Your Duties as an Employer under the Kickstart Scheme

from Silk Helix
Photograph of Jenefer Livings, Founder of Silk Helix Ltd
25 January 2021
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What is the Kickstart Scheme?

The Kickstart scheme is a government grant provided to employers who provide a job placement through the scheme. Job placements are open to 16 to 24 year olds currently on Universal Credit to reduce the risk of long term unemployment.

Under the scheme the government will pay the employer the full national minimum wage for 25 hours per week for up to 6 months per placement. In addition Employers National Insurance contributions and Auto-enrolment pension contributions will be paid. A payment of £1,500 will also be made to cover the costs of things like IT Equipment, software licences, uniforms, personal protective equipment or training.

Whilst individual organisations must have 30 vacancies to be able to use the scheme, small businesses can access the scheme using a gateway provider.

What are the duties of the employer?

Taking someone on under the scheme is the same as any other employment from the point of view of employment law. All normal responsibilities as an employer apply. If this is the first time you have employed anyone, you may find our article on employing for the first time useful.

In particular you are responsible for providing work and paying the individual at least national minimum wage appropriate to their age.

FromUnder 1818-2021-2223-24
April 2020£4.55£6.45£8.20£8.72
April 2021£4.62£6.56£8.36£8.91

In addition to your normal employment responsibilities, you are responsible for providing employability support. This can be provided internally or you can use an external supplier to provide this support. Employability support includes things like mentoring, work search support, skill development and careers advice.

How do I recruit someone into a Kickstart Job Placement?

As all job placements must go to those on Universal Credit, the Department of Work and Pensions will work to match individuals to vacancies through Job Coaches in local Job Centres.

In order to ensure you get the right candidates for the roles it is crucial that you get the job description and person specification right. Consider what this person will be doing, bearing in mind they will be young and are likely to need training. The job description should be clear to someone who isn’t familiar with your industry (as Job Coaches won’t be experts in every industry) exactly what is expected of someone in the role.

In addition to being clear about what is expected from the role, a person specification should clearly show the skills and knowledge required of the individual. Consider that these job placements are there to support young people to gain skills and enter the workforce. The wont have lots of years of experience and will be looking to gain skills from the placement.

What Contract is needed for someone on the Kickstart scheme?

Someone on the kickstart scheme is entitled to receive a statement of particulars by the end of their first day, in the same way as all workers and employees are. The contact should clearly show it is for a fixed term lasting 6 months.

The fixed term contract should show things like holiday pro-rata to the proportion of the year they are working. All other terms and conditions (including the full year equivalent holiday) should be equal to those on permanent contracts in similar roles.

Can I dismiss someone on the kickstart scheme?

The contract should clearly show that the contract can be terminated by either party giving notice during the 6 month period. This allows the employer to dismiss with notice should business circumstances change or the individual not work out in the way expected.

Unless there is a contractual disciplinary or redundancy procedure you may be able to dismiss without following a full procedure as the individual will have less than 2 years service. However, caution should be taken to ensure the reason for dismissal is not discriminatory or an otherwise automatically unfair reason to dismiss.

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While this guide covers the basics, every situation has its own complexities so you should always seek professional advice. We can help, so call us on 01245 910 500.
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Article last updated: 25 January 2021

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