Ministers have announced that the Co-funded Payroll Scheme’ will now pay licensed premises, food wholesalers and sports centres up to 90% of their employees’ salaries rather than the previous limit of 80%, up to a increased monthly contribution cap of £1,800 per staff member.
Payments will be calculated based on how much income a business has lost compared to the previous year plus 20%, meaning a drop in earnings of 70% or more would lead a company to qualify for the full 90% rate of subsidy.
According to the latest announcement, the enhanced scheme will run until at least March, subject to government review.
The scheme was first launched in April to support businesses and employees whose incomes had been dramatically affected by the lockdown.
It was gradually tapered off from September, but has been reinstated for certain sectors following the resurgence of the virus and the closure of many businesses due to increasingly restrictive safety measures.
Businesses which have been forced to close will also be able to defer GST and social-security contributions during the last quarter of 2020 for up to two years.
Those who need further time will also be allowed to delay similar payments that were due in the third quarter of the year.
The Bank Loan Guarantee Scheme, under which the government underwrites bank loans to firms, has also been extended to March next year.
Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said that the scheme had supported ‘thousands of jobs’ and ‘hundreds of businesses’ through the pandemic.
‘It’s important that we continue to assess the situation and make amendments to the scheme as and when required,’ he said.
‘It is essential to help local business withstand the impact of the public measures, so ministers have decided to enhance the support, especially those sectors which have been hardest hit.’
He added: ‘The amended schemes that we are introducing will continue to protect jobs and focus on the businesses that have been most affected by the strict measures we have introduced to help counter the pandemic.
‘We will continue to keep all business-support measure under review to ensure we provide the appropriate support at every stage of the pandemic.’
Treasury Minister Susie Pinel said that the measures had been targeted at the businesses ‘most affected by the measures intended to keep Islanders safe’.
‘While we are continuing to focus on lives and livelihoods, we must prioritise the health of our community,’ she said.
‘I understand that, as government responds to the latest medical advice, we may introduce guidance which causes worry for business owners.
‘These support measures will provide some reassurance for businesses over the coming months.’
New businesses established since March 2020 in sectors which have been forced to close due to public health measures can now qualify for the payroll scheme.
Earlier this month the government also launched the visitor accommodation support scheme, which pays up to 80% of certain fixed costs for ailing hotel and guesthouses.