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How do new post-furlough changes work?

28 Oct 2020 | Industry News

On the 1 November 2020 furlough (Job Retention Scheme) will be replaced with the government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) which businesses who are struggling with COVID-19 restrictions can make use of to retain employees. The JSS is available to businesses that are based in one of several new tier-based locations, or a high to very high-risk area, where they have either had to reduce trading or have been asked to close as part of the government’s latest strategy to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the UK. The JSS will run for six months from the 1 November 2020.

For most businesses operating within the Ornamental Horticulture sector, specifically the Landscape Services industry, this support will not be applicable as work cannot be carried out from home and outdoor working in particular can continue, as long as the business abides by the COVID-Secure and Tier guidance set out by government.

If your business has been asked to close as the area you are based in is Tier 3, the JSS will see employees paid 67% of their wages - up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. To access this, employees must be off work for a minimum of seven days to be eligible. The employer does not have to pay towards the salary. If you are continuing to operate but have seen an impact on your business from the restrictions placed from being in a Tier 2 situation, employees have to be paid by their employer to work a minimum 20% of their hours per month. The employer must pay an extra 4% of total wages to cover some of the hours not worked, and the government will pay 49% of the total salary to cover hours not worked.

So, overall the worker would get at least 73% of salary. The maximum contribution the government will make is £1,541.75. Employees must have been on their companies’ payroll since 23 September to qualify. Employees can move on and off the new scheme, or work different hours, but each working arrangement must cover at least seven days. Employers cannot make any member of staff redundant or put on notice until the JSS grant stops being claimed. Employers will be reimbursed by the government for its share after salaries have been paid to employees.

How does JSS support self-employed workers?

The first grant, available from the 1 November 2020, is taxable but will cover 40% of profits made, with a maximum grant of £3,750 over a three-month period. It will be paid out in single instalments covering three months’ worth of profits. The second grant, with the same terms, will cover February 2021 to April 2021.

What other support is being offered?

Additional support is also being offered, depending on what tier a business is based in:

  • Tier 3 businesses qualify for a grant up to ££,000 a month if they are affected by restrictions, whether they are open or closed

Devolved nations will be given the equivalent funding for other nations, under the Barnett Formula. The UK government will also provide businesses £1,000 for every furloughed employee that retain until at least the end of January 2021, plus, £1,500 for every out of work 16-24-year-old given a high-quality six-month work placement and finally £2,000 for every under-25 apprentice taken on until the end of January 2021, or £1,500 for over-25s.

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