About the updated Government Job Support Scheme (POSTPONED)

23 Oct 2020 Alex Hastings    Last updated: 11 Nov 2020

The Government has introduced and announced changes to the Job Support Scheme (now postponed) which will open on 01 November 2020 following the closure of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) on 31 October 2020. 


Changes to the Job Support Scheme announced (POSTPONED AS OF 31/10/2020)

The Government first announced details of the JSS on 24 September. On 9 October, the Chancellor announced that an Expanded JSS would cover business closures due to coronavirus restrictions and the latest announcement on 22 October, confirms significant changes to the original scheme which we heard about on 24 September. The key changes announced on 22 October are:

  • Employees will be able to work a minimum of 20% of their normal hours under the scheme. Originally they were to be required to work 33% of their normal hours.
  • The employer will be required to contribute 5%, not 33% of employee hours not worked.
  • The Government will contribute 61.67% of non-worked hours, capped at £1,541.75 per month.
  • Employers can top up employee’s wages above the 5% contribution at their own discretion.

We have outlined the key principles of the updated JSS and the expanded JSS below along with the relevant Government Factsheets on the schemes which contain worked examples. 

What is the aim of the Job Support Scheme?

The Government's Job Support Scheme (JSS) has been introduced as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is coming to an end on 31 October 2020. The original JSS guidance stated that the Scheme is 'designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce'.

The Scheme will support employers who can provide some work to their employees but who need more time for demand to recover. The scheme will run from 01 November 2020 for six months to April 2021.

How does the JSS work?

  • Employers will pay employees for hours worked and employees must work at least 20% of their usual hours.
  • The Government will pay 61.67% of hours not worked (capped at £1,541.75 per month).  
  • Employers will pay 5% of non-worked hours, capped at £125 per month, and NICs and automatic enrolment pension contributions in full as a contribution.
  • Employers can top up employee’s wages above the 5% contribution at their own discretion.
  • Employees will be able to cycle on and off the scheme and do not have to be working the same pattern each month.

Who can use the JSS?

  • The employer and employee do not need to have previously used the CJRS to make a claim under the JSS. 
  • All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant.
  • Large businesses will have to meet a financial assessment test, so the scheme is only available to those whose turnover is lower now than before experiencing difficulties from Covid-19.
  • There will be no financial impact test for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and charities.
  • Any employee who has been on the payroll on or before 23 September 2020 can take part in the JSS.
  • Fully publicly funded organisations are not expected to use the scheme, as has been the case with the CJRS, but partially publicly funded organisations are eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted. All other eligibility requirements apply to these employers. 

Other important information about the JSS

  • Employers will be able to make a claim online through Gov.uk from December 2020. They will be paid on a monthly basis.
  • Grants will be payable in arrears meaning that a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given pay period, after payment to the employee has been made and that payment has been reported to HMRC via an RTI return. 
  • As with the CJRS, employers must agree the new short-time working arrangements with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing. This agreement must be made available to HMRC on request.
  • Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.

Updated Job Support Scheme Factsheet from 22 October 2020 - The Job Support Scheme Open Factsheet

Job Support Scheme Factsheet from 24 September 2020

Expanded Job Support Scheme

Businesses which are legally required to close due to local or national restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus will receive grants to pay up to two-thirds of the wages of staff who cannot work.

The Government has now said it will support firms that are affected by restrictions by paying two-thirds of each employee's salary, up to a maximum of £2,100/month per person. The support will be available for businesses that are forced to close.

  • The expanded JSS will offer grants to firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions to pay the wages of staff who cannot work. The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
  • Under the UK-wide scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pension contributions.
  • Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
  • The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. 

The Government says further guidance on the scheme will be issued by HM Revenue & Customs in due course.

The Government's Job Support Scheme Expansion for Closed Business Premises Factsheet


alex.hastings@nicva.org's picture
by Alex Hastings

Human Resources Manager

[email protected]

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