Rishi Sunak has announced the government will increase its winter support scheme in a bid to protect jobs and help to contain the virus.

The chancellor is increasing support through the existing Job Support and self-employed schemes, and expanding business grants to assist companies in high-alert level areas.

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

The recent announcement reduces the employer contribution to those unworked hours to 5% and reduces the minimum hours requirements to 20%, so those working one day a week will be eligible.

That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, for example, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer £44.

The government will provide up to 61.67% of wages for hours not worked, up to £1,541.75 per month. The cap is set above median earnings for employees in August at a reference salary of £3,125 per month.

Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus. The JSS Closed for businesses legally required to close remains unchanged.

Business grants
The chancellor has also announced approved additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector which may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas.

These grants will be available retrospectively for areas who have already been subject to restrictions, and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for local authorities moving into Tier three.

Self-employed grant
The government has increased the amount of profits covered by the two forthcoming self-employed grants from 20% to 40%, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.