Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension to the Jobs Support Scheme, which is due to begin on 1 November 2020.
Last month, the Government announced how the Jobs Support Scheme would contribute 1/3rd of the shortfall of wages (capped at £697.72pm) for employees who were working reduced hours, but working at least 33% of their normal (pre-furlough) hours. The employer would contribute a further 1/3rd of the shortfall, and the employee would forego the final third.
The extension applies to any businesses required to close their premises due to local or national coronavirus restrictions. In that situation, the Government will pay two thirds of their employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and will only be asked to cover NICS and pension contributions.
Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via an HMRC claims service that will be available from early December. Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.
The scheme is UK wide and the UK Government have confirmed that they will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates effectively across all four nations.
During his announcement, Rishi Sunak said:
“Throughout the crisis the driving force of our economic policy has not changed.”
“I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary to protect jobs and livelihoods as the situation evolves.”
“The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time.”
In addition to expansion of the JSS, the Government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to £1,500 every three weeks which was available previously. This could benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys and many more.
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from a £1.3 billion increase to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21 – allowing them to continue their response to Covid-19 including through similar measures if they wish.
These measures will sit alongside the original JSS – which is designed to support businesses that are facing low demand over the winter months – and the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus (JRB) which encourages employers to keep staff on payroll.
Job Retention Bonus (JRB)
You’ll be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee you furloughed and claimed for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and kept continuously employed until at least 31 January 2021. You do not have to pay this money to your employee.
To be eligible, employees must earn at least £1,560 between 6 November 2020 and 5 February 2021 and have received earnings in the November, December and January tax months. Employees must also not be serving a contractual or statutory notice period for you on 31 January 2021.
You will be able to claim the bonus from 15 February until 31 March, once you have submitted PAYE information for the period up to 5 February 2021. We’ll let you know how you can make a claim when further guidance is published by the end of January.
You can still claim the Job Retention Bonus if you make a claim for the same employees through the Job Support Scheme, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for both.