The Chancellor announces the launch of the Job Support Scheme from November
The Government has revealed further details about the Job Support Scheme (JSS) which is designed to replace the furlough scheme ending on 31 October 2020. The JSS is designed to protect “viable” jobs over the winter months due to the current COVID pandemic. The principle behind the JSS is that an employee can work reduced hours and will be paid for the hours they work. However, the burden of the hours not worked will be split between the employer and the Government (through wage support) and the employee (via a wage reduction).
We are still awaiting details of the JSS but on the back of the announcement yesterday, the Treasury has issued a factsheet which provides more detail:
The key aspects of the scheme are:
- The JSS will open on 1 November 2020 and will run for 6 months
- Neither the employer or the employee needs to have used the furlough scheme to access the JSS
- Employers using the JSS will also be able to claim the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus if they satisfy the eligibility requirement
- SME’s will be able to access the JSS without restriction but large businesses will only be able to use the JSS if their turnover is lower due to COVID-19 difficulties
- For the first 3 months of the JSS, an employee must work at least 33% of their usual hours. After 3 months, the Government may increase this minimum threshold
- For every hour not worked by the employee, both the Government and the employer will pay a third each of the usual hourly wages for that employee. The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month
- Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the JSS grant for the employee; and
- Employers must agree the new short-time working arrangements with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing.
The factsheet does also contain a basic example of how the JSS will work in practice. In an earlier tweet, the Treasury gave the example of an employee who works 33% of their hours. They would get 77% of their salary in total with the employer paying 55% and the Government paying 22% of their normal pay.
Whilst the JSS is welcome news for employers and does address in part the concerns over the end of the furlough scheme, whether this will be enough to prevent significant redundancies is to be seen. For employers where there is no work for an employee to do or they can’t afford the additional salary payment, the scheme is not likely to be enough.
If you need any further information on the JSS, please do contact Moorcroft Employment Partner, Matt Jenkin.