Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) has confirmed that the government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from a £1.3bn increase to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21.
These measures will sit alongside the original JSS and the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus (JRB) which encourages employers to keep staff on payroll.
Sunak said: “Throughout the crisis the driving force of our economic policy has not changed.
“I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary to protect jobs and livelihoods as the situation evolves.
“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.”