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News and Insight

Ongoing Covid Crisis Sees New Government Responses

The UK’s governments have all been clear that a second closure of the education and childcare sector would be a last resort for containing a resurgence of Covid-19. In response to the increased infection rate, restrictions have been tightened up, with the introduction of the ‘rule of six’, earlier closing times for hospitality venues, and the imposition of more stringent local measures. However, while these restrictions have increased in severity, with hospitality venues being closed in Scotland and the North of England, childcare and education providers have been permitted to continue operating. 

Even where local restrictions have been imposed, the government has refrained from requiring children to stay at home as they had to in the spring. They have also exempted informal childcare providers from restrictions on meeting people from outside their households, in order to ensure parents are still able to get to work if possible. This suggests the approach the government might take in the event of greater nationwide restrictions, although there can of course be no certainty about the future.

The government has also announced a further package of financial support for businesses who are unable to bring all of their staff back to work, offering to top up the wages of staff working part time when the furlough scheme ends in October. Under the new Job Support Scheme, employees working 33% of their hours will be eligible to have the government and their employer pay one third each of the wages for the hours not worked. This means an employee working 33% of their normal hours would receive at least 77% of their pay. This scheme will run for six months starting 1st November.

You can find out more about the new Job Support Scheme here: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-support-scheme 

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