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Changes to Self-Employed and furlough schemes

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the following changes to the Self-Employed Income Support (SEISS) and Coronavirus Job Retention Schemes (CJRS) at the close of business last week.

SEISS changes

In response to lobbying by interested business groups this scheme has been extended for a final three-month period (June – August 2020). The amount being offered is reduced, as compared with support provided for the first quarter (March – May 2020).

The eligibility criteria remains unchanged. In particular, claimants will still need to confirm that during the June to August period their businesses have been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The amount that can be claimed is reduced to 70% of eligible earnings (previously 80%) and the maximum grant that can be claimed for the June – August quarter will be capped at £6,570 (previously £7,500).

As before, claimants will have to wait until the final month of the claim period, August 2020, to make a claim. Details on the claims process will be revealed 12 June 2020.

Please note, that self-employed persons claiming for the first claim period (March-May 2020) need to apply for their claim on or before 13 July 2020.

 

CJRS changes

The CJRS, more commonly described as the furlough scheme, is to close 31 October 2020.

From this date employers will reassume full financial responsibility for their employees.

Between July and October 2020, the support provided will reduce in two fundamental ways:

  • Employers can bring-back employees on a part-time basis and
  • Employers will need to make incremental contributions to the CJRS support costs.

Part-time working

If employees are invited back to work part-time from 1 July 2020, employers will need to meet the full costs of employing them for this part-time activity.

Furlough grants will still be available from government during the July – October 2020 period, but the amounts that employers can claim will gradually reduce as employers make increasing contributions.

A month by month summary of CJRS changes follows:

June 2020

No changes to government support this month but employers should note that the furlough scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June 2020. Effectively, the final date that employers can furlough staff for the first time will be 10 June 2020.

July 2020

From 1 July 2020, government will only provide support for hours not worked. The full cost of part-time working will have to be met by employers.

For time not worked, the scheme will provide 80% of furloughed costs up to £2,500 cap.

August 2020

From 1 August, employers will have to cover employers’ NIC and pension costs for furloughed workers. For many smaller businesses this will not dramatically increase costs as employers NIC is covered by the NIC Employment Allowance.

For time not worked, the scheme will continue to provide 80% of furloughed wages up to £2,500 cap.

September 2020

From 1 September, employers will, in addition to previous changes, have to start contributing towards the furlough scheme costs. For September 2020, this will amount to 10% of furloughed wage costs for time not worked.

For time not worked, government support will reduce to 70% of furloughed wages up to a revised £2,187.50 cap.

October 2020

From 1 October, employers will pay an increased contribution to the furlough scheme costs. For October 2020, this will amount to 20% of furloughed wage costs for time not worked.

For time not worked, government support will reduce to 60% of furloughed wages up to a revised £1,875 cap.

Unwinding the furlough scheme

From 1 November 2020, employers will be faced with two choices: to bring all furloughed workers back to full-time working or consider redundancies.

This outcome should be considered as soon as possible and if possible by considering quite detailed planning and forecasting considerations. We can help. Please contact us if you are presently claiming under the CJRS and are undecided how to unwind the support from the furlough scheme when it ceases on 31 October.

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