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UK Coronavirus - Job Retention Scheme Reinstated and Extended

Client Updates

On 24 September 2020 the UK Government announced the introduction of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) which would run from 1 November 2020. Amendments to the JSS were announced on 10 October 2020 and 22 October. The JSS was intended to replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which was due to end on 31 October 2020.

On 31 October 2020 the UK Government announced that the JSS would be postponed and the CJRS would remain in place for one month.

On 5 November 2020 in a further announcement the UK Government announced that the CJRS will continue to operate for 5 months from 1 November 2020 to 31 March 2021 (the “Extended CJRS”) and the JSS will be postponed. The Extended CJRS will be subject to review in January 2021.

Where an employee is placed on furlough under the Extended CJRS the level of government support for the period to January 2021 will revert to that operating in August 2020. That is, the UK Government will reimburse employers 80% of an employee’s pay for hours not worked subject to a monthly cap of £2,500. The employer will be required to pay employees for hours worked and to pay employers national insurance (social security) and pension contributions in respect of pay for hours worked and for furloughed hours.

Employers will continue to be able to furlough employees under the Extended CJRS on a full-time or part-time basis. As with the CJRS there must be a written agreement placing the employee on furlough.

Employees who are unable to work because they are required to shield in line with public health guidance or (or need to stay at home with someone who is shielding) or who have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, including employees that need to look after children can be placed on furlough under the Extended CJRS.

Furloughed employees who become ill, due to coronavirus or any other cause, must be paid at least Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). As under the CJRS, it is up to their employer to decide whether to move them onto SSP or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate.

Employees must generally have been on an employer’s payroll on 30 October 2020 to be included in the Extended CJRS, however the UK government has confirmed that employees who were on payroll on 23 September 2020 but who were subsequently made redundant or stopped working for their employer or whose fixed term contract expired on or after 23 September without renewal may be re-employed and included in the Extended CJRS.

The UK Government also announced that the Job Retention Bonus due to be paid to employers  in February 2021 will be deferred and “deployed at the appropriate time. The purpose of the JRB was to encourage employers to keep people in work until the end of January. However, as the CJRS is now being extended to 31 March 2021, the policy intent of the JRB no longer applies.”

Further guidance including the procedure for claiming under the Extended CJRS is due to be published on or about 10 November.

Self Employed Income Support Scheme

The UK Government has also extended the period of time during which the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (“SEISS”) will be available. Applications for SEISS may be made by individuals who meet the qualifying conditions whether or not they have previously made an SEISS claim. The support will be in the from of 2 grants, one covering November 2020 to January 2021 and a second grant for the period from February to April 2021. 

The grant under the SEISS for the period between November and January 2021 is a taxable single payment equal to 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500. The support level for the SEISS grant for February to April 2021 will be announced ‘in due course’.

Individuals who intend to make an SEISS claim must declare that they intend to continue to trade and 

a) are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus; or  
b) were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.

Claims for SEISS may be made online from 30 November 2020.

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