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The Expanded Job Support Scheme: Extra cash for businesses forced to close by new lockdowns

The Job Support Scheme, initially announced on the 24th September, was expanded by the Chancellor on the 9th October 2020. The expanded scheme, formally known as the ‘Job Support Scheme Expansion for Closed Business Premises’ is intended to support businesses that are legally required to close due to local or national coronavirus restrictions. As with the Job Support Scheme, the expanded scheme starts on November 1st and runs for 6 months.

The expanded scheme will ensure that organisations that are told to shut for some period over the winter will receive grants worth two thirds of an employee’s normal salary (capped at £2,100 per month) for the time that the employee is unable to go to work. Employers may top-up employees’ pay if they wish, but are by no means required to do so.

Employers will be able to claim on a monthly basis starting in December 2020. The grant will be taxable, but will not cover Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions. These contributions remain payable by the employer. The Government have also confirmed that they would expect large employers not to make capital distributions whilst accessing the grant.

Eligibility:

  • To be eligible, employers must be instructed to cease, and actually cease, work for a minimum of 7 calendar days.
  • Businesses that are asked to close by local public health authorities, due to a workplace outbreak, will not be covered by the scheme.
  • Closed businesses will include those who are restricted to delivery or collection-only services.
  • Employers must have a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme registered on or before 23rd September 2020 to be able to claim the grants.
  • Employers and employees do not need to have used the CJRS to be eligible.
  • An employer cannot make claims in respect of an employee that has been made redundant or put on notice of redundancy.

Employers will be able to claim on a monthly basis starting in December 2020.

Practicalities:

Employers who are asked to close will need to agree the new scheme with the relevant staff, make any necessary changes to the contracts of employment and notify the employees in writing. The agreement will need to be made available to the HMRC upon request.

The HMRC have confirmed that they will be publishing the names of employers who use the scheme, and that employees will be able to find out if their employer has claimed for them under the scheme. It is therefore imperative that employers follow the correct process. Should your business need help navigating the Job Support Scheme or the Expanded Job Support Scheme, please get in touch with one of our employment lawyers.

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This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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