Job Support Scheme Expanded To Firms Required To Close Due To Covid Restrictions

SCC Responds To Further Business Support Outlined By Scottish Government
Scottish Government Announces Fund To Provide Grants And Employment Support

Job Support Scheme Expanded To Firms Required To Close Due To Covid Restrictions

Under the expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work – protecting jobs and enabling businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted.

Key Points:

  • The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions;
  • The UK Government will pay two-thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months – applicable across the UK;
  • Cash grants for businesses in England only required to close in local lockdowns also increased to up to £3,000 per month; and
  • Devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to receive £1.3 billion increase to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21.

The government will support eligible businesses by paying two-thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions, a very small proportion of overall employment costs. It is estimated that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so face no employer contribution.

Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.

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 a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December. Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.

These 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.

Further guidance on the scheme will be set out by HMRC in due course, ICC will share this once it is available.

The Scottish Government today outlined further details on business support it plans to support businesses through the new restrictions announced earlier this week.

ICC is awaiting further information on how the UK Government’s announcement will affect the Scottish Government’s planned support.

Responding to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses affected by local or national COVID-19 restrictions, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Today’s announcement by the Chancellor to extend employment support is good news and will provide relief for thousands of Scottish businesses who are being forced to close their doors throughout Scotland over the next two weeks.

“The additional announcement from the UK Government to pay a grant of £3000 to businesses in England who are impacted by local or national restrictions, we would expect the Scottish Government to be mirroring these grants for businesses in Scotland. 

“Whilst these short-term measures are welcomed, they are not sufficient enough to offset the impending loss of trade and jobs. We need governments to focus on enabling the business to continue to freely function and manage our way through this situation. This stop-start approach is damaging business, consumer confidence and investment.”

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