13th October 2020
In conjunction with new local lockdown rules, the Government has released details about an extension to the Job Support Scheme which aims to support UK businesses that could be forced to close due to COVID-19-related restrictions.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) to provide for ‘local furlough’.
The scheme is due to begin on 1 November 2020 and will run for six months (subject to a review in January 2021).
In light of the recently introduced three-tier severity system, the aim of the extension is to support businesses and protect jobs at organisations which are required to close their premises as a result of any local or national lockdowns.
Businesses will only be eligible while the restrictions are in place. The Government will contribute up to two-thirds of an employee’s salary, which will be capped at £2,100 per month. Employers will only be required to pay employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions; they will not have to contribute towards wages.
Employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days before the business can claim arrears payments from HMRC (the claims service will be available from early December). Given the severity of the likely impact on the hospitality industry, any business which continues to provide food deliveries despite closure of their premises are still eligible to claim.
In addition to these support measures, under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LSRG) scheme the Government will now provide grants of up to £3,000 to assist businesses with fixed payments if they are forced to close due to the local lockdowns. To be eligible for the grant, businesses must have been closed for a minimum of two weeks.
Employers should also remember that they also have a duty to ensure preparations are made for employees who need to self-isolate should they be at risk of infection. Employers who fail to comply with this requirement will be prosecuted and face a minimum fine of £1,000. Anyone who fails to self-isolate will also be committing a criminal offence.
Please note: Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice and we are not liable for any reliance on the information provided. This is a rapidly changing subject, and whilst correct at the time of writing, circumstances may have changed since publication. Please refer to Gov.uk for up-to-date advice on the Government’s response to this issue.
To find out more about anything covered in this article, or to discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on your business, please contact Kerrie Hunt or another member of Thrings’ Employment and Immigration team.