The UK Government has today (22 October 2020) announced changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which is due to begin on 1 November 2020, in recognition of the increasing pressure that businesses in some sectors and areas of the UK are facing.
Under the original plans for the JSS (first announced in September), the Government stated that employees would be required to work at least 33% of their usual hours and employers would have to pay employees’ normal pay for those working hours, plus a third of their usual wages for hours not worked (with up to a further third being funded by the Government).
In early October 2020, the Government introduced what it initially referred to as an ‘extension’ to the JSS, which provides more generous support for businesses that are legally required to close. In light of this extension, the two different types of support provided under the JSS are now being referred to as ‘JSS Open’ and ‘JSS Closed’, with the latter targeted at hospitality and leisure businesses that are required to close in certain regions.
However, businesses that are permitted to remain open, but are suffering significant decreases in demand due to Government restrictions expressed concern that the original JSS Open would not provide them with a sufficient level of financial support.
Responding to those concerns, the Government has confirmed:
- The minimum working hours requirement under the “JSS Open” will be reduced from 33% to 20% of employees’ usual hours, so that employees working just one day a week will be eligible for support.
In addition, the employer contribution to pay for employees’ unworked hours will be reduced from 33% to just 5%.
The Government will provide 61.67% of wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £1,541.75 per month. This is more than double the maximum Government contribution of £697.92 under the original version of the scheme.
For example: If someone were to be paid £587 for their unworked hours, the Government would be contributing £543 and their employer just £44. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, made clear that the JSS Open will apply to eligible businesses in all ‘alert levels’ across the UK.
The Government has published a revised factsheet setting out some further information on these latest plans for the JSS Open and has stated that this increased support will be reviewed in the new year.
In addition, check if you can claim the Job Retention Bonus from 15 February 2020. Click here.
Sources: Gov.UK and Make UK