The government has announced that its Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions. It will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months – and cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns will increase to up to £3,000 per month.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “Throughout the crisis the driving force of our economic policy has not changed. I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary to protect jobs and livelihoods as the situation evolves. The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time. Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions, a very small proportion of overall employment costs. It is estimated that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so face no employer contribution.”
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said: “Childcare providers like nurseries are on the front line supporting families up and down the country. They are an essential part of children’s care and education as well as keeping the economy moving and so will not be caught up in local lockdowns.
“However, we have seen cases where childcare settings are required by Public Health England to close for periods of a week or more at a time in the event of a positive Covid-19 case, or where staff have to self-isolate while waiting for tests.
“We want assurances that the latest support announced by the Chancellor will be made available for the childcare sector. Nurseries and the workforce were already struggling due to chronic underfunding. This new furlough support needs to be made available so they are able to cover their staffing costs when they are made to close. This is essential to make sure these settings can remain open and can continue to provide a vital service.”
The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January.
The full press release on the government’s official website can be found here.