Job Support Scheme – significant change to the JSS announced today

In a further attempt to try and keep employees in jobs in an ever evolving landscape, the Chancellor has today announced changes to the Job Support Scheme ("JSS").

The JSS originally required employees to be working 33% of their normal hours and for employers to cover 33% of the wages for the hours.

The announcement today has made the scheme much more appealing to employers and has:

• Reduced the minimum working hours required to 20%
• Reduced the employer's financial contribution for non-worked hours to just 5%
• Increased the Government contribution to hours not worked to 62% (up to a cap of £1,541.75 per month)

In practice, this means that employees can work just 1 day a week and still earn 73% of their normal income (unless they earn more than £3,125 per month in which case the cap will impact upon them), with employers only paying a small contribution towards hours not worked (5% plus pension and employer NICS contributions) and the government picking up most of the difference to make up the employee's lost wages.

The scheme will run for 6 months from 1 November 2020 and will be reviewed in the new year.

This altered "JSS Open" (which is used to refer to businesses which have not legally required to shut) is open to eligible employers UK-wise regardless of which tier they sit in geographically. All SMEs will be eligible but Large employers (defined as those with more than 250 employees) will need to be able to demonstrate that their turnover has either stayed level or dropped compared to pre-covid trading.

Employees need to be on your RTI payroll in the period between 6 April 2019 and 23 September 2020 to be eligible.

Employers will continue to receive the £1000 Job Retention Bonus.

No changes have been made to the support scheme for businesses who are legally required to close due to Government restrictions. The Government will still cover two thirds of normal pay (up to £2,100) for employee wages in such circumstances. This is being referred to as "JSS Closed".

The link to the press release can be found here and the detailed factsheet here. More detailed guidance is anticipated.

What should you do?

Unless you know you do not plan to use the JSS Open or Closed scheme (perhaps because there is currently no work that can be done), it would be sensible to consider getting agreement from relevant employees to go onto the JSS Open or the JSS Closed as/when and if it becomes necessary. We have a template consent letter that you can use.

Please contact your usual Foot Anstey lawyer to request this and discuss implementation:

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