No changes to Job Retention Scheme despite charity calls
Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society, has confirmed that no changes will be made to the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, despite calls from the sector to reform it.
Under the scheme charity employees cannot volunteer for their own organisation and many organisations have claimed that this stops them from delivering their services at a time when they are most needed.
Baroness Barran made the statement during a House of Lords virtual debate to discuss how the VCSE sector would be affected by coronavirus.
She stated that this rule is in place to “prevent fraudulent claims” and to “protect individuals”, as some companies could ask employees to work full time while only paying them 80% of their wages.
The Baroness also said that the purpose of the scheme is to support those who would have otherwise have been made redundant.
Opening the event, Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Addington stated that society may be weaker and more vulnerable if charities do not receive adequate government support during the coronavirus pandemic.
The debate was limited to 50 speakers, a majority of which were only given a couple of minutes to speak. As a result, people who wished to contribute were unable to and the event was oversubscribed. This has led a number of peers and charities to say that the event was not sufficient to provide a useful debate and there have been demands for government to set aside time for another event.