Expansion to the Job Support Scheme announced
Following the announcement of the Government on 31 October 2020, the Job Support Scheme (which was due to commence on 1 November 2020) has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends. The furlough scheme has been extended until 31 March 2021. New guidance on the JSS was published on 30 October 2020, but this was marked as withdrawn on 1 November 2020 because of the extension to the furlough scheme. This post will be updated in due course. See our separate post here for further detail on the extension of the furlough scheme.
The Government has announced that the Job Support Scheme will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of Coronavirus restrictions.
Our separate post sets out what we know about how the Job Support Scheme will operate to help support the wages of employees where there is enough work to keep the employees employed for a minimum of 20% of their normal working hours.
However, the Government has now announced an expansion to the Job Support Scheme where the employer is legally required to close due to Coronavirus restrictions – during which time there will be no work for the employee (JSS Closed). The aim is that this will protect jobs and enable businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted. Guidance has now been published. So, what do we know so far?
The expansion to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) – key details
Which businesses will the expansions apply to?
Employers whose premises at one or more locations have been legally required to close as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four Governments of the UK. This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection only services from their premises and those restricted to provision of food and/or drink outdoors.
Eligible employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme registered on or before 23 September 2020 can claim.
Businesses required to close as a result of specific workplace outbreaks by local public health authorities are not eligible for the scheme.
The employer does not have to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Further guidance of conditions for eligibility will be published by the end of October.
Which employees will the expansion to the JSS apply to?
Eligible employers will be able to claim the grant for employees who were on their PAYE payroll between 6 April 2019 and 23 September 2020. They can only claim for employees that were in their employment on 23 September 2020.
Employees whose primary work place is at the premises that have been legally required to close and who have been instructed to and cease work. Employers will only be able to use the scheme for employees who cannot work (paid or unpaid) for that employer.
Employees must be instructed to and cease work for a minimum of 7 consecutive calendar days.
The employee does not have to have been previously furloughed to be eligible for the scheme.
Further guidance on eligibility requirements will be published by the end of October.
Does the employee have to consent?
Yes, the scheme must be agreed with employees (or trade union) and any changes must be made to the employment by agreement and notified to the employee in writing. The agreement must be retained for 5 years and be made available to HMRC on request.
How will the expansion to the JSS work?
The Government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ normal pay (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,083.33 a month.
Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages, although they can top up employee pay if they wish. Employers will be required to cover NICS and pension contributions. Payment will be made in arrears to the employer.
Interplay with details of the JSS previously announced
When premises re-open, employers can claim under the JSS for firms facing reduced demand (as set out in our previous article).
Interplay with redundancy
Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which the employer is claiming the grant for that employee.
How long will the expansion to the scheme last?
The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. Employers will be able to claim in arrears from 8 December 2020.
There is a reminder to employers that HMRC will check claims and withhold or reclaim any claims that are found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information. In addition, 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 the under the scheme.
Further guidance will be published in the coming weeks.
Originally posted 14 October. Updated 13 November 2020.
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