Two types of Job Support Scheme introduced

On 22 October, the Chancellor announced changes to the Job Support Scheme. Here are the headline details of the amended scheme. Detailed guidance has yet to be published and it is this subsequent detail that will require careful scrutiny. 

There will be two schemes

  • JSS Open for employers facing decreased demand due to COVID-19 but are able to open 
  • JSS Closed for employers who are legally required to close due to COVID-19 restrictions.

JSS Open gives employers the option of keeping staff in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant. The key points are:

  • Employees will need to work at least 20% of their normal hours. 
  • They will receive normal pay for the hours they work and 66.67% of pay for the hours they do not work (subject to a cap of £3,125 a month) so that they will receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn up to £3,125 a month.
  • The employer must pay 5% of the salary for those hours not worked (subject to a cap of £125 a month). The government will pay 61.67% of salary for those hours not worked (subject to a cap of £1,541.75 a month). 

JSS Closed will support the wage costs of employees who have been instructed to cease work in eligible (closed) premises. The key points are:

  • Employees who cannot work due to these restrictions will receive two-thirds of their normal pay, fully funded by the government to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month.

The JSS Closed scheme is not available to employers that are required to close by local public health authorities as a result of specific workplace outbreaks.

For both JSS Open and JSS Closed:

  • The schemes will be open from 1 November 2020 until 30 April 2021, with a review in January 2021.
  • Employees do not need to have been furloughed under the CJRS to be eligible for either JSS.
  • Employers can top up wages for both schemes but must pay NI and pension contributions on the full amount paid to the employee. 
  • There must be a written agreement between employer and employee, agreeing to the changes for at least seven calendar days. The agreement must be made available to HMRC for up to five years.

Eligibility 

  • SME employers will be able to access the Job Support Scheme if they have enrolled for PAYE online and they have a UK, Channel Island or Isle of Man bank account. Employers with over 250 employees are also eligible if their turnover has fallen due to coronavirus. 
  • Employers whose staff costs are fully funded by public money (even if they are not in the public sector), should not use the Job Support Scheme. 
  • Employers can use the scheme if they are not fully funded by public grants, for the proportion of their revenue disrupted due to coronavirus. 
  • Claims can be made in arrears from 8 December for employees who were on an RTI submission made to HMRC between 6 April 2019 and 11:59pm on 23 September 2020. 
  • If an employee ceased employment after 23 September 2020 and was subsequently rehired, then employers can claim for them. 
  • Employers cannot claim for an employee who has been made redundant or is serving a contractual or statutory notice period during the claim period.  

HMRC has published a policy paper containing more details on the Job Support Scheme. The above is a summary and the policy paper makes it clear that there will be further eligibility conditions that are yet to be published.

We will update you once further details have been issued.