Changes to the Job Support Scheme
Yesterday, the Chancellor announced a package of further economic measures to support businesses affected by the ongoing Covide-19 pandemic, including significant changes to the short-time working Job Support Scheme (JSS), expanded grants for businesses in high-alert areas, and increased grants for the self-employed.
Under the short-time working JSS, an employee will now only need to work and be paid for at least 20% of their normal hours and not 33% as originally announced. For the employee’s remaining (unworked) hours, the government will provide up to 61.67% of the employee’s normal wages, up to a maximum £1,541.75 a month (up from £697.92 as originally announced). The employer will contribute the other 5% of the unworked hours (and not 33% as originally announced). The JSS for businesses legally required to close their premises remains unchanged.
There has been no change to the eligibility requirement for the short-time working JSS and all small and medium sized businesses will be eligible. Larger businesses will only eligible if their turnover has fallen during the pandemic. Eligible employers will be able to claim under both the JSS and the Job Retention Bonus (for employees who have previously been furloughed).
The government will also increase the amounts available under the next tranche of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). For those currently eligible for SEISS and who continue to actively trade but face reduced demand, the initial taxable grant will now be worth 40% of average monthly trading profits, up to a total of £3,750, covering the period from November 2020 to January 2021. The level of the second grant covering February to April 2021 will be set at a later date.
Business grants of up to £2,100 a month will be made available for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors which have not been required to close, but are impacted by restrictions in high-alert areas. These grants will be available retrospectively for areas which have already been subject to restrictions. The grants will be administered and distributed by local authorities, who will determine which businesses are eligible for funding.