News Chancellor Offers Salary Support For Covid Closures

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Chancellor offers salary support for covid closures
13th October 2020

By Justine Thompson

Businesses required to close as a result of the Government’s latest ‘three tier’ coronavirus restrictions will be able to claim support to continue paying two-thirds of employees’ salaries.

The move is part of an expansion of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on October 9, in an effort to protect jobs and livelihoods in the areas worst affected by the virus.

Cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdown areas have also increased to up to £3,000 per month.

The expansion only covers firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over the winter as part of local or national restrictions. Businesses required to close as a result of specific workplace outbreaks by local public health authorities are not eligible.

Support will be for two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. Employees must be off work for a minimum of seven days to qualify.

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 an HMRC claims service that will be available from early December.

The grant will not cover Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions, which will remain payable by the employer.

In addition, 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.

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an additional £1.3 billion to allow them to undertake similar measures.
The Chancellor said: “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.”

The 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.