New – Job Support Scheme Update FAQs
There are now 2 different types of support available to businesses depending upon their situations. Businesses that are still able to operate but at reduced capacity will be able to get wage support through JSS Open. Businesses that have been legally required to close their premises can claim the support they need through JSS Closed.
What are the General Eligibility requirements for both schemes?
Employers can only access the scheme if they have enrolled for PAYE online; or they have a UK, Channel Island or Isle of Man bank account.
Furthermore, employers can only claim for employees who were on their PAYE payroll on 23 September 2020.
What can be claimed under JSS Open?
Employers will be able to claim wage support for employees who are working 20% of their usual hours. This means employees now working 1 day a week where they originally worked 5 days a week, are eligible for the scheme. This is an enhancement to the original scheme announced on 24 September 2020.
The employer must pay the employee for the hours they work. Of the remaining unworked hours: the employer will pay for 5% of these hours, up to a maximum of £125 per month, and the government will subsidise 61.67% of the unpaid hours up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. This means employees who earn £3,125 per month or less will continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages.
What are the additional requirements specific to JSS Open?
As previously stated, employees must be working at least 20% of their usual working hours for a claim to be brought under JSS Open.
Furthermore, an employer with 250 or more employees on 23 September 2020 must undertake a Financial Impact Test to qualify for the scheme. If the employer’s turnover has remained equal or has decreased compared to the previous year, then they will qualify. Detailed information regarding this Financial Impact Test are set out in the guidance issued by Government on 23 October. Large employers who are part of a VAT group will use the turnover figures for the VAT group for this calculation.
Employers with under 250 employees on 23 September 2020 are not required to satisfy this test. Similarly any registered charity with 250 employees will not be required to carry out the test and are eligible for this scheme.
Can employees undertake voluntary training in unworked hours?
Yes. Employees are able to undertake voluntary training in unworked hours, although where training attracts minimum wage entitlement, employers must pay this.
What can be claimed under JSS Closed?
JSS Closed is aimed at employers who have been legally required to close their premises as a result of COVID-19, for example, those businesses within Tier 3 areas. Each employee who cannot work due to the restriction will receive two-thirds of their usual pay, paid by their employer, funded by the government up to a cap of £2,083.33 per month.
What are the additional requirements specific to JSS Closed?
In addition to the general requirements for both schemes, employers will be eligible to claim JSS Closed if their business premises at one or more locations has been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by the government. This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection only services from their premises and those restricted to provision of food and/ or drink outdoors. However, premises required to close due to specific workplace outbreaks are not eligible for this scheme.
Employers cannot claim under either scheme for an employee who has been made redundant or si serving a contractual or statutory notice period during the claim period.
Any other exceptions?
Operations that have publicly funded staff costs even if they are not in the public sector, should use that money to continue paying their staff and not use the Job Support Scheme. Operation can use the scheme if they are not fully funded by public grants, for the proportion of their revenue disrupted due to coronavirus. Further guidance is available from their sponsor department for guidance. Those eligible to claim should use the same process as all other employers.
When can employers claim?
Employers will be able to make their first claim from 8 December 2020 covering salary for pay periods ending and paid in November 2020.
Please note that this advice is correct as at 26 October 2020. We anticipate that this advice may change as the guidance is updated and we will provide updated advice as and when this becomes available. Please contact any member of the employment team or email@example.com if you require any further guidance and assistance.