Goodbye Job Retention Scheme, hello Job Support Scheme
The Job Retention Scheme will end on 31 October 2020. Employers will be able to claim the £1,000 per employee job retention bonus at this point and will continue to get some support with wages from the Job Support Scheme. The new Job Support Scheme will apply for six months from 1 November 2020, as follows:-
• Employees must work at least one third of their normal hours.
• Hours worked will be paid for by the employer at full pay rates.
• For hours that would normally be worked but are not being worked the employer and the government will each pay 1/3 of normal pay. This will mean the employee will get 2/3 of normal pay for time not worked and full pay for time worked. The government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month.
• Grant payments will not cover Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions, these will remain payable by the employer.
• Businesses must have a UK bank account and operate a UK PAYE scheme.
• Businesses do not need to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
• Employees must have been on payroll on or before 23 Sept 2020.
• Employees will be able to “cycle” on and off the scheme and do not have to work the same pattern each month, however, each short time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days (it is not clear from the guidance if this means seven days working or a standard Monday-Sunday period).
• Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy whilst on the Job Support Scheme.
• These new working arrangements must be agreed with staff and notified to employees in writing, HMRC may ask to see these written agreements.
Self Employed Support Scheme:
If you were eligible for this Scheme initially and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020 you can now apply for a second taxable grant, worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £6,570 in total. Claim for this second grant must be submitted by 19 October 2020. Check online for full details
State backed loan schemes: The repayment period has now been extended from six years to ten.
VAT on hospitality and leisure will stay at 5% until 31 March 2021
Employees: If told to self-isolate by test and trace (not Covid-19 phone app) this is a legal obligation and there are fines from £1,000 to £10,000 for non-compliance. There is a “Government Test & Trace Support Payment” of £500 for the self-isolation period, for those on lower incomes. These payments are being implemented by local authorities and are expected to be in place by 12 October 2020.
Employers: Employers can also be fined (again from £1,000 to £10,000) if they “knowingly” allow a worker who is self-isolating to attend any place that is not the “designated place” where the individual is spending their period of self-isolation, for any purpose related to their employment. “Any place” may include collecting work documents from a colleague’s home not just going in to the office and the employer does not have to have required or even facilitated the worker breaching their self-isolation to be liable. If, however, an employer is not aware an employee is self-isolating (rather than just working from home) this will not be an offence.
• Current advice is that, where possible, it is best to work from home.
• Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues must close at 10pm. Theatre performances are not affected by this curfew but theatre bars and cafes must close by 10pm.
• If you have a bar or café, you must now only offer table service. Customers and staff must wear a face covering at all times (except customers who are eating or drinking).
• Face coverings are also compulsory for theatre staff and audiences. The fine for not wearing a face covering, without an exemption, is £200.
• The rule of six applies to group bookings for indoor performance audiences and to groups watching outdoor performances, however, total audiences can be much greater so long as they are socially distanced, except for performances in private houses or gardens, where the rule of six applies. A fine of £200 can be applied for breaking the rule of 6 in any context.
• Keep up to date with government guidance for the sector here www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts#arts-3-1
Brexit & Overseas Workers
EU, EEA or Swiss citizens who are employed or self-employed in the UK but live elsewhere can continue to work in this way, so long as they are already working in the UK by 31 December 2020 and have a frontier worker permit. From 1 January 2021, non-British, non-Irish workers who wish to work in the UK whilst remaining resident outside the UK and who do not already have frontier worker status, will need to apply through the UK’s points-based immigration system. www.gov.uk/guidance/frontier-workers-in-the-uk-rights-and-status