The Government’s new Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors because of new COVID-19 restrictions.
The Chancellor announced the new measures on 9th October 2020, ahead of the introduction of the three-tier lockdown system.
Under the JSS expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work. The Government’s aim is to protect jobs and enable businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted.
The Government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
Under the Scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions, a very small proportion of overall employment costs. It is estimated that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so face no employer contribution.
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 is UK-wide and the UK Government will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the Scheme operates across all four nations.
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 a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December.
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 thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys and many more.