Policy paper published on the new Job Support Scheme

27th October 2020 Employment

HMRC has published a policy paper in respect of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) which has been extended following the recent introduction of the tier system. The scheme will run from 1st November 2020 until 30th April 2021 and will now have two strands – JSS Open and JSS Closed.

JSS Open

JSS Open is designed to support businesses where staff are working reduced hours, due to a decrease in demand for their services. In order to qualify for support under JSS Open, employees will now need to work at least 20% of their normal hours. This has recently been reduced from the 33% which was originally announced by the government on 24th September. There must also be a written agreement between the employee and the employer agreeing to the terms of the scheme.

For the hours they work, an employee will receive their full normal pay. For the hours which they are not working and usually would be, they will now receive two thirds of their pay. The two thirds will be paid up to 61.67% by the government (up to a maximum of £1,541.75), with the employer being responsible for the final 5% (up to a maximum of £125 per month). Employers will also be responsible for National Insurance and pension contributions and these must be paid on the full amount the employee is being paid under the scheme.

JSS Closed

JSS Closed is specifically available for those businesses which have been forced to close under the lockdown restrictions. Where a business is closed, resulting in an employee not being able to work at all, the employee will be entitled to two thirds of their normal wages and the government will fund the full two third payment (up to a maximum of £2,083.33). However, the employer will still be required to pay the employees National Insurance and pension contributions in line with the two third payment amount. Employers are not required to contribute any of the employees’ wages, however, if they wish to top up the government contribution they are able to.

Again, there must be a written agreement in place between the employee and the employer agreeing to the terms of the scheme for the parties to qualify and claim the payment.

Employers can make their first claim for the scheme from 8th December for payments made in November. Further guidance on making a claim is due to be published by the end of the month.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The government has also increased the support available for the self-employed and will provide a grant of 40% of three months average trading profits between November 2020 and January 2021. This grant will be available to those who are encountering a reduced demand for work due to Covid-19 and those who have had to cease trading altogether, due to lockdown rules.

If you need advice or have any queries about dealing with any workplace issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact Paul Chamberlain or another member of the employment team at JMW Solicitors LLP on 0345 241 5305.

This note is for general guidance only and should not be used for any other purpose. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. 

JMW Solicitors is a Limited Liability Partnership. The copyright in this note is owned by JMW. Any reproduction of this article should be credited to JMW. All rights reserved.

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Grace O'Driscoll is a Solicitor located in Manchesterin our Employment department

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Paul Chamberlain is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchesterin our Employment department

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