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Advice For Employers & HR Professionals

Update: Coronavirus Job Support Scheme (JSS)

This is no longer relevant guidance as the scheme has been withdrawn – 5th March 2021

Following the recent update to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) announced on 22 October 2020, we have updated our FAQ’s to help employers understand the changes. More detailed guidance from the government is expected later this week and we will update this note.

We believe that the updated scheme is likely to be of far wider use to employers than the original JSS structure announced in September. If you would like more information on the updated JSS and how you might be able to utilise it for your business, please get in touch.

When does the JSS run from?

The Scheme will run from 1 November 2020. It is expected to last a minimum of six months, so up to 30 April 2021, but there’s scope for it to be extended if necessary. The government is expected to conduct an interim review in January 2021.

What are the new categories of JSS Open and JSS Closed?

Different categories of JSS have been introduced to provide differing levels of support, depending upon whether an employer has been legally required to close their premises due to Covid.

‘JSS Open’ follows the original premise for JSS and is available to employers who can continue to operate, but where there is a reduced demand for staff. ‘JSS Closed’ applies where employers are legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions.

Which employers are eligible for JSS Open?

Small and medium sized businesses and charities (of any size) will be eligible for the JSS Open, including those that have not previously accessed the Job Retention Scheme/Furlough Scheme (JRS).

Larger employers (250 or more employees) will only be eligible for JSS Open if they can demonstrate that their turnover has remained the same or reduced due to the pandemic. For VAT registered larger employers, this will require a comparison of VAT returns for autumn 2019 and autumn 2020. Further guidance, including for larger employers who are not VAT registered is due shortly.

Which employers are eligible for JSS Closed?

Businesses of any size who are required to close their premises or who are restricted to delivery/collection only services due to government imposed coronavirus restrictions and whose employees do not work as a result will be able to claim JSS Closed.

Which employees will qualify?

Employees need to have been on the employer’s payroll on or before 23 September 2020 to qualify. To claim JSS Open, employees need to be working at least 20% of their normal hours (down from 33% of their hours as originally set out under the JSS). To claim JSS Closed, employees must not be working at all. Employees do not need to have been furloughed previously to be eligible for either JSS Open or JSS Closed.

Is there a minimum claim period?

Employees can be moved in and out of the scheme, and do not have to work the same pattern each month to stay within the scheme, but there is a minimum period of a week for each eligible short-time working pattern. JSS Closed can only be claimed for periods when coronavirus restrictions affect their business.

Can employers claim under both JSS Open and JSS Closed?

Yes, if an employer’s premises are legally required to close, JSS Closed can be used for staff who do not work at all as a result. If some employees are still able to work (e.g. providing deliveries or working from home) then JSS Open can be claimed for any of an employee’s usual hours which are not worked.

Who pays what for JSS Open?

The employer must pay the employee at their normal rate for the hours that they work.

The cost of the unworked hours is then split three ways:

  • the employer pays 5% (up to £125 per month);
  • the government pays 61.67% (up to a cap of £1,541.75 per month);
  • the remainder is effectively the employee’s contribution and is unpaid.

So, an employee working 20% of their normal hours will receive:

  • 20% of normal pay for hours worked
  • 67% of normal pay in respect of the 80% of hours not worked, made up of:
    • 5% of the 80% (i.e. 4%) paid by the employer
    • 67% of the 80% (i.e. 49.34%) paid by the government.

This gives an employee working 20% of their hours 73% of their wages (assuming the government cap is not engaged).

Who pays what for JSS Closed?

The government will meet the cost of 66.67% of the employee’s normal pay, up to a limit of £2,083.33 per month. The employer is not required to make a payment.

How is JSS claimed?

Similar to its predecessor the JRS, it will be for the employer to pay the employee’s wages in full and reclaim the relevant proportion of the wage costs (up to the relevant limits as appropriate) from HMRC via the online portal. Grants will be paid monthly in arrears for wages incurred. HMRC will be undertaking checks and payments will be withheld or need to be paid back if fraudulent or based on incorrect information. JSS claims can be made from 8 December.

Can I claim employer NICs or pension contributions under the grant?

No. Employers must meet the NICs and pension contributions on the full amount paid to the employee under JSS Open and JSS Closed.

Can I utilise the JSS for redundancy notice costs?

No. Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during any period for which the employer is claiming the grant. This is to be contrasted with the JRS where the costs of notice pay could be reclaimed.

What documentation will I need to put in place with the employee?

As with the flexible furlough arrangements, where you are varying an employee’s hours and/or their pay under their contract of employment, you should agree these changes with the employee in advance and notify their new working hours and/or pay in writing. Further guidance on what needs to be included in the written agreement is expected shortly.


Last updated 28 October 2020

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