Job support scheme expansion

12.10.2020
Dominic Smith
COVID-19, News

What is it?

The initial Job Support Scheme (JSS) was designed to help protect jobs that are viable during the pandemic, but where there is not enough work to keep someone employed for 100% of the time.

The JSS is now being expanded to support jobs where a business has been legally required to close as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK.

The scheme will pay 67% of an employee’s salary up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. An employer will not have to “top up” the wages in any way (although they can do if they wish). This means that on the wages and salary element, there is no cost to an employer to keeping an employee employed whilst they are not working – like the early days of Furlough Scheme (CJRS).

It is not completely cost free though. Employers will still have to pay any Class 1 National Insurance contributions and Employers Pension contributions – the JSS expansion does not cover these costs.

You can read our summary article on this here.    

Am I eligible?

Employers:

  • In line with the rules for the JSS already announced: all employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme registered on or before 23 September 2020 can claim the scheme. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment to that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before this date.
  • As mentioned above, the scheme will cover businesses who have been legally required to close. This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection only services from their premises.
  • The scheme will pay a grant to the employer calculated on the number of eligible employees who have been instructed to and cease work at the relevant premises.
  • Employers must have been instructed to and cease work for a minimum of 7 consecutive (calendar) days.
  • Businesses required to close as a result of specific workplace outbreaks by local public health authorities are not eligible for this scheme.
  • In line with the rules of the JSS already announced, neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Government expectation is that large employers using the Job Support Scheme will not be making capital distributions, such as dividend payments or share buybacks, whilst accessing the grant.

Employees

  • Employees can receive two-thirds of their normal wages not worked, up to a maximum is £2,100 per month. Details on how normal wages and normal hours are calculated are yet to be announced, but it is likely to be similar to the furlough scheme, which compares averages of the prior year against the equivalent prior pay period.
  • 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.

How can I claim?

The scheme is available for 6 months starting on 1st November, and the government will review the scheme in January. Any employees out of work due to business closure before 1st November will still fall under the current furlough scheme.

Payments will be made in arrears, and a HMRC claims service will be available in early December.

Other key points:

  • Employers using the JSS Expansion will still be able to claim the £1,000 per employee Job Retention Bonus (JRB) for employees provided they are eligible and previously part of the CJRS. JSS grants can be used by employers to pay an employee's wages and help meet the Job Retention Bonus Minimum Income Threshold of £520 per month.
  • HMRC will check claims. Payments may be withheld or need to be paid back if a claim is found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information. Grants can only be used as reimbursement for wage costs actually incurred.
  • Employers must agree the new scheme with the relevant 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.
  • HMRC intend to publish the name of employers who have used the scheme, and employees will be able to find out if their employer has claimed for them under the scheme. HMRC will continue to operate a hotline for individuals to make reports of any fraudulent claims they may be aware of.

Lovewell Blake can assist with all elements of the Job Support Scheme and Job Support Scheme Expansion, from HR to payroll. Please get in contact should you require assistance.

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