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Coronavirus Kent: Government furlough scheme risks exluding thousands of workers

Thousands of people across the UK are at risk of 'falling through the cracks' in the government's furloughing process, according to one Kent resident.

The measures- announced in an unprecedented package by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Friday March 20- specify that employees must have started work by February 28 to qualify to have 80% of their wages paid by the government.

KMTV take a look at what furloughing means for Kent employees

The result is that anyone who started work since then will not qualify for furloughing at their current job.

Hythe resident Rosa Webber is one of those affected, and says that her current boss is unable to help her.

She said: "I worked in the same company for five years until the business leased out.

"I worked for the new employer for a month before returning to my old one after it didn't work out, but because that month fell over the 28th of February, I'm entitled to nothing.

"My boss has been so lovely about it and has gone above and beyond trying to help me in these scary and uncertain times, and I really can't thank her enough.

Hythe resident Rosa Webber is one of thousands affected
Hythe resident Rosa Webber is one of thousands affected

"Unfortunately, it is completely out of her control that she cannot apply for me to be furloughed."

People in similar to Ms Webber are being advised to return to their previous employers and request that they furlough them.

However, the head chef, 22, says that this will not work for a lot of people.

She explained: "It may sound like an obvious option to some people, but there is always a reason for why someone would choose to leave their job.

"Quite often that reason would make it so that they can't go back and ask for something like this, let alone expect it to be granted.

"It just feels like a kick while we are already down"

"Whilst I understand that the shut off point was introduced to prevent fraudulent claims, I would argue that it would be on thousands of peoples records that we have been hard-working citizens that have paid national insurance and taxes our whole working lives, and all the government would have to do is look at our tax records to prove it.

"It just feels like a kick while we are already down to refuse us the same aid as everyone else, just because we started a new job in March, often a job that we accepted to move forward and up in our careers, to better ourselves. "

Ms Webber, who has recently bought a house in the area and so has had to contend with getting a mortgage holiday until the situation is resolved, has joined a group of almost five and a half thousand people in similar situations.

Together, they are campaigning to be recognised and included in the government's plans.

A petition on change.org asking the chancellor to rectify the situation is currently standing at over 56,000 signatures.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak

If you would like to sign the petition, click here.

Are you one of those affected by this loophole? We'd love to hear from you.

Message ajee@thekmgroup.co.uk

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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