The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced further changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) on Thursday 22nd October 2020, looking to replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme at the end of October.
JSS has been split into two main schemes, one for those employers who have experienced decreased demand for their services due to Covid which has been named “JSS Open” and the other scheme for those employers who have been advised to close due to Covid restrictions – entitled “JSS Closed”
Employers facing decreased demand (JSS Open)
Many employers can operate safely but continue to face reduced demand so they may need extra support over the winter to help keep their employees attached to their workforce. For these employers, the Job Support Scheme, through JSS Open, will give employers the option of keeping their employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.
Recognising the evolving situation with the pandemic and health restrictions, and the pressures employers are facing this winter, the government has announced that it will increase the scale of support available to employers through JSS Open above what was initially announced, in order to protect more jobs.
The employee will need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours and the employer will continue to pay them as normal for the hours worked. Alongside this, the employee will receive 66.67% of their normal pay for the hours not worked – this will be made up of contributions from the employer and from the government. The employer will pay 5% of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, with the discretion to pay more than this if they wish. The government will pay the remainder of 61.67%, of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. This will ensure employees continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3,125 a month or less.
Employers who are legally required to close their premises (JSS Closed)
Employers have been legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK. For these businesses, the Job Support Scheme, through JSS Closed, will help them through the period that they are directly affected by these restrictions by supporting the wage costs of employees who have been instructed to cease work in eligible (closed) premises.
Each employee who cannot work due to these restrictions will receive two thirds of their normal pay, paid by their employer and fully funded by the government, to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month, although their employer has discretion to pay more than this if they wish . This will help protect employee incomes, limit unemployment and retain employer-employee matches so that these premises are able to reopen as quickly as possible when circumstances allow.
Employees may also be entitled to additional financial support, including Universal Credit.