Guidance on the Job Support Scheme (JSS)

The JSS is the second phase in UK government support measure for organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What you need to know?

JSS will open on 1 November 2020 and run for six months, until April 2021.

The JSS will give support to those businesses which, while having enough work to continue to employ their workers, are facing reduced demand likely to continue into the winter months. The employer must continue to pay workers for hours worked, but support through the new JSS is available for the cost of the hours not worked.

  • The government will make a grant to the employer equal to the cost of one third of hours not worked up to a cap of £697.92 per month.
  • The employer will bear the cost of a further one-third of hours not worked.
  • For the first three months of the JSS, employees must work for at least one third of their normal working hours after which this minimum threshold will be reviewed by the Government (at the three-month point). Importantly, employer must agree reduced working hours with their employees and ensure that the employees are notified in writing.
  • The employee is unlikely to receive anything further for the remaining one third of hours not worked although further detailed guidance and legislation is expected to give more clarity about whether the employer could top up the salary further.

Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), although much of the practical detail is very reminiscent of the CJRS.

 

JSS Illustration

Tony works five days a week and earns £400. Following discussion, he agrees to accept the short-time working of two days per week (40%) and his employment contract is revised to reflect this. The employer is using the JSS.

Tony is paid £320 in accordance with her employment contract through the payroll and reported through RTI in the usual way.

The breakdown for employee JSS salary

Cost borne by Employer for time worked
40% x £400 = £160

Cost borne by Employer for the time not Worked
1/3 of the normal wages for time not worked: 1/3 x 60% x £400 = £80

Government grant
1/3 of the normal wages for time not worked: 1/3 x 60% x £400 = £80

Total pay to Tony = £320

 

Employers

JSS grants do not cover employers’ National Insurance Contributions or pension contributions. Employers must pay these costs as usual. The claims portal on gov.uk will open in December 2020.

  • Each claim will be submitted for a given pay period. Each claim must be after the employee has been paid and that payment has been reported to HMRC through RTI.
  • Grants reimbursing employers for the government’s contribution will be paid in arrears, on a monthly basis.
  • Employers using the JSS will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Any employer with a UK bank account and UK PAYE scheme can claim the grant.
  • Large businesses will have to meet a financial assessment test, which is to be based on turnover. Turnover must be lower now than it was before COVID-19 caused difficulties for the business. We do not yet know exactly what this test will look like.
  • There will be no financial assistance test for small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • There is an expectation that large employers will not be making dividend payments or share buybacks. Details on how this is to be defined are expected to be provided in further guidance.

 

Employees

  • Eligible employees must have been on payroll and have been included in a full payment submission made on or before 23 September 2020. This means that some newer employees who were not previously eligible for the furlough scheme can be entered into the JSS.
  • During the first three months of the scheme, 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021, employees must work at least 33% of their usual hours. The government will consider increasing this minimum threshold for the following period.
  • For a time not worked, employees will be paid up to two-thirds of their usual wage.
  • Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.