On 24th September, the Chancellor announced the Government’s Winter Economy Plan – additional government support to provide certainty to businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19 across the UK. Central to this plan are the new Job Support Scheme and the SEISS Grant Extension.
Job Support Scheme
The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce.
Employees will need to work a minimum of 33% of their usual hours. The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the wages of hours not worked will be split equally between the employer and the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.
The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped. The employee must not be on a redundancy notice.
All Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) will be eligible; large businesses will be required to demonstrate that their business has been adversely affected by COVID-19, and the government expects that large employers will not be making capital distributions (such as dividends) while using the scheme.
The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until 2021.
More information is available in this factsheet and further guidance will be published shortly.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Grant Extension
The SEISS Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed. The grant will be limited to self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the SEISS and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to COVID-19. The scheme will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021.
The extension will be in the form of two grants. The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. This initial grant will cover 20% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total. The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. The Government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.
More information is available in this factsheet.
Further information on the Government’s Winter Economy Plan can be found here.