COVID-19: Further help for employers and the self-employed announced

Lubbock Fine, 23 October 2020

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The Government announced this week that it will increase the amounts and reach of its winter support schemes, to help businesses impacted by the new tiered lockdown system.

In his announcement on 22 October 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he would increase support through the existing Job Support Scheme (JSS) and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), as well as introducing new grants for businesses in the sectors most heavily affected.

Job Support Scheme (JSS) increased

Businesses not required to close but are experiencing difficulties will be given extra help to keep staff on. The Government will increase contributions to wage costs under the JSS, while the contribution businesses are required to make will be reduced.

When originally announced, the JSS would have seen employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked and required employees to be working 33% of their normal hours. The Scheme is due to start on 1 November 2020.

Today’s announcement reduces the employer contribution for those unworked hours to 5%, and reduces the minimum worked hours requirement to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be now eligible. This means that if someone were being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer £44.

Self-Employment Support Scheme (SEISS) grant doubled

Today’s announcement increases the amount of profits covered by the two forthcoming SEISS grants from 20 per cent to 40 per cent, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.

Additional business grants

The Chancellor also announced cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector, who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas.

These grants will be available retrospectively for areas who have already been subject to restrictions and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for Local Authorities moving into Tier 3.

These grants could benefit around 150,000 businesses in England, including hotels, restaurants, B&Bs and many more who are not legally required to close but have been adversely affected by local restrictions.

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