Job Support Scheme expansion

12 October 2020

The Government’s proposed successor to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which closes on 31 October 2020, was first announced on 24 September 2020 (see our ‘stop press’ article). The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will take effect from 1 November 2020 and is designed to provide assistance to employers with the cost of paying staff who are only working a proportion of their normal hours.

On 9 October 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an extension to the JSS, aimed at businesses required to close as a result of locally or nationally-imposed coronavirus restrictions.

The proposed extension of the JSS will operate as follows:

  • the Government will pay two thirds of each employee’s normal pay, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month, in respect of employees who are unable to work due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions
  • the JSS will be available to UK employers of any size, although it is anticipated that large employers will be required to meet a financial assessment test in order to be eligible to claim under the scheme
  • employers are not required to have previously used the CJRS to furlough staff in order to be entitled to use the JSS
  • employers will not be required to contribute towards the wage cost (although can elect to do so), but will be required to pay employer NICs and pension contributions on the amount claimed
  • to be eligible to claim under the extended scheme, employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days
  • employees cannot be made redundant, or be put under notice of redundancy, during the period of a claim under the JSS
  • as with the CJRS, employers must agree the arrangements with the individual employee and confirm the agreement in writing
  • the scheme will run from 1 November for six months, subject to a further review in January 2021.
  • claims will have to be made online in arrears, through a HMRC portal that will be available from early December
  • HMRC will undertake checks of JSS claims and will also publish the name of employers who have used the scheme. Employees will be encouraged to report any suspected fraudulent claims to HMRC
  • in addition, cash grants of up to £3,000 per month (payable every two weeks) will be available to businesses required to close, linked to rateable values.

The Government has published a factsheet setting out how the proposed scheme will work, with further guidance due to be published in the ‘coming weeks’.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at October 2020.