COVID-19: Job Retention Scheme is live and more online meetings announced

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for applications. Employers can now claim online for a grant for 80% of their furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee, per month, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This scheme will be open until the end of June 2020.

Before employers claim, they need to:

  • Read all the available guidance on GOV.UK before applying;
  • Gather all the information and the precise calculations they need before starting their application. If they have a payroll provider, they will be able to help them with this;
  • Employees can find out more in the calculation guidance where they can access a claim calculator. This will allow them to check their claim for most employees who are paid the same amount each pay period;
  • Access the simple, step-by-step guide on GOV.UK for additional help.

To receive payment by 30 April, employers will need to complete an application by 22 April.
The government expect to be very busy so are asking that employers only call if they can’t find what they need on GOV.UK or through their webchat service – this will leave lines open for those who need help most.

Video Relay Service (VRS)
The availability of Video Relay Service (VRS) into all DWP services is being extended. VRS enables British Sign Language (BSL) users to contact DWP via a BSL interpreter. The customer uses a video link accessed through their own computer, smartphone or tablet. The interpreter will then speak to a DWP agent relaying the conversation by phone. There is no need for anyone to be in the same location and the customer does not have to book the service in advance.

This means that the customer and DWP agent can have a telephone conversation in real time.

VRS is already available for BSL users who claim DWP disability benefits as well as Access to Work.

VRS will be exteded to customers claiming Universal Credit first, then in the coming months further extend VRS into all DWP services. See the press release here. 

The Employabiity Sector Resilience Survey
If you haven’t already done so, please set aside some time to complete the sector resilience survey – we have extended the deadline until Friday 24 April 2020, 12pm to allow more responses to build our solution based response. Please share the survey with your own supply chains and networks delivering employment support services. If you have any questions or experience any issues with this survey please email us at

GM reveals plans to secure skills and employment training during COVID-19 crisis – read more

ERSA Online for members
Save the dates below and register via the links. Please follow ERSA on Eventbrite to be the first to hear when registrations go live! Please note, if you have an overdue invoice and have not been in touch to discuss or your membership has lapsed you will not be invited to join the online meeting. 

28 April, 11am ERSA Online: Employer Engagement, Register in advance here 

7 May, 10.30am ERSA Online: Youth Employment, Register in advance here 

11 May, 11am ERSA Online: Employment Support GM, Register in advance here 

13 May, 11am ERSA Online: Disability and Health, Register in advance here

18 May, 2pm ERSA Online: Employment Support London, Register in advance here

20 May, 11am ERSA Online: Supply Chain, Register in advance here 

21 May, 11am ERSA Online: Communications and political Insights, Register in advance here

10 June, 11am ERSA Online: Older Workers, Register in advance here

ERSA Online is free to fully paid up ERSA members, £50 plus booking fee and VAT for everyone else. A link to join each online meeting will be sent to those registered in advance once membership has been verified, or payment received. Terms apply, please check before registering. 

The ERSA Employability Awards 2020 is open for entries until 30 April at 5pm. Full details and online entry can be found at


Stay in touch, stay safe