HR Expert: JRS Extended

A client is confused about the new guidance released by the Government regarding the Job Support Scheme. Will they no longer be able to make use of it because the Job Retention Scheme has been extended? What about their staff who were working on Sunday 1st November under the Job Support Scheme arrangement? Will they still be able to claim the wages back in arrears?

On 31st October, Boris Johnson announced that the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) will be extended until December because there will be a national lockdown in England effective from 5th November until 2nd December. During this extension period, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be put on hold until after the JRS has officially come to an end. This means that your client cannot make use of the JSS at all until it begins post-JRS even though agreements may have already been made with staff – to put them on the JSS.

Your client should note that it is not advisable that any such agreement with staff, to have them placed on the JSS, should be used to place them on the extended JRS. This means that a new agreement will need to be made between your client and any members of staff that they wish to place on the extended JRS.

The Government has decided to return to the original structure of the JRS, with some slight differences. Your client, as well as employers in all parts of the UK (not just England) will be able to place their staff on the JRS and claim 80% of their salary up to a cap of £2,500 per month per employee. The difference is that employers will be asked to contribute National Insurance and Pensions contributions during this period whilst they claim under the JRS.

Flexible furlough is also being extended so that if employees can work some hours out of their usual working hours, they can do so and be put on furlough the rest of the time. To be eligible now for the extended JRS, employers, like your client, and their employees do not need to have used the JRS or been furloughed before; employees need only have been on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October. This means that your client must have made a Real Time Information submission to HMRC on or before 30th October.

When it comes to hours unknowingly worked on Sunday 1st November under the JSS, as the Government’s announcement on the JRB extension was made on 31st October, it would have been expected that employers would not have carried out any arrangements on the basis of the JSS. It is therefore unlikely that your client will be able to make any claims for 1st November under the JSS.

Your client can instead agree with affected staff that those worked hours be classed as flexible furlough, as well as any subsequent working arrangements going forward. Further clarification is needed on the extended JRS so your client will need to wait for further government updates before they can know what their position is on this matter.

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