On Friday 9 October HM Treasury announced that the Job Support Scheme will be extended to support all UK firms legally required to close as a direct result of local or national coronavirus restrictions (including businesses required to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises). Details are set out in a factsheet with further guidance due “in the coming weeks”.
Employers will receive grants to pay two thirds of the wages of staff who were employed on or before 23 September and are unable to work for a minimum of 7 consecutive days, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. Employers will not have to contribute to wages (although they may top up wages if they wish), but will have to cover pension and national insurance contributions. The scheme will commence on 1 November 2020 and be available for six months, with a review in January 2020.
As for the standard JSS, the factsheet notes the Treasury’s expectation that large employers using the scheme will not be making capital distributions, such as dividend payments or share buybacks, whilst accessing the grant. There is no mention as to whether the financial assessment test which large employers must meet under the standard JSS (see here) will also apply to this extended version.
The extended scheme will not apply to businesses required to close as a result of specific workplace outbreaks by local public health authorities.
HMRC intend to publish the name of employers who have used the scheme, and employees will be able to find out if their employer has claimed for them under the scheme. HMRC will continue to operate a hotline for individuals to report any fraudulent claims of which they may be aware.