Expanded job support scheme announced

Oct 12, 2020

The Chancellor recently announced the job support scheme (“JSS”) as part of the Winter Economy Plan. The scheme is designed to protect jobs where businesses remain open but are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19. On Friday last, the Government announced an expansion of the JSS in order to provide temporary support to businesses whose premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions.

The job support scheme

Under the JSS the government will contribute towards the wages of employees if they are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand. Employers will continue to pay the wages for the hours staff work. Employees must work at least 33% of their usual hours. For the hours not worked, the employer and the government will pay a third each of their usual wages (the government contribution is capped at £697.92 per month).

Expanded job support scheme

Under the expanded JSS, affected businesses will receive grants towards the wages of employees who have been instructed to and cease work. The Government will pay two thirds of employees’ wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages, but will need to cover employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

Employers can apply for the JSS and the new expansion even if they haven’t previously used the job retention scheme. JSS will be available for six months, from 1‌‌‌ November, with payment of grants in arrears from early December. The scheme will be reviewed in January.

Job retention bonus – guidance now live

Further guidance for the job retention bonus is now available which includes information about how employers can check if employees are eligible and when to claim the bonus.

Employers will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee furloughed and claimed for through the job retention scheme and kept continuously employed until at least 31‌‌‌‌‌‌ January 2021. Employers do not have to pay this money to their employees.

To be eligible, employees must earn at least £1,560 between 6‌‌‌ November 2020 and 5‌‌‌ February 2021 and have received earnings in the November, December, and January tax months. Employees must also not be serving a contractual or statutory notice period on 31‌‌‌ January 2021.

Employers will be able to claim the bonus from 15‌‌‌ February until 31‌‌‌ March once they have submitted PAYE information for the period up to 5‌‌‌ February 2021. HMRC will confirm how to make a claim when further guidance is published by the end of January.

Employers can still claim the job retention bonus if they make a claim for the same employees through the job support scheme, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria for both.

If you intend to claim the job retention bonus, employers must:

  • keep PAYE submissions up-to-date and on time, with Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees, including reporting the leaving date for any employees that stop working for you in the month they leave or the next Full Payment Submission;
  • use the irregular payment pattern indicator in RTI for any employees not paid regularly’;
  • provide any employee data for past CJRS claims that HMRC has requested; and
  • make sure all CJRS claims have been accurately submitted and you have told HMRC about any changes needed (for example if you’ve received too much or too little).