A Guide to the New Job Support Scheme

With the furlough scheme coming to an end, plenty of businesses and employees have been worried about what this means for them. The good news is that in September, the government announced a new Job Support Scheme (JSS) to follow on from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and applications are due to open soon.

This article contains:

  • What is the Job Support Scheme?
  • What is the difference between JSS Open vs. JSS Closed?
  • How does the Job Support Scheme work?
    • For JSS Open
    • For JSS Closed

What is the Job Support Scheme?

The new scheme, simply called the Job Support Scheme (JSS) is designed to support businesses struggling to keep staff on during the winter months.

The new Job Support Scheme will open for new applications on the 1st November 2020 and is designed to run until at least 30th April 2021. The government says that the terms of the JSS will be reviewed in January 2021 but we’ll keep you updated on any changes.

The Job Support Scheme will allow employers to claim in arrears from the 8th December 2020 through an online application. However, the grant will only be paid once HMRC has reviewed the application and approved it.

While the JSS is not a complete replacement of the CJRS, there are some similarities. Both are designed to help businesses affected by COVID-19 stay open and for people to keep their jobs. However, JSS will have two different versions of the scheme – JSS Open and JSS Closed.

What is the difference between JSS Open vs. JSS Closed?

The difference between JSS Open and JSS Closed is whether your business is either:

  • Open and affected by COVID-19
  • Legally required to close

For example, a bar or gym required to close would be eligible for JSS Closed. An estate agency or a shop may qualify for JSS Open.

How does the Job Support Scheme work?

There are slightly different rules on how much employers must pay their staff in either version of the scheme. These rules were also updated on 22nd October.

For JSS Open

For businesses and employees that fall under JSS Open, employees will need to work at least 20% of their usual working hours. Employers must pay them in full for this work.

For the remaining 80% of usual hours worked, the government will pay 61.67% of their usual wages. This is up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. Employers must pay at least 5% of the usual hours not worked (up to a maximum of £125 a month).

This means that employees will receive at least two-thirds of their usual pay for hours they are not working plus 20% of their usual wages.

For JSS Closed

For businesses which have to shut down this winter, the government will pay 67% of employees’ wages – up to a maximum of £2,083.33 a month. Employers will not be legally required to contribute to those wages at all but can do if they choose to.

Employers will, however, have to cover National Insurance Contributions and auto-enrolment contributions.

An important note about JSS Closed businesses is that they will only be eligible for this grant if their area is subject to Tier 3 restrictions. Employees must also be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.

For further information on the Job Support Scheme, the government has published a paper to explain all the finer details.

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