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The Return of Furlough: Coronavirus Job Support Scheme Updates

This past weekend saw the announcement we had long anticipated - another lockdown.

As well as the return to movement restrictions, the government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will not end on 31st October 2020 as planned, but will be extended until 1st December 2020.

Changes to COVID-19 Employer Support

Before the weekend, we expected the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) to launch, replacing furlough as a new, less intensive support programme for employers struggling with the impact of the pandemic.

However, just as further JSS details were released on Friday, the next day everything changed.

With the news of a new lockdown, beginning on 5th November and anticipated to (provisionally) end on 2nd December 2020, the government has postponed the end of the original retention funding, with the JSS alternative delayed.

If all runs to schedule, and lockdown is lifted from 2nd December, JSS will begin on 1st December with the furlough scheme available in the interim to cover up to 80% of employee wages.

Furlough V2: Support Available

There are no changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and so employers can continue to file claims according to those launched in August.

  • Grant funding is claimable for up to 80% of employee wages.
  • Capped at £2,500 per employee, per month.
  • Funding covers time not worked due to business closures or scaling back.
  • Employers must cover the costs of pension contributions and National Insurance contributions.
  • Staff may be paid at full salary at the discretion of the employer, with the balance paid as a 'top-up'.

Conditions apply as follows:

  • Businesses can only claim furlough grants for staff on the payroll as at 30th October 2020 or before.
  • There is no requirement for new furlough claims to only include staff that have been previously claimed for.
  • Employers must pay their staff, and file an RTI report, with the claim for the grant made retrospectively.
  • Applicants must have a UK bank account, and includes charities and non-profit organisations.
  • Public sector employers are not able to apply for a grant.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Claim Process

Given that these changes were announced on Saturday evening, there is much detail yet to be confirmed.

However, it seems that the claims process is unchanged, and so employers must report the hours not worked, against the usual hours of work, in order to file a claim.

We are pending clarification about whether an RTI return must be filed in advance of a grant application for November salaries.

There has also been no further information about self-employed support scheme. The assumption is that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue to award grants of up to 40% of contractor average profit.

Mortgage lenders offering payment holidays were set to close this option from 31st October, but will now continue to accept applications for the time being.

Local Business Grant Updates

Support for businesses forced to close will also continue to be administered by local authorities through the business grant schemes.

Grants are paid against the rateable value of the business property, with the below claimable by English businesses. Alternative schemes are available in the other UK nations.

  • Rateable value up to £15,000 - Grant of £667 per two weeks.
  • Rateable value of £15,001 - £50,999 - Grant of £1,000 per two weeks.
  • Rateable value of £51,000 and above - Grant of £1,500 per two weeks.

As more information and updates are released, the SAS team will endeavour to keep you updated with the latest news on grant schemes, income support and application processes.

You are welcome to sign up to our newsletter (scroll to the bottom for the sign-up form) to receive a monthly bulletin on the newest information, as well as reminders about upcoming deadlines to be aware of.

If you need any further support or professional advice, give us a call.