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Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced three new measures to help workers and businesses get through the winter and continued Coronavirus restrictions

The Government has announced it will significantly increase the generosity and reach of its Winter Support Schemes to ensure livelihoods and jobs across the UK continue to be protected in the difficult months to come, supporting jobs and helping to contain the virus.

In recognition of the challenging times ahead, the Chancellor said he would be increasing support through the existing Job Support and self-employed schemes, and expanding business grants to support companies in high-alert level areas. This builds on agreements reached with Local Authorities moving to Alert Level very high, with extra support for businesses, jobs and the economic recovery.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said:

"Cash grants of up to £2,100 a month will be given to firms in Tier 2 areas - enough for all affected hospitality, accommodation and leisure premises."

They will be retrospective, so any region which has been under enhanced restrictions can backdate their claim to August.

For self-employed people, the size of the grant they can access will also be doubled to £3,750 - with the amount of average profits they can claim for rising from 20% to 40%.

There will be changes to the Job Support Scheme, which is for companies experiencing lower demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Employees will only need to work 20% of their normal hours - instead of the original 33% - to be eligible. The government will significantly reduce the amount employers have to contribute - from 33% to 5%.

"The scheme will apply to eligible businesses in all alert levels," Mr Sunak confirmed.

"So businesses that are not closed but face higher restrictions - in places like Liverpool, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester as well as the devolved nations - will be able to access greater support."

Mr Sunak explained he was making the changes because: "It is clear that even businesses that can stay open are facing profound uncertainty." He continued: "This is our plan. A plan for jobs, for businesses, for the regions, for the economy, for the country. A plan to support the British people."

Recognising the pressure businesses in some sectors and areas are facing, today’s announcement lightens the burden of keeping on staff.

When originally announced, the JSS – which will come into effect on 1 November – saw employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked, and required employers to be working 33% of their normal hours.

Today’s announcement reduces the employer contribution to those unworked hours to just 5%, and reduces the minimum hours requirements to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible. That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer only £44.

Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus for qualifying employees at the end of February.

Pay Check's Summary

The Job Support Scheme has now been split into two important distinctions since the announcement yesterday - JSS Open and JSS Closed.

For JSS Open, employers with over 250 employees will have to take a financial impact test to qualify - but NOT if you are a charity. It will be decided based on a comparison of sales revenue from VAT returns in a fixed period. Employers with less than 250 employees will not have to take the test.

Employees must be working at least 20% of normal hours, then for the *non-working* hours the employer will make up 5%, the employee 33.33% (ie not paid) and the government 61.67% up to a maximum of £1541.75.

For JSS Closed, the employer must have been instructed or legally obliged to close for a minimum period of 7 days (due to Covid restrictions) - more guidance is to follow. The government will provide a grant for 66.67% of non-worked hours up to a maximum of £2083.33.

For both schemes, employees must have been on an RTI submission between 6th April 2019 and 23rd September 2020. Employers must have made a temporary working agreement with employees before using the scheme. Employees cannot be on notice of redundancy.

For more information including how to calculate your grant and how to claim, go to to this link:



This article was written by
The Pay Check Team
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