The employee ‘Job Support Scheme’ replaces the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme (CJRS). It was announced in the chancellor's Winter Economy Plan in September 2020. 

At a glance

  • The employee Job Support Scheme (JSS) scheme replaces the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which ends on 31 October 2020.
  • The JSS opens on 1 November 2020 and will run for six months.
  • Employees must work at least 33% of their 'usual hours'.
  • Employees should be paid as normal for the hours worked. For every hour not worked the employer and the government meet an extra one-third of the employees' usual pay, the government contribution (grant) to be capped at £697.92 per month.
  • Employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020.
  • Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

What's New?

On 22 October 2020, the scheme was amended: further details are awaited.

According to government:

  • The government will provide up to 61.67% of wages for hours not worked, up to £1541.75 per month. The cap is set above median earnings for employees in August at a reference salary of £3,125 per month.
  • Example: a typical full-time employee in the hospitality industry is paid an average of £1,100 per month. Under the JSS they will still take home at least £807 a month. All the employer needs to pay is a total of £283 a month or just £70 a week; the government will pay the rest.

On 9 October 2020 the scheme was extended for UK businesses whose premises are legally required to shut as part of local or national restrictions:

  • The government will pay 67% of each employees’ salary up to a maximum of £2,100 a month for a period of six months.
  • Employers are not required to contribute to salary costs but can do so if they wish. They will need to cover NICS and pension contributions.
  • Employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
  • Businesses already closed on 1 November 2020 can claim with effect from 9 October 2020.

Who is eligible?

  • All employers with UK bank accounts and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) schemes, even if they have not used the CJRS.
  • The scheme applies to all Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Large businesses are only eligible if they can show that their turnover is reduced due to COVID-19.
  • Employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020 and Real-Time Information (RTI) submissions notifying employee payments to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September 2020.
  • Employees must not already be on notice of redundancy when the employer starts using the scheme for them.

How is the JSS calculated?

There are two parts to this:

1. The employee works for at least 33% of their usual hours and the employer pays the employee their usual contracted wages for the actual hours worked. This means that the amount paid by the employer for this part will be not less than for a minimum of 33% of usual hours.

2. For each hour not worked by the employee, the government and employer will each contribute to pay a further third of the usual hourly wage for that employee. The government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month.

  • Where the Government contribution has not been capped employees will earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages. 
  • The grant will not cover Class 1 employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions which will remain payable by the employer.
  • 'Usual wages' will follow a similar calculation methodology as for the CJRS. More guidance is expected in due course.
    • Employees who have previously been furloughed under the CJRS will have their underlying usual pay and/or hours used to calculate usual wages and not the amount they were paid whilst on furlough.

For example:

HMRC have issued the following example to show how much employees will receive compared to their normal earnings depending on much work they do, and how much it will cost their employer.

Beth normally works five days a week and earns £350 a week. Her company is suffering from reduced sales due to Coronavirus. Rather than making Beth redundant, the company puts Beth on the JSS, working two days a week. 

  • Her employer pays Beth £140 for the two days she works (40% of her usual hours).
  • For the time she is not working (three days or 60%, worth £210), she will also earn 2/3, or £140, bringing her total earnings to £280, 80% of her normal wage.
  • The government will give a grant worth £70 (1/3 of hours not worked, equivalent to 20% of her normal wages) to Beth’s employer.
  • The employer then tops up pay by £70, so that she receives £140 for not working.

The government provided a table to show how this works, this is our enhanced version:

% of usual hours worked

33%

40%

50%

60%

70%

% of usual hours not-worked, due to COVID-19

67%

60%

50%

40%

30%

Employee gross earnings under JSS (% of normal pay)

78%

80%

83%

87%

90%

Government grant (as a % of normal pay)*

22%

20%

17%

13%

10%

Cost to employer (as a % of normal pay), ignoring NICs

55%

60%

67%

73%

80%

* subject to the £697.92 cap


How to claim

  • The scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 to the end of April 2021.
  • Employers will be able to make a claim from December 2020 online through Gov.uk. This applies to both the JSS and extended scheme for businesses forced to close due to local restrictions.
  • Grants will be payable monthly in arrears. A claim can only be submitted in respect of a given pay period and only after payment to the employee has been made.
  • Employers must agree on the new short-time working arrangements with their 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.
  • Employee payments must have been reported to HMRC via an RTI return.

Other conditions of the scheme

  • Employers can move their employees on and off the scheme.
    • They do not have to work the same pattern each month.
    • Each short-time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days.
  • HMRC have said they 'expect' large employers not to make capital distributions such as dividend payments and share buybacks whilst they are using the scheme
  • Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during any period in which their employer is claiming JSS for them.
  • Grants can only be used as reimbursement for wage costs actually incurred.
  • Employers must agree on the new short-time working arrangements with their 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.

The government is warning employers that HMRC will check claims and payments may be withheld or will need to be paid back if a claim is found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information. 

Links

COVID-19: Government support tracker
This tracker covers measures announced by the government to support individuals and businesses, as we get through COVID-19.

Job Retention Bonus
The bonus is a one-off payment to employers of £1,000 for every employee who they previously claimed for under the Coronavirus Employee Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and whose employment is maintained until the end of January 2021.

COVID-19: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: a cash grant that is designed to allow employers to retain staff who would otherwise be laid off.

RTI: Real-Time Information for PAYE
RTI is reporting payroll almost in 'real time' to HMRC: employers report to HMRC electronically in advance of making any salary or wage payments to employees.

External link

HM Treasury 'Job Support Scheme Factsheet'

 

 

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