Since March this year, the government has helped to pay the wages of people in 9.6 million jobs across the UK through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and has supported the livelihoods of 2.6 million self-employed workers. Billions of pounds in loans, tax deferrals, Business Rate reliefs, and general and sector-specific grants have been made available.
With the close of the CJRS at the end of October, originally there were fairly limited options for employers. Now however, with the introduction of the Job Support Scheme, further help has become available.
From 1 November 2020, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will support viable UK employers facing lower demand as a result of the pandemic. The objective is to keep employees attached to the workforce. To qualify, employees will need to work at least a third of their usual hours. But for each hour not worked, the employer and the government will each pay a third of the employee’s usual pay. The government contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month.
Under the scheme, employees will receive a minimum of 77 per cent of their regular pay. The employer will be reimbursed in arrears for the government contribution. To qualify, the employee cannot be on a redundancy notice.
The scheme will run for six months from 1 November 2020. It is open to all employers who have a UK PAYE scheme and UK bank account. All SMEs will be automatically eligible, whilst large businesses will have to prove that their business has been adversely affected by the pandemic. The government expects that large employers making use of the scheme will not be making capital distributions, such as dividends.
Protecting businesses affected by restrictions and closures
It was announced on 9 October 2020 that the JSS would be expanded to protect jobs and support those businesses forced to close as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
Under the expansion, businesses that are legally required to close over winter due to local or national restrictions will be given grants to pay the wages of staff members who cannot work. The aim is protect jobs, and allow businesses to reopen straight away once the restrictions are lifted. Two thirds of each staff member’s salary will be covered, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. Employers won’t need to contribute towards wages, but will have to cover National Insurance and pension contributions, although it is estimated that half of claims will not incur such contributions.
Eligibility will only run during times of restrictions, and staff must be off work for at least seven days. As per the rest of the JSS, payments will be made in arrears from early December.
Local Restrictions Support Grant Scheme
Alongside the expansion of the JSS, the government is expanding the generosity of the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme so that businesses in England can receive up to £3,000 per month, with eligibility for payment happening sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three.
Need help making Job Support Scheme claims?
Over the past few months, here at Office Assistants we have helped businesses stay on their feet by claiming thousands of pounds in CJRS payments. Now, with the newly introduced Job Support Scheme, we are ready to provide assistance to those businesses that are eligible and wish to make a claim.
Need help? We are here for you, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.