million families, right now, as we near a second Month end with zero income.
These individuals are being forced into unemployment and in turn, upon the welfare system, which is proven as wholly inadequate and already under unprecedented strain. The members of New Starter Justice are skilled, experienced and committed workers who, in the majority of cases, have found themselves unemployed and unsupported for the first time in their working lives.