Job Support Scheme Expanded for Businesses Forced to Close by COVID Restrictions

Job Support Scheme Expanded for Businesses Forced to Close by COVID Restrictions

The Chancellor has announced that the Government is extending a scheme to help all UK firms mandated to close due to national or local coronavirus restrictions.

The Government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) is being expanded to support businesses across the UK that are legally required to close as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Companies whose premises are shut down for a period over winter, as part of local or national restrictions, will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work. The aim is to protect jobs and enable businesses to reopen swiftly once restrictions are lifted.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced that the Government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and will only be asked to cover National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions. 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.

In addition to expansion of the JSS, the Government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England that are shut in local lockdowns, to help with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared with up to £1,500 every three weeks, which was available previously.

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.

The JSS scheme, which is UK wide, will begin on 1 November 2020 and will be available for six months, with a review point in January 2021.

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