In tandem with the announced national lock-down in England – from 5th November to 2 December 2020 – the furlough scheme and support for the self-employed are to be extended to cover this period. This much needed support will be welcomed by all business owners affected by the new lock-down measures.
It would appear that the extensions will apply to all regions of the UK even if each region has different lock-down arrangements.
Politicians like to hedge their bets and it may be necessary to extend the national lock-down beyond 2 December. If so, we may also see a similar extension to the furlough and SEISS scheme beyond 2 December.
The headline details available thus far are set out below:
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
This furlough scheme will be extended for a further month. Details released are:
- Government will cover 80% of hours not worked up to a maximum of £2,500 per person per month.
- Any grants paid must be passed on to the relevant employee in full.
- The previous flexibility to allow employees back part-time will continue until December.
- Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and pension costs. They will not need to contribute to hours not worked but they are free to make top-up payments at their discretion.
Which employers/employees can claim or be eligible for this extended support?
- All employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme can make a claim.
- There is no requirement that employers or employees have made previous claims for CJRS support.
- Employees must be on employer’s payroll before midnight 30 October 2020.
Previously announced Job Support Scheme
This new scheme will be deferred until the extended furlough scheme ends, presumably 2 December 2020.
The Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
The Chancellor has announced a corresponding increase in financial support for the self-employed to mirror the benefits of the extended furlough scheme.
For the month of November, SEISS support will be 80% of average trading profits. Combined with the previously announced 40% of average profits for December 2020 and January 2021, this will mean that the average amount for the third grant – quarter end January 2021 – will be 55% of average trading profits.
The previous eligibility criteria will still apply.
Additionally, SEISS grants will be paid faster. The claims window will open at the end of November rather than the middle of December.
Government backed loan schemes
The deadline for submitting applications for government backed loans has been extended to 31 January 2021.