The Chancellor has announced changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) which are of particular relevance to businesses in the Merseyside region including:
- Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions
- Government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months
- Cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns also increased to up to £3,000 per month
Under the 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 – protecting jobs and enabling 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. 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 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. 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 will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates effectively across all four nations.
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.
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.
- More information on the expanded JSS scheme can be found on this factsheet.
- Further guidance on the scheme will be set out by HMRC in due course.
- This scheme will cover businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments in the UK, are legally required to close their premises. This includes businesses that are required to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises. To be eligible employees must be employed and an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23rd September.
- Under the scheme, employees will need to be furloughed for a minimum of seven consecutive days at any given time and the payments to employers will be made monthly in arrears.
- The government is now making this scheme more generous so that businesses receive up to £3,000 per month, rather than up to £1,500 per three weeks, and they are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three.
- Small businesses with a rateable value of or below £15,000 can now claim £1,300 per month; medium sized businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 can claim £2,000 per month; and larger businesses can claim £3,000.
- The government is also extending the scheme to include businesses which have been forced to close on a national rather than a local basis.