The government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the Chancellor announced today, 9 October.
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.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “Throughout the crisis the driving force of our economic policy has not changed. The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time.”
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 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.
This comes alongside intensive engagement with local leaders today on potential measures are coming in their areas.
In addition to the expansion of the JSS, the government is making the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme more generous so that businesses in England can receive up to £3,000 per month, and are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three. This could benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys and many more.
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from a £1.3 billion increase to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21 – allowing them to continue their response to Covid-19 including through similar measures if they wish.
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.
They build on the government’s wider package of unprecedented measures to help protect, create and support jobs through the pandemic, to ensure that nobody is left without hope or opportunity.