The Government has extended its winter support schemes to ensure the livelihoods and jobs of those affected by localised restrictions in the new tiered system are protected in the coming months.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has revised and extended the eligibility criteria for several existing measures, in a bid to protect all businesses, not just those forced to close by law.

Job Support Scheme (JSS) – Employers to contribute just 5%

The JSS which comes into place on 1 November 2020, when the furlough scheme ends, is to be enhanced, and government support increased.

The original announcement on 24 September was that, where employers are able to trade but there was not sufficient work for employees due to the impact of Covid-19, providing employees work a minimum of 33% of their normal hours and their hours worked were paid by the employer, for the remaining unworked hours the Government will meet a third of the cost, the employer will meet a third and the employee will meet a third of the cost.

Yesterday, the Chancellor announced that the level of employer contribution for wages relating to unworked hours is reduced from 33% to 5%. In addition, to qualify for the JSS, the employee needs to work just 20% of their normal hours, not 33%.

This is good news for businesses who can trade but are struggling to operate fully due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Clarification on the specific technical guidance for the JSS and the JSS expansion has just been published by the Government, with further details still to follow next week, and we are in the process of updating our website.

The £1000 Job Retention Bonus remains in place alongside this, and the existing JSS expansion scheme for businesses forced to close by law remains unchanged.

Self-employed grant – Doubled from 20% to 40% of profits

Any self-employed individual who was previously eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants one and two can now access two further taxable SEISS grants. The grants are intended to support those who either cannot trade, or who are continuing to trade, but experiencing reduced demand.

The first grant, which will be accessible in the three months from November to January, will be calculated based on 40% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £3,750. This was previously capped at 20% of three months’ average trading profits, up to a maximum of £1,875.

The second grant runs from February through to April, but the government is set to review the level of this in due course. Both grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments.

Business Grants

The Chancellor also announced additional funding to support businesses impacted by tier 2 restrictions, which will be funded by local authorities who will decide how to distribute the funding. This will be retrospective from August 2020.

Businesses, primarily those in the hospitality and leisure sectors who have been adversely impacted by restrictions in tier 2 areas, are able to claim up to £2,100 per month, whether they are closed or not.

More comprehensive details surrounding today’s announcement can be found on the Governments official website.