Job Support Scheme (JSS) – Update

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) replaces the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which ends on 31 October. It was first announced on 24 September but substantial changes, outlined in a Policy paper published on 22 October, have been made to the original proposal. The new scheme will operate for 6 months from 1 November 2020. Claims can be made from 8 December 2020.

There are in effect two different schemes – JSS Open and JSS Closed.

Employers can claim the JSS Open grant where some or all of their employees are working reduced hours. There is no Financial Impact Test for employers with less than 250 employees, it is only necessary that the employee must work at least 20% of their normal hours. The employer must pay them for the hours worked. In addition to that they must be paid two thirds of their normal wages for the hours not worked, with the employer funding 5% of that, up to a maximum of £125 per month and the Government 95%, up to a maximum of £1,541.75. For an employee earning less than £3,125 per month they will be guaranteed at least 73% of their normal wages.

Employers are eligible to claim JSS Closed grant if their business premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four Governments of the UK. This includes premises which are restricted to delivery or collection only services and those restricted to serving food and/or drink outdoors. Employers can pay each employee who cannot work due to these restrictions two thirds of their normal pay up to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month, fully funded by the grant. Business premises required to close by local public health authorities as a result of specific workplace outbreaks are not eligible.

To be eligible for both schemes employers must have a written agreement with their employees, agreeing to a temporary working arrangement (JSS Open) or to stop working (JSS Closed) for at least 7 consecutive days, available to be viewed by HMRC on request. Employers must pay employees their full net wages, including the amount covered by a grant, and deduct and pay PAYE/NIC to HMRC. Employers NIC and pension contributions will not be reimbursed by the JSS grant.

Eligible employees are those who were in employment on 23 September 2020, with an RTI Full Payment Submission having been made at any time between 6 April 2019 and 23 September 2020. They do not have to previously have been furloughed under the CJRS. They can cease employment after 23 September and be rehired. An employer can claim both JSS Open and JSS Closed for different employees.

On 15 February 2021 employers can claim a Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 per employee who was furloughed under the CJRS and who is continuously employed until 31 January 2021. This bonus can still be claimed if the employer makes a claim for that employee under the JRS.

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