Job Support Scheme - Expansion
10th October 2020
The Government announced today (9 October 2020) an expansion to the Job Support Scheme, which was itself only announced two weeks ago.
The Job Support Scheme, which will commence on 1 November, is open to employers who will be able to claim a grant from HMRC in respect of their employees who are working reduced hours, though a key condition is that the employee works at least 33% of their usual hours. Following recent announcements in Scotland and parts of England and in anticipation of more businesses being forced to close due to government restrictions, the Chancellor today announced an expansion of the Job Support Scheme specifically for these businesses. According to the initial information, this Expansion applies only to businesses legally required to close as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
The JSS Expansion will also start from 1 November and run for six months, though a review will take place in January. This means that those businesses temporarily shutting from this evening will remain eligible only for the Job Retention Scheme (the ‘furlough’ scheme), and of course be bound by the rules specific to that scheme. Namely, that eligible employees will have to be have been furloughed previously and that the employee had to have been on the payroll on or before 19 March 2020.
With the new JSS and JSS Expansion, eligibility will be based on the employee being on the payroll as at 23 September 2020 and that employee need not have been previously furlioughed.
Under the JSS Expansion - so for those businesses legally forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions - employees may receive up to 2/3rd of their usual wages up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. Employers are responsible for paying the employees but can then reclaim this via a grant from HMRC from early December. There is no obligation on employers to make additional top-up payments, though all employer’s national insurance contributions and employer’s pension contributions must be covered by the employer and will not be reimbursed by HMRC.
There is currently no official Government web page giving specific details of the Expansion but this will be forthcoming in the next few days, but a search for ‘Job Support Scheme’ on HMRC’s website will show updates when they appear.