Job Support Scheme – JSS Open and JSS Closed

23 October 2020

Since the Job Support Scheme (JSS) was first announced on 24 September 2020 changes to it have been made by the Chancellor to keep up with the additional restrictions placed on some areas of the country.

The JSS will be split in to two sections:

  • JSS Open will be available to businesses that are open (i.e. not forced to close because of coronavirus restrictions) but require extra support over the winter as a result of reduced demand. E.g. a drinks manufacturer in a Tier 1 area.
  • JSS Closed will be available to businesses that are 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. E.g. a ‘wet’ pub in a Tier 3 area.

Under JSS Open: Affected employees will need to work at least 20% (a change to the previously advised 33%) of their normal hours. They will receive: (i) normal pay for the hours they work, and (ii) two thirds of pay (subject to a cap: £3,125 per month) for hours not worked.  Within that two thirds, the government will pay 61.67% and the employer will pay 5%, plus National Insurance and pension contributions on the full amount.

Under JSS Closed: Affected employees will receive two thirds of their normal wages; these will be funded by the government (subject to a cap: £3,125 per month). The employer will pay the National Insurance and pension contributions on that amount.

Employers can choose to top-up salaries of affected employees under either section of the JSS.

All SMEs are eligible for the JSS; large businesses are eligible if their turnover has fallen due to Coronavirus (as evidenced by their VAT returns). The government discourages but will not prohibit, a large business from claiming on the JSS if it is making capital distributions such as dividend payments.

As always, in both versions of the JSS, there must be a written agreement between employer and employee, agreeing to the changes.

The JSS commences on 1 November 2020 and will run for six months until 30 April 2021. The first dates on which a claim can be made by an employer (in arrears) is 8 December 2020.

Employers cannot claim for an employee who has been made redundant or is serving a contractual or statutory notice period during the JSS claim period.

Please contact our team if you need any advice on utilising the JSS and putting any of these new changes in place.

On a different note: We are very pleased to announce that our Managing Partner has again been recognised in Chambers 2021. Amongst other things, clients noted that Gareth is “extremely responsive”, “hard-working, energetic, commercial, pragmatic and efficient” and “amazing to work with – very responsive and supportive.”