Under the Kickstart scheme, the government will pay the wages and associated costs of new employees who are aged 16 to 24, and who come directly to you from claiming Universal Credit.
The Kickstart grant will cover the employee’s wages at the national minimum wage rate for 25 hours per week, for six months, plus the employer’s NI and any employer’s minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions on those wages. You can pay a higher wage rate, or for more hours if you wish.
The biggest barrier to using the Kickstart scheme is that each employer, or group of employers, must be prepared to take on at least 30 young people under this scheme.
The good news is that many local authorities, chambers of commerce, charities and trade bodies have set up partnership ventures to allow small local businesses to take advantage of the Kickstart scheme. Using these organisations as intermediaries, small businesses will be able to take on one or more workers.
There are some key points to consider before you opt to use Kickstart:
- The new jobs must not replace existing or planned vacancies, or cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.
- The jobs must have no prior training conditions (e.g. clean driving licence).
- Your business must demonstrate how it will help the employees to develop basic skills, set goals, and look for long-term work.
You can’t advertise the Kickstart job placements directly, as the DWP Job Centre staff will choose applicants from the pool of young Universal Credit claimants. You will have the final say on who you employ, but the scheme is specifically designed to prevent businesses from taking on “friends of the family”.