Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update 30

It is Friday afternoon and before the wine can be opened the Chancellor has announced an extension to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) or should this be Furlough Scheme 3?

The chancellor announced that the JSS will be expanded to support businesses across the UK that are required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions because of either a local or national lockdown.

Under the Expanded Scheme :

  • The government will pay:
    • two thirds of employees’ salaries up to a maximum of £2,100
    • cash grants  for businesses required to close in local lockdowns also increased to up to £3,000 per month (depending on rateable value
  • Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages but will need to pay any National Insurance and pension contributions,
  • Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions
  • Employees must have been on the employer’s Real Time Information submission on or before 23 September 2020
  • Employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days,  (interestingly this is being called furloughed).
  • Employees do not have to have been on furloughed before.

The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January.

The grant will be paid in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December.

By way of a reminder this is what we know of the “standard” JSS:

  • The Scheme starts from 1st November 2020
  • The Scheme will run for 6 months
  • It is open to all Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
  • Large businesses can use the scheme if they can demonstrate that their business has been adversely affected by COVID-19
  • The business must have a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme
  • To be eligible, employees must have been on the employer’s Real Time Information submission on or before 23 September 2020
  • An employee must work a minimum of 33% their ‘usual’ hours (the threshold hours)
  • The threshold hours may be increased in months 4-6 of the scheme
  • The employer will pay for the hours worked
  • The government will pay for 1/3 of the unworked hours up to a maximum of £697.92 per month
  • The employer must pay for 1/3 of the unworked hours
  • Working patterns can vary, but each short-time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days
  • The government’s grant will not cover Class 1 employer NIC or pension contributions;
  • Calculation of ‘usual wages’ will follow a “similar” methodology to the CJRS

Unlike the Furlough Scheme, you CANNOT use it if an employee is on notice by reason of redundancy.

This guidance is based on the information currently available.  There is still a lot of detail to be provided and I will provide further guidance when that is available.  No doubt that will be on another Friday afternoon.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me or one of the employment team at Hethertons.