The Chancellor has just announced a new package of support to help businesses retain staff once the furlough scheme ends on 31 October 2020. It aims to support the wages of people in work and give employers the option to keep people in work on shorter hours rather than make them redundant.

The details will be published later, but the headlines are as follows:

1. The scheme is called the Job Support Scheme and will start on 1 November 2020 and last for six months until 30 April 2021.

2. It is only available to business who can demonstrate that they have 'viable jobs'. This means that employees in viable jobs must work for at least 1/3 of their normal hours and their employer must pay them their normal rate for those hours. The Government and the employer together will then increase those employees’ wages covering 2/3 of the pay they have lost by reducing their working hours. The government will pay a maximum of £697.20 per month.

3. The government will target its support on those businesses that need it most. All SME's are eligible. However, larger employers will only be able to receive support if their turnover has fallen during the crisis.

4. The new scheme is open to employers across the UK even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme.

5. Businesses who are eligible for the Job Retention Bonus can still claim under this new scheme.

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