Yesterday (22 October 2020) HMRC published a policy paper headed The Job Support Scheme.
The schemes will now be known as JSS Open, for employers facing decreased demand and JSS Closed, for employers which have been legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK.
Under JSS Open, an employee will need to work at least 20% (no longer 33%) of their normal hours. They will receive normal pay for the hours they work, and two-thirds of pay (which will ensure employees continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3,125 a month or less) for the hours they do not work. For that two-thirds top-up, the government will pay 61.67% and the employer will pay 5%, plus NI and pension contributions on the full amount. This is a significant change from the previous 50:50 split towards the two-thirds top-up, shifting the financial cost overwhelmingly to the public purse.
Under JSS Closed, the position remains that each employee will receive two thirds of their normal wages which will be funded by the government, (with a cap biting against those who earn more than £3,125pm), although their employer has discretion to pay more than this if they wish.
Employees may also be entitled to additional financial support, including Universal Credit.
There must be a written agreement between employer and employee, agreeing to the changes for JSS Open and JSS Closed.
Which businesses will be eligible to claim JSS?: All SMEs, and large business if, according to their VAT returns, their turnover has fallen due to coronavirus.
Fully funded public sector employers cannot claim.
The Job Support Scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until 30 April 2021. The government will review the terms of the scheme in January.
Employers will be able to claim in arrears from 8 December 2020, with payments made after the claim has been approved.
It is hoped the Job Support Scheme will provide different types of support to businesses so they can get the right assistance, at the right time, according to their situation.
A Treasury Direction is expected to be issued soon.