The government has confirmed that employment businesses are eligible to apply for the business rates retail discount. Recruiters are eligible for the scheme, whether their office is now closed or not.
This latest guidance is very welcome – the REC asked for this relief for employment businesses in a four-point plan submitted to government a few weeks ago.
Neil Carberry, CEO of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), said:
“The inclusion of high-street employment agencies for the business rates retail discount is great news. We have called for the government to do this from the outset when the discounted scheme was announced. This will make a real practical difference to the cashflow of employment businesses as they navigate through this crisis. Expanding Statutory Sick Pay to cover businesses with more than 250 employees is the extra step we need to steady the jobs market and protect businesses.”
However, the REC has warned the government against its decision that employment businesses should continue paying the apprenticeship levy, applicable to businesses with payrolls above £3 million, where workers are being furloughed.
“It is disappointing that the government has decided that businesses should continue to pay the apprenticeship levy whilst furloughing workers on the Job Retention Scheme. Recruitment businesses with a large number of agency workers on payroll are already being penalised by the levy system, as they have to pay but cannot use the funds to train those workers. The requirement of apprenticeship levy payments during this time of crisis is a real and difficult extra cost for recruiters who need to furlough agency workers. It may mean furloughing staff is not financially viable for employment businesses. We urge the government to re-think this decision as a matter of urgency.”