Job Support Scheme: Who is eligible?

23rd October 2020

With effect from 1 November 2020, the Job Support Scheme (“JSS”) will replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“furlough scheme”) which was in place from March 2020. The JSS will remain in place until 30 April 2021.

With effect from 1 November 2020, the Job Support Scheme (“JSS”) will replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“furlough scheme”) which was in place from March 2020. The JSS will remain in place until 30 April 2021.

Employers can use the scheme even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme it replaces.

To be eligible, employees will need to work at least 33 of their ‘usual’ hours for the first three months of the scheme. The government may increase the minimum amount of hours to be worked after three months.

For every hour not worked by the employee, the government will contribute a third of the usual hourly wage (up to a monthly cap of £697.92). The employer must also pay a third of the usual hourly wage for every hour not worked. The remaining third will be the shortfall in the employee’s pay.

Detailed government guidance is expected soon but working out an employee’s ‘usual’ wages is likely to be the same as calculating furloughed employees’ wages and will, therefore, depend on numerous factors including fixed or variable hours, regular overtime and applicable reference periods (which will depend on how long the employee has been employed).

As with the furlough scheme, to be eligible an employee must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll. For the JSS, the deadline for being included in the PAYE payroll was 23 September 2020.

Employees must be on reduced hours for a minimum period of 7 days but subject to that, employees can swap between working all of their ‘usual’ hours and reduced hours.

Employers will not be able to claim under the JSS if employees are made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which the employer is claiming a grant for that employee.

Eligibility from an employer’s perspective is based on meeting a financial assessment test in which an employer will have to show that its turnover is lower now as a result of Covid-19.

An employer remains responsible for Class 1 employer NICs and pension contributions.

Employers must notify employees in writing of agreed short-time working arrangements and make such documentation available to HMRC on request. Grants will be payable monthly in arrears after payment to the employee has been made and reported via an RTI return. Claims can be made online through GOV.UK from December 2020.

Claiming under the JSS, will not prevent an employer from making a claim for a Job Retention Bonus.

Job Support Scheme and Tier 3 Enforced Closures
The JSS has been expanded to include support for businesses which are required to close as part of Tier 3 local lockdown measures.

The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employee’s salary up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. Employers will remain responsible for Class 1 employer NICs and pension contributions.

This element of the JSS will also commence on 1 November 2020 (and is in addition to business grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses that are required to close).

For further advice on this topic contact Kate Smith at Kate.Smith@tayloremmet.co.uk and 0114 218 4297.

Please note this article should only be considered as guidance and should not be taken as specific legal advice.

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