Rishi Sunak announces changes to Job Support Scheme for freelancers

Posted on 22 October 2020

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a change to the current Job Support Scheme. Extra funds are now set to go to qualifying freelancers with additional money also going to companies whose full-time workers are returning to work on part-time schedules.

Self-employed workers affected by coronavirus crisis to receive a higher amount in grants

Freelance workers will now be eligible to receive grants at a value 40 per cent of their average earnings as part of a new amendment to the UK Government's Job Support Scheme (JSS). The Self-Employment Scheme (SEISS) has been implemented to provide much-needed aid to those unable to work during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and was already extended earlier this year alongside the JSS.

The changes to the scheme come after public outcry on the Government's value of the freelance support measures (which would have meant grants in the amount of only 20 per cent of a freelancer's average monthly earnings). The government has doubled the value of the SEISS for future earnings to 40 per cent, with a maximum monthly grant amount of £3,750.

The terms for the JSS have also been altered with employers now required to pay a minimum of 20 per cent of usual hours worked along with another 5 per cent of hours not worked while the UK Government will provide funds for 62 per cent of hours not worked.

The new scheme changes will be made available all across the UK and come after an increase in lockdowns, restrictions, companies affected by curfews, and limits on households meeting inside.

Problems still remain for some freelancers who don't qualify

A number of industry leaders including Sonia Friedman criticised the Chancellor for his original scheme, which was labelled as an "insult" for the creative and performing arts industry.

Despite the changes, the scheme is still plagued with issues with large amounts of freelancers being ineligible for support due to the nature of their income. Today, it was revealed that 170,000 jobs within the live music industry may be lost by Christmas as a result of the pandemic.

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.