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Revealed: The laid off workers unable to receive coronavirus wage support

Many laid off workers are facing financial ruin after being excluded from the government’s coronavirus pay protection scheme, Scram News can reveal.

Workers employed by companies from March 2020, and since furloughed due to coronavirus, will receive no government support because the flagship Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – which was unveiled last week to financially support workers – only covers employees who joined a company’s payroll before March, 2020.

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While the scheme has been widely praised for helping companies to pay their workers during this crisis, a group of people is still at risk of slipping through the net.

Tolu Adams, 22, joined a PR agency in Buckinghamshire on 2nd March. Weeks later, due to the coronavirus crisis, she was told the company was temporarily closing and that all employees would be furloughed.

But while other employees will see up to 80% of their wages covered by the government, as Adams joined the company before March she is not eligible for any support.

She told Scram News:

“Since this has happened to me I have not stopped crying. I have just graduated and stepped on the career ladder. It is already so hard for new graduates to get jobs so for this to happen to me is heart breaking.

“I have care repayments, car insurance, credit cards and overdrafts to pay off, and I do not know how I can do this now.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Curson, 24, a system developer employed in the letting industry has also been furloughed, but without any wage support.

He said: “I can’t help but feel excluded. It seems the government just haven’t given a second thought about people who are in my situation.”

Adams and Ryan are not alone in their struggles. A hashtag, “#newstarterfurlough” has sprung up on Twitter for people to document their experiences.

Meanwhile, a Facebook group for workers to discuss their stories and share advice now has over 400 members and a petition for the government to review the situation has over 2,000 signatures.

Adams added: “Not being able to go out and exercise has impacted my mental health drastically and now losing my job is the next step for a down spiral that I do not want”.

What’s left for people like Adams and Curson? A spokesperson for HMRC told Scram News that employees in this situation were welcome to apply for Universal Credit.

But this far from perfect system is already crumbling under the weight of half a million new applicants, while claimants still face a five week wait to receive their first payment.

Otherwise, Adams and Curson will face a desperate search for new employment at a time when many businesses are facing uncertainty.

Posting on Twitter, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said he had raised this issue with the government and has asked Rishi Sunak to amend the scheme.

The Treasury has been approached for comment.

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