The Government has committed an additional £100 million of funding over the next three months to keep Islanders in work as the Coronavirus disrupts our economy and way of life.
The new Government initiative will co-fund 80% of the wages of Jersey employees across a wide range of sectors, up to a maximum payment of £1,600 a month, under a revised Payroll Co-funding Scheme. The scheme is confirmed for April to June 2020. It will then be subject to review and can be continued if the situation persists.
This funding is on top of the £180 million of business support already announced in the past two weeks to support the Jersey Business Disruption Loan Scheme, the Jersey Special Situations Fund and through the deferral of GST and Social Security payments.
Ministers also set out new provisions to support workers with less than five years’ residency, who may lose their jobs and do not qualify for Income Support.
In addition, the Government is releasing funds worth more than £3.5 million from the Channel Island Lottery Fund and the Jersey Reclaim Fund, to support charities which are working to protect Islanders at risk.
The Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources, Senator Ian Gorst, said: “The Fiscal Policy Panel has recommended that the Government draws from the Strategic Reserve and switches our Budgets from running surpluses to running deficits to support jobs, businesses and the economy.
“The details of the Payroll Co-funding Scheme announced today will mean that, from 1 April 2020, the Government will fund 80% of an employee’s monthly wage, up to a cap of £2,000 per month, per employee. This means a maximum Government contribution of £1,600 per month, per employee for around half of the Island’s workforce.
“The scheme incorporates a wide range of sectors that will be significantly impacted by Coronavirus and is designed to allow employers to keep their employees in work. By doing so, we protect their livelihoods and their families and minimise the long-term economic consequences of the pandemic.”
The Minister for Economic Development, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said: “The Government has been clear from the outset of this crisis that we are united in our commitment to supporting businesses, employers and employees. We aim to provide necessary job security in the face of the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“In further developing this payroll co-funding scheme, we have also balanced our responsibilities for the prudent long-term management of our public finances, which will be impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19. We believe it is the right approach for the Island.
The Minister for Social Security, Deputy Judy Martin, said: “We need to ensure that we protect all Islanders, including those who may have lived here for less than five years and are therefore not entitled to income and housing benefits. Sadly, many of those people are trapped here, as their home countries borders are closed. The measures we have announced today will help them to put food on the table at this difficult time.
“We are also offering to help those who wish to return home to their families, with a repatriation package that will enable them to leave Jersey when they are able to do so.”
Government of Jersey News Release.