Government 'must amend' JRS to allow tronc payments says Treasury Select Committee

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Government 'must amend' JRS to allow tronc payments says Treasury Select Committee report

Related tags: Job Retention Scheme, Hospitality, Government, Treasury, Select committee, Report

The Treasury Select Committee says the Government 'must amend' the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) to allow tronc payments to be included.

In a report detailing the gaps found in the Government's various Coronavirus support schemes, the committee highlights the exclusion of tronc as a notable omission, and recommends its inclusion as a way to provide additional support to households. 

Under the JRS, employers are meant to be able to claim 80% of an employee’s monthly wages up to £2,500.

The subject of whether tronc payments could be included in an employer’s calculations was a notable grey area in the build-up to the JRS portal going live back in April.

However, updated Government guidance did eventually confirm that it could not be claimed​; a move that was described at the time as “disastrous” for furloughed hospitality employees.

The Treasury Select Committee's report, which includes evidence provided by trade body UKHospitality, also reveals that up to 500,000 people within the hospitality sector alone were potentially still missing out on JRS payments as their start date meant they were ineligible for support.

Under the current JRS, employers can only claim for a furloughed employee's wage if they submitted a report under the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system for said worker on or before 19 March 2020; meaning many new starters within the industry have been locked out of the scheme. 

The committee urges the Government to 'find a way to extend eligibility criteria to all new starters, suggesting either a further extension of the scheme cut-off date to 31 March; or widening access by accepting alternative forms of evidence that can demonstrate an individual’s employment, such as a signed contract of employment. 

Meanwhile, the report also shows that the self-employed income support scheme is not open to an estimated 225,000 people whose trading profits exceed a £50,000 cap; as well as hundreds of thousands of others who became self-employed too recently to have tax records, or are directors of limited companies who pay themselves largely through dividends.

“The Chancellor has said that he will do whatever it takes to support people and businesses from the economic impact of the pandemic," says Mel Stride MP, chair of the Treasury Committee.

“Overall, he has acted at impressive scale and pace. However, the Committee has identified well over a million people who – through no fault of their own – have lost livelihoods while being locked down and locked out of the main support programmes.

“If it is to be fair and completely fulfil its promise of doing whatever it takes, the Government should urgently enact our recommendations to help those who have fallen through the gaps.”

To read the full report, click here​.

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