Do Tier 3 lockdown area workers get paid 80% of their wages?

WORKERS in Tier 3 lockdown areas can get extra wage support if they can't do their job due to tougher coronavirus restrictions.

Boris Johnson has repeatedly said employees can get up to 80% of wages if firms have to close but in reality many workers will get less.

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It comes as the government's Job Support Scheme (JSS) will replace furlough from November 1 and there are two parts to it – "Open" and "Closed".

The Closed part is for workers in Tier 3 lockdown areas, while the "Open" part offers support for workers who've had hours cut due to a drop in demand for services or lockdown restrictions.

The JSS is open to any worker in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales whose workplace has been ordered to close for at least seven days or where its opening hours have been restricted by devolved governments.

It was also made more generous by the Chancellor yesterday.

Here we take you through how the Closed scheme will work and how much of your salary you'll be paid.

Do Tier 3 lockdown workers get paid 80% of wages?

The Closed part of the scheme will cover 67% of wages, up to £2,083.33 a month, if firms in Tier 3 have been forced to temporarily shut down.

Employees must agree in writing with employers before being put on JSS Closed.

Government funding will cover the full 67% with bosses not having to shell out anything for salaries, although in practice employers will continue to pay employees like normal and then claim the costs back from the state.

This is a drop from the 80%, up to £2,500 a month, employees get on the furlough scheme, which currently comes from a mixture of the government and their bosses.

Low-income families can, however, top up wages to 80% by applying to Universal Credit – but they'll only get the full wage top-up if they are entitled to the full amount of benefits.

Workers whose Universal Credit payments are reduced because they have more than £6,000 in savings will not see wages topped up to 80%.

People with more than £16,000 in savings are not be able to claim benefits.

What help is there for self-employed workers?

SELF-employed workers will able be able to benefit from a government grant of up to £3,750 – double the support of what was on offer before.

The Treasury previously said it would cover 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875, covering November to January next year.

But it will now increase this amount to 40%.

An additional second grant will also be available for self-employed workers to cover February 2021 to the end of April.

The government hasn't said how much this second grant will cover.

It's not clear if new claimants whose Universal Credit payments are automatically reduced due to repaying an advance loan or debt arrears will see salaries topped up to 80% either. We'll update this article when we know more.

The Department for Work and Pensions says there are no special rules around Universal Credit applications for workers in Tier 3.

What about workers who are not on low incomes?

Workers who are not eligible to apply for Universal Credit will only receive up to 67% of their wages from the government if their place of work has been forced to close.

Employers can choose to top this up but they don't have to.

If they don't, employees will be left 33% worse off.

People who typically earn more than the £2,083.33 per month cap will also lose out.

What other help is there for workers?

The government's JSS "Open" offers support for workers who've had hours cut due to a drop in demand for services or lockdown restrictions, such as the 10pm curfew for pubs.

Employees must work a minimum of 20% of their contracted hours in order to qualify for the JSS.

For hours they don't work, they will get 61.67% of wages paid and they will lose 33% of pay.

What is a payment holiday and should you apply for one?

PAYMENT holidays are when a lender agrees to pause your monthly repayments for a set amount of time.

This has to be agreed in advance, so don't stop making your repayments until your bank has given you permission to do so.

The majority of lenders are now offering payment holidays, so get in touch with your bank to find out what help it can give you.

You will need to do this before October 31 as this is when the blanket help is due to end.

Most of the time, it'll require you to fill out an online form.

Typically, payment holidays are offered in extreme circumstances and are designed as an emergency measure to help you through a difficult financial time.

If you think you need to take one, you should speak to your lender to discuss your options – but do note that the break in payments doesn’t remove any debt or financial obligations.

Most lenders will also still charge interest during this time, so be aware that these costs will keep building up.

You should also always continue to make your normal payments if you’re financially able to.

Sue Anderson, head of media at debt charity StepChange, said: “If you can continue to make your normal payments without difficulty, then you should. 

“Any temporary measures being offered by lenders don’t remove financial obligations – they are designed as an emergency measure to help you get through a period where your income may have taken a serious knock.

“However, if you need to use them then you shouldn’t hesitate to talk to your lenders. 

“While taking a payment break would usually be noted on your credit file, the credit reference agencies have confirmed that, during the current crisis, this should not have a future influence on your credit status.”

This is made up of the government paying 61.67% of non-worked hours while employers will pay 5% of non-worked hours.

The government will pay up to a maximum of 1,541.75 per month for non-worked hours.

While employers will pay up to a maximum of £125 a month for non-worked hours.

The caps are based on a monthly salary of £3,125 a month.

It means that a full-time employee paid £1,100 per month would get £807 a month.

Employers will pay £283 while the government will pay the rest.

All employers with UK bank accounts and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. They don't need to have use the furlough scheme to apply.

Large companies (with more than 250 employees) have to meet a financial impact test before claiming.

There is no financial impact test for SMEs or charities.

Staff on any contract are eligible, even those on zero hours or agency workers.

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