On 22 October, Rishi Sunak announced that the government will be extending the winter support package to protect businesses and workers in the UK. This includes increasing the support offered under the Job Support and self-employment schemes and expanding business grants to support companies in high-alert level areas.
Extension of the furlough scheme
The furlough scheme is being extended until the end of March 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. The scheme will be reviewed in January 2021.
Job Support Scheme
The Job Support Scheme, which will be introduced once the extended furlough scheme has ended, is aimed at supporting viable UK employers who face lower demand due to COVID-19.
Initially, the scheme was going to see the government and employer of the eligible business each pay one third of the employee’s wages, and employees were required to be working 33% of their normal hours.
However, under the rules, employers now only have to contribute 5% of an employee’s unworked hours and employees are only required to work 20% of their normal hours.
Employers using the scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus for each eligible employee. This is worth £1,000 per employee.
For further information view the Job Support Scheme Open Factsheet.
The Self-employment income support grant has been extended to support those experiencing reduced demand due to COVID-19, but are continuing to work.
The government extended the SEISS grant from November 2020 to April 2021. The grant was to be paid in two lump sum instalments and was going to allow those eligible to claim 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875. This amount has now been increased and the grants will be worth 80% of average monthly profits from November to January.
Business grants have been expanded to support businesses in highly affected sectors who are affected by the new high-alert levels. These businesses, primarily those in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector, will be able to access cash grants of up to £2,100 per month.
This grant is in addition to the businesses support that will be given to Local authorities moving into Tier 3.
It will be up to Local Authorities to determine which businesses are eligible for grant funding in their local areas, and what precise funding to allocate to each business. Businesses in Very High alert level areas will qualify for greater support whether closed (up to £3,000/month) or open.
For more information see the Business Grants Factsheet.
For further clarity or guidance on schemes that you are eligible for, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.