Although some businesses have been able to get back to something approaching normal operations in recent months, there are others that are continuing to struggle due to the ongoing pandemic, and others, particularly small businesses, that could be adversely affected by local lockdowns.
In recognition of the challenging times ahead, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an increase in the financial support that the government will provide to businesses.
One of the major changes announced is to the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which will come into force on 1 November. In recognition of the fact that some sectors are still being severely impacted, employers will now only have to pay five per cent of an employee’s wages for unworked hours, down substantially from the 33 per cent initially announced.
In addition, the minimum hours requirement has also been reduced to 20 per cent, ensuring that even those who are only working one day per week are covered.
The chancellor has also increased the level of support for self-employed people, upping the amount they can claim under the next round of grants from 20 per cent of their profits to 40 per cent. This means the maximum grant size is now £3,750.
Business grants will also be available, primarily to hospitality, accommodation and leisure businesses, that are affected by areas going into higher alert levels and local lockdowns.
Mr Sunak said that the government had always acknowledged the fact that it would need to “adapt our financial support”. He commented: “These changes mean that our support will reach many more people and protect many more jobs.”
Earlier this month, Personnel Today shared research from law firm Fieldfisher, which found that many employers wanted further information about how the JSS scheme would work in practice to ensure they could safeguard jobs once the furlough scheme ended on 31 October.
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