Extension to the JSS and SEISS

As we enter a second period of lockdown, information in this article may have changed. Please make sure you are reading our up-to-date guidance.

As the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise and more regions are placed under higher tier lockdown restrictions, Rishi Sunak extends the JSS and SEISS.

The previous announcements relating to the Job Support Scheme and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme have now been extended to help businesses and workers suffering from 'profound economic uncertainty'. This more generous support will also go much further in helping the hospitality sector which has been severely affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.

Changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS)

Due to be introduced on 1 November 2020 and run for a period of six months, the JSS is being extended to better support businesses and workers who are placed under the more restrictive lockdown rules. The level of support will vary for those in tiers 1 and 2 (as a result of reduced trade / a ban on households mixing) to tier 3 (where businesses, including pubs and restaurants, are forced to close).

Tier 3: "very high risk areas"

For those parts of England subject to tier 3 lockdown restrictions where businesses are forced to close, the Government will pay employees 67% of their wages, up to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month.

In order to be eligible for the scheme, employees must be off work for a minimum period of seven days.

Employers will not be required to contribute to their employees' wages, but they will have to pay any National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant Scheme: This is a separate support scheme to JSS, but we're just letting you know that this is also available to businesses in tier 3 of up to £3,000 per month, based on their rateable value. To see if you are eligible, please click here to be redirected to GOV.UK.

Tiers 1 and 2: "medium" and "high" risk areas

For businesses who are severely affected by coronavirus, but have not been forced to close, the Chancellor has announced a change to the original JSS whereby employees must now work a minimum of 20% of their usual working hours (previously 33%), for which the employer will of course pay for the wages and associated National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions.

The employer must also contribute an additional 5% towards the wages for hours not worked (up to a maximum of £125 per month). The Government will then pay 61.67% of the wages for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75. This brings the total to 73% of their normal salary, where they earn £3,125 a month or less.

Eligibility

In order to qualify for the scheme:

  • Employees must have been on the payroll since 23 September 2020 (and an RTI submission must have been made to HMRC prior to 11.59pm on 23 September)
  • There is flexibility to come off / be placed back on the scheme, but these changes must be for a minimum period of seven days
  • Large employers with more than 250 employees who have not been forced to close (i.e. those in tiers 1 and 2) will have to satisfy a financial impact test to confirm eligibility. Employers with less than 250 employees will not have to satisfy this test.

How to claim

As with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), employers will have to pay the salaries in the first instance and then claim the money back from the Government. The claims service will be accessible via HMRC and will be available from early December.

For more information, please click here to be redirected to GOV.UK.

Extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The SEISS has also been extended - grants available will be doubled to 40% (previously 20%) for those who are severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The maximum grant that can be claimed is £3,750 over a three-month period.

For more information, please click here to be redirected to GOV.UK and read the full announcement.

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