As businesses reopen and the economy starts moving, the government has launched a number of initiatives to aid businesses in their recovery and protect employment.
We urge all companies to check the following links to see whether they are eligible for Government support. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. Equally if you have any feedback on any of the Government schemes that you think would be useful for us to build into our ongoing conversations with Government, please let us know.
The following measures are detailed below:
- Job Support Scheme
- Self Employed Income Support Scheme
- Job Retention Bonus
- Kickstart Scheme
- Apprenticeships and Training Schemes
- VAT and Tax Deferral
- Job Retention Scheme
- Loan Schemes
- Workplace safety
- Further guidance and information
Job Support Scheme (JSS)
The Job Support Scheme provides support for employees in viable businesses who have faced a drop in demand due to COVID-19.
Under the JSS, workers who have their hours cut will receive payment for two-thirds of the hours they do not work. One third will be paid by the government, and another third by the employer. The hours worked will also be paid by the employer. The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month.
For example, if an individual usually works 40 hours a week, and has their hours cut to 19 hours a week they will be paid for 33 hours a week. Their employer will pay for the 19 hours worked and one third of the cut hours (7 hours). The government will reimburse the cost of another 7 hours.
Employees must work at least 33% of their regular hours to be eligible for the scheme. This threshold will be re-evaluated after 3 months. Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.
If employees are legally unable to attend work due to coronavirus restrictions, they will also receive two-thirds pay from the Government.
The Job Support Scheme will start 1 November and run for six months. You can find more information from Treasury here.
Self Employed Income Support Scheme
On 24 September the Chancellor announced an extension to the SEISS for 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 extension will provide two grants and will last for six months from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.
The first grant will cover 3 months’ worth of profits from the start of November until the end of January. It will be worth 20% of average monthly profits and will capped at £1,875 in total.
You can claim here.
Job Retention Bonus
Employers who keep furloughed employees on through to the end of January 2021 will be eligible for a £1000 retention bonus. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (October 2020) and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021. Further detail about the scheme will be announced by the end of July.
Employers who create new positions for 16-24 year olds will be able to claim back funding equal to 25 hours of minimum wage per week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrollment contributions. Further details about how to claim for the scheme have not yet been announced.
Apprenticeships and Training
Companies hiring apprentices aged 16-24 will be eligible for a £2000 bonus, or £1500 for apprentices over 25. Employers will also receive £1000 to take on trainees. Further details about how to claim for the scheme have not yet been announced.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency has taken a number of steps to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis on apprenticeships, including allowing the modification of assessments, extending assessment time frames, and support for apprentices made redundant. More information can be found here.
VAT and Tax Deferral
Businesses who chose to defer their VAT bills in spring have the option to pay back the sum in 11 interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year, rather than a lump sum in March.
Self-assessment taxpayers will be eligible for a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.
Job Retention Scheme
As of 1 July, furloughed employees are able to return to work on a part-time basis through ‘flexible furlough’. They will continue to receive 80% of wages up to £2,500 p/m through a combination of government support and employer contribution. Employers will need to pay employees for the days worked (e.g. 2 p/w) and government will subsidise the remaining amount.
With the introduction of ‘flexible furlough’, companies cannot put any new employees on furlough.
From 1 August, employers will need to pay NI and pension contributions for furloughed employees. Government will continue to pay 80% of wages, up to £2,500.
From September 1st employers will need to contribute 10% of wages, while government will cover 70%, up to £2,190.
From October 1st employers will need to pay 20% of wages, and government will cover the remaining 60%, up to £1,875.
The scheme is set to end on 31 October.
You can claim for this scheme here.
Government loan schemes, including CBILS, large CBILS and Bounce Back Loans, are still open for applications until 30 November.
On 24 September the Chancellor announced a Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system for firms repaying Bounce Back Loans. This includes extending the length of the loan from six years to ten, and offering interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays.
You can see more details about the different loan schemes here.
Workplace Specific Guidance
BEIS have issued workplace specific guidance for businesses on safe operating procedures. The guidance for offices can be found here, all other workplaces, here. All employees who can continue to work from home are asked to do so.
Further information and resource pages
Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland
Department for International Trade & UK Export Finance
Department for Health information on COVID-19
Covid-19 Business Support
Covid-19 Business Support Finder Tool
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Guidance for Employers and Businesses
HMRC COVID-19 helpline regarding tax issues: 08000 241222 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
Business Support Helpline: 0300 456 3565 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)