With less than a week having passed since the start of the second English lockdown and my last blog on the Government’s updated business support, lots has already changed.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Originally extended until December, it has now been announced that the CJRS, sometimes referred to as the furlough scheme, will run until 31 March 2021. The Government has also said that they will be reviewing the scheme in January to decide whether they will ask employers to contribute more than just the Employers National Insurance and minimum pension contributions in the latter months of the scheme.
While full guidance is expected to be announced on 10 November, the claim process is looking likely to become a little more complicated with two different reference pay periods and usual hours calculations for employees. One for those who were already employed and eligible for the original CJRS as of 19 March 2020, and another for new eligible employees taken on between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.
Job retention Bonus
Due to the extension of the CJRS, the Government has also withdrawn their guidance on the Job Retention Bonus, originally expected to be paid in February 2021 for previously furloughed employees still employed as at 31 January 2021.
We understand that the Government plan to revisit a job retention initiative again at a more appropriate time.
Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
The SEISS scheme was extended on 24 September for a further six months from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021, providing two additional grant payments of 20% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £1,875.
On 5 November it was announced that the first of the two additional grant payments, covering the period 1 November 2020 – 31 January, would be increased up to 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 in total. This is an increase from the original 20%, which was further increased to 40% and then 55% before this latest announcement.
The level of funding for the fourth grant covering February 2021 to April 2021 is yet to be announced.
The online service to allow individuals to claim for the November 2020 to January 2021 grant is expected to be available from 30 November 2020.