Today has seen the announcement by the government of yet another iteration of support for employers to help pay the wages of employees.
As we know, the furlough scheme as we know it and as has been in place since March comes to an end on 31 October 2020. In its place is the new Job Support Scheme. If you want to see our update on the scope of this scheme then please watch our update here, but (very briefly) provides approximately 22% of wage support when employees work 33% of their hours (or more).
This latest announcement is intended to reflect the anticipated local and regional lockdowns that will begin to come into force from next week in England and are already in force in part of Scotland and Wales.
The new 'Local Furlough' scheme will begin on 1 November 2020 and will be in place for 6 months. The main provision in the scheme are as follows:
- It will only be available to business that are forced to close under local lockdown rules;
- It will not apply to businesses who choose to close;
- Businesses required to close as a result of specific workplace outbreaks by local public health authorities are not eligible;
- It will pay two-thirds of wages;
- The maximum payment per employee per month will be a gross of £2,100;
- Employees must be off work for a minimum of 7 days;
- Employees must be registered on RTI payment on or before 23 September 2020.
For those companies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland the government has stated that it will increase funding by £1.3bn to those devolved governments which will enable them to introduce the same or similar support scheme.
Of course, what this does mean is that there is a distinct probability that we will end up having different schemes throughout the UK.
The detailed announcement from the government can be accessed here.
The chancellor said the measures would provide "reassurance and a safety net" for people and businesses across the UK in advance of a potentially "difficult winter".