Martin Aitken & Co Ltd News & Developments

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Job support scheme expanded and Covid-19 restrictions fund for Scottish businesses

The Job Support scheme was withdrawn on 1 November 2020.

The Job Support scheme, which was due to start on 1 November 2020, has been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is being extended until December. This is in line with recent announcement from the Prime Minister, on Saturday 31 October, that England is heading into Lockdown 2.0 from Thursday 5th November until 2 December. 

It is confirmed that the level of grant will mirror the levels that were available under the CJRS scheme in August, government paying 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions (only for the hours the employee does not work). 

Further information can be found on GOV.UK

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Job Support Scheme postponed until December 2020

The Government announced the Job Support Scheme would be extended in Scotland from 1 November for 6 months, details on the scheme below, although at the moment this is being postponed until December following Lockdown 2.0 in England. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is being extended for a further month.   

The JSS was due to start on the 1 November 2020 and available for 6 months, until 30 April 2021. The government will review the terms of the scheme in due course and we will provide more information when the scheme is due to commence. 

How will the JSS Scheme work and who is eligible?

An employer can claim the JSS Open and JSS Closed grant at the same time for different employees, however, an employer cannot claim for a single employee under both schemes at the same time.

Here are some of the key requirements:

  • Employers can only claim for employees that were in their employment on 23 September 2020. If employees ceased employment after 23 of September 2020 and were subsequently rehired, then employers can claim for them.
  • An individual is an employee for the purposes of this scheme if they are treated as an employee for Income Tax purposes.
  • Employees can be on any type of contract, including zero hours or temporary contracts.
  • Agency workers are regarded as employees of an employment agency for the purposes of this scheme, provided they are employees for Income Tax purposes.
  • Employees do not need to have been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.
  • Employers will be able to top up employee wages above the level of minimum contributions at their own expense if they wish.
  • Employers cannot claim both JSS Open and JSS Closed in respect of a single employee for the same day.
  • Employees will be able to undertake training voluntarily in non-working hours. Where time spent on training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the grant payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages.
  • Employees whose hours reduce due to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have access to Working Tax Credit and its childcare element for the duration of the JSS scheme.
  • Parental leave – new legislation is being introduced to ensure employees entitled to parental leave will not lose out as a result of being put on the JSS.
  • Employers cannot claim for an employee who has been made redundant or is serving a contractual or statutory notice period during the claim period.
  • The Job Support Scheme grant will not cover National Insurance contributions (NICs) or pension contributions. These contributions remain payable by the employer.
  • Employers must deduct and pay to HMRC income tax and employee NICs on the full amount that is paid to the employee, including any amounts subsequently met by a scheme grant.
  • Employers must also pay to HMRC any employer NICs due on the full amount that that is paid to the employee, including any amounts subsequently met by a scheme grant.
  • Employers must report these payments via a Full Payment Submission (FPS) to HMRC on or before the pay date in the normal way.
  • Employers and Employees must also still pay pension contributions in accordance with the applicable pension scheme terms unless the employee has opted out or stopped saving into their pension. If applicable Student Loan deductions and the Apprenticeship Levy must also still be paid.
  • Employers claiming the Job Support Scheme may still claim the Job Retention Bonus in respect of the same employee if they are eligible. 

"JSS OPEN" SchemeCovid 19 maco1

For businesses facing reduced demand the JSS Open scheme will give employers the option of keeping their employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.

The government has announced that it will increase the scale of support available to employers through JSS Open above what was initially announced, in order to protect more jobs.

The employee will need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours and the employer will continue to pay them as normal for the hours worked. Alongside this, the employee will receive 66.67% of their normal pay for the hours not worked - this will be made up of contributions from the employer and from the government.

The employer will pay 5% of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, with the discretion to pay more than this if they wish. The government will pay the remainder of 61.67%, of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. This will ensure employees continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3,125 a month or less.

Employers are eligible to claim the JSS Open if:

  • an employer with 250 or more employees on 23 September 2020 has undertaken a Financial Impact Test demonstrating their turnover has remained equal or fallen to show they have been adversely affected due to coronavirus; and
  • an employer with less than 250 employees on 23 September 2020 is not required to satisfy the test

The financial impact test for large employers means reviewing turnover and if it has remained equal or has decreased compared to the previous year, then they will qualify. This test only needs to be taken once before the employers first claim for the Job Support Scheme. The test will be done by comparing quarterly VAT returns for the period between 31 August 2020 and 7 November 2020, with the total sales figure from the same quarter in 2019. For those preparing monthly returns should compare the three consecutive months which are due to be filed and paid by 7 November 2020 with the same period in 2019.

Employers who file less frequently should compare the three consecutive months which are due to be filed and paid by 7 November 2020 with the same period in 2019 but will need to have submitted a VAT return between 31 August 2020 and 7 November 2020 to be eligible.

Large employers who are part of a VAT group will use the turnover figures for the VAT group for this calculation.

Any charity with 250 or more employees that is registered with a UK charity regulator or are exempt from such registration will not be required to carry out the test and are eligible for this scheme.

"JSS CLOSED" Scheme

Employers who have been legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK are eligible for JSS Closed.

This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection only services from their premises and those restricted to provision of food and/or drink outdoors.

Businesses premises required to close by local public health authorities as a result of specific workplace outbreaks are not eligible for this scheme.

Employers are only eligible to claim for periods during which the relevant coronavirus restrictions are in place. Employers will not be able to claim JSS Closed to cover periods after restrictions have lifted and the business premises are legally allowed to reopen. They may then be able to claim JSS Open if they are eligible.

Each employee who cannot work due to these restrictions will receive two thirds of their normal pay, paid by their employer and fully funded by the government, to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month, although their employer has discretion to pay more than this if they wish.Covid 19 maco2

Eligible employers will be able to claim the JSS Closed grant for employees:

  • whose primary workplace is at the premises that have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK
  • that the employer has instructed to and who cease work for a minimum period of at least 7 consecutive calendar days

The policy statement outlines closed temporary working agreements and recommends employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to their employment contract by written agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who they should instruct to cease work, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

To be eligible for the grant, employers must have reached written agreement with their employee (or reached written collective agreement with a trade union where the relevant terms are determined by collective agreement) that they have been instructed to and agree to stop working for a minimum of 7 consecutive calendar days. The agreement must be available for view by HMRC on request.

Employers must maintain records relating to the terms of these arrangements for each employee. They must:

  • notify the employee of the agreement in writing
  • make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
  • keep a written record of the agreement for 5 years
  • this agreement must be made available to HMRC on request
  • The employee must agree to the new arrangement.

Further guidance on the steps that employers need to take to calculate and make a claim to the Job Support Scheme will be published by the end of October. We will update members when the information is made available.

You can read more on gov.uk >read more 

Scotland: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Restrictions Fund

Eligibility and how to apply for a share of the £40 million fund to support businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions can be found on the Scottish Government website >Coronavirus (Covid-19) Restrictions fund

The Scottish Government has earmarked up to £40 million to support employees and businesses impacted by the restrictions.

You should apply directly through your local council. Applications opened on Tuesday 20 October 2020 and will close on Tuesday 3 November at 5pm. If your applicaiton is successful, payments will be made within 3 working days >read more and apply

The SG has pledged to work with the STUC, employer organisations and HMRC to deliver targeted support to employees as they fully recognise that employers are now liable for 20% of salary costs for furloughed workers.

A COVID-19 Restrictions Fund will be restricted to hospitality and other businesses required to close by the brake restrictions regulations. It operates as a two-tiered scheme, with a smaller grant of £2,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of under £51,000 and a larger grant of £3,000 for those businesses with a RV over £51,000. 

At the same time, Local Authorities will invite applications for a discretionary business hardship fund - with payments of up to £1,500 to support some businesses that remain open but are directly impacted by the restrictions, including those in the direct supply chains of firms that must close.

You can read more about eligibility and how to apply on the Scottish Government website >read more 

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Latest HMRC update on the support schemes to help businesses through the pandemic

Protect yourself from scams 

HMRC remind us all to stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic. Search 'scams' on GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and texts to 60599. 

They have provided further information on the support schemes available to help you through the pandemic:

Job Support Scheme
Self-Employed Income Support Scheme Grant Extended
Expansion of Job Support Scheme
Job Retention Bonus
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme

Expansion of Job Support Scheme

The government announced an expansion of the JSS, to provide temporary support to businesses whose premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions. (Details are outlined above).

Businesses can apply for the JSS including the new expansion even if they haven’t previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). JSS is available for six months, from 1 November, with payment of grants in arrears from early December. The scheme will be reviewed in January.

Search 'Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to COVID Restrictions’ and ‘Job Support Scheme factsheet’ on GOV.UK for more details. 

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Job Retention Bonus – guidance now live

Guidance for the Job Retention Bonus is now available. It includes information about how you can check if your employees are eligible and when you can claim the bonus.

Businesses will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee furloughed and claimed for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and kept continuously employed until at least 31 January 2021. You do not have to pay this money to your employee.

To be eligible, employees must earn at least £1,560 between 6 November 2020 and 5 February 2021 and have received earnings in the November, December and January tax months. Employees must also not be serving a contractual or statutory notice period for you on 31 January 2021.

You will be able to claim the bonus from 15 February until 31 March once you have submitted PAYE information for the period up to 5 February 2021. HMRC will let you know how you can make a claim when further guidance is published by the end of January.

You can still claim the Job Retention Bonus if you make a claim for the same employees through the Job Support Scheme, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for both.

Further information can be found on GOV.UK >read more

What you need to do now

If you intend to claim the Job Retention Bonus, you must:

• keep your PAYE submissions up-to-date and on time, with Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees, including reporting the leaving date for any employees that stop working for you in the month they leave or the next Full Payment Submission.

• use the irregular payment pattern indicator in RTI for any employees not paid regularly.

• provide any employee data for past CJRS claims that HMRC has requested.

• make sure all your CJRS claims have been accurately submitted and you have told HMRC about any changes needed (for example if you have received too much or too little).

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – changes from 1 October 19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 10

From 1 October, HMRC will pay 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work. 

Employers will continue to pay furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself. 

The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in October, you are entitled to claim 60% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to £937.50 (half of £1,875 cap).

You must still pay your employee at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they don’t work, so for someone only working half their usual hours you’d need to pay them up to £1,250 (half of £2,500 cap), funding the remaining portion yourself.

For help with calculations, search ‘Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV.UK >read more

You will also continue to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions from your own funds. 

The scheme closes on 31 October and you will need to make any final claims on or before 30 November. You will not be able to submit or add to any claims after 30 November.

Claimed too much in error?

It is important that you continue to check each claim is accurate before submitting it, and HMRC recommend checking previous claims so you can avoid any penalties for claiming too much.

If you have claimed too much CJRS grant and have not repaid it, you must notify HMRC and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:

• 90 days from receiving the CJRS money you are not entitled to
• 90 days from the point circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
• 20 October 2020, if on or before 22 July you received CJRS money you were not entitled to, or if your circumstances changed.

If you do not do this, you may have to pay interest and a penalty as well as repaying the excess CJRS grant. For more information on interest search 'Interest rates for late and early payments' on GOV.UK.

How to let HMRC know if you have claimed too much

You can let HMRC know as part of your next online claim without needing to call them. If you claimed too much but do not plan to submit further claims, you can let HMRC know and make a repayment online through the new card payment service – go to 'Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back' on GOV.UK.

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Further support 

Guidance and live webinars offering you more support on changes to CJRS and how they impact you are available to book online – go to GOV.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'.

If we submit your claims we will keep you up to date with the information we require and when we get details of the Jog Support Scheme we can use our JSS calculator to estimate your claims. Please talk to us about how we can help. 

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme 

If you deferred VAT payments that were due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, then these payments need to be made to HMRC by 31 March 2021. You can use the VAT 19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 15Deferral New Payment Scheme to spread these payments over equal instalments up to 31 March 2022. Alternatively, you can make payments as normal by 31 March 2021, or make Time to Pay arrangement with HMRC if you need more tailored support.

More information on the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme will be available on GOV.UK in the coming months >read more

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Updates to the Covid-19 Corporate Finance Facility

The COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) has provided £30 billion of direct support to some of the economy’s largest firms, who are responsible for almost 2.5 million jobs in the UK.

The CCFF provides temporary direct support to investment grade firms with short-term cash-flow problems and is designed to ensure that firms accessing government backed CCFF financing are able to repay.

To ensure the CCFF continues to meet its objectives, the Treasury has introduced a new access review process. Under which, the Treasury will continue to assess the credit quality of firms in the CCFF and, from today, will also ask firms to provide an up to date credit rating when requesting financing from the scheme.

Where the firm’s credit rating has dropped below investment grade, the Treasury will ask for additional information before deciding the appropriate level of support.

The varied package of financial support continues to be available for businesses with different requirements, which includes more than £10 billion in grants, supporting £58 billion of longer-term commercial loans, paying the wages of millions of furloughed employees, deferring tax bills and scrapping business rates. You can read more detail on gov.uk >read more

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Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test & Trace19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 04

Designated venues in certain sectors must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus.

Guidance has been updated to add further clarification on the venues in scope of the policy. Also added guidance on hospitality venues on how to verify whether an individual has checked in on the NHS COVID-19 App.

Venues in hospitality, the tourism and leisure industry, close contact services and local authority facilities must:

• ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details
• keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details
• keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested
• display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details
• adhere to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Hospitality venues must also take reasonable steps to refuse entry to those who refuse to participate. Failure to do any of these requirements could result in fixed penalty fines.

This guidance provides further instructions on how to fulfil these requirements >read more

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Related Links - Winter Economy Plan 2020-21 (announcements made on 24 September 2020 by the UK Chancellor)19796 MACO FINANCIAL ACUITY NEWSLETTER WEB FILES 01

A new Job Support Scheme, primarily targeted at small and medium employers, will be introduced covering employees who work at least one third of their normal hours >read more

The Chancellor confirmed that the furlough scheme will end on 31 October.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended to April 2021, with a revised basis >read more

The closure date for the four existing business loan schemes will be extended to the end of November.

Repayment terms for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loans (BBLS) will be relaxed, with the maximum term extended to 10 years >read more

The reduction in VAT to 5% for the hospitality and tourism industries will be extended to 31 March 2021 >read more

The deferred VAT and self-assessment payments due early next year can be repayable in instalments rather than as a lump sum >read more

 

 

 

Government extends Furlough to March and increases...
Winter Economy Plan 2020-21