Last week, the government published its policy paper on the Job Support Scheme. The scheme, which was initially intended to support employers who were able to continue employing staff on a proportion of their normal hours, has been extended to cover businesses who are forced to close as a result of local restrictions. There are therefore two types of claim that can be submitted under the scheme: JSS Open and JSS Closed.
An employer who is not forced to close their business can claim for employees who work a minimum of 20% of their normal hours. Employers will note that this is less than the initial requirement to work at least 33%, a welcome change for many.
Employees will receive their normal salary for the hours worked and two-thirds of their pay for unworked hours (subject to a monthly maximum of £3,125). Employers will be responsible for paying the employee in respect of worked hours and for 5% of the two-thirds pay for unworked time, the government will cover the remaining 61.67%.
All SMEs will be eligible for support under the JSS Open scheme, large businesses (those employing 250+ individuals as at 23 September) must undertake a Financial Impact Test to demonstrate that their turnover has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
If your business is forced to close as a result of local restrictions the government will cover two-thirds of your employees’ salaries (subject to the monthly cap of £3,125). There’s no obligation on employers to top-up an employee’s salary.
Unlike the JSS Open scheme, there is no eligibility criteria for employers, other than the requirement for them to have closed in line with local restrictions. If a business is required to close by local public health authorities following a workplace outbreak, then they will not be eligible.
The following requirements apply to both schemes:
• Employers must have a written agreement in place with employees detailing changes to their terms of employment.
• Claims can only be submitted in respect of individuals who were on the employer’s PAYE payroll between 6 April 2019 and 11:59pm on 23 September.
• Large businesses are expected not to make capital distributions whilst claiming.
• Employers must pay National Insurance and pension contributions on the full amount paid to employees; this includes the amount claimed under either of the schemes. A Full Payment Submission is to be made to HMRC in the usual way.
• Amounts paid under these claims will be paid in arrears, meaning the employer must have paid the full amount being claimed (including tax and National Insurance) before the claim is submitted.
Employers will be able to submit claims for the November pay period from 8 December. It is intended that subsequent months will be claimed for in a similar way.
If you would like support notifying employees of your intention to use either JSS scheme, please contact us.