Job Support Scheme
Updated Monday 2 November 2020
The government has announced a revised Job Support Scheme which is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses that are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19. The intention is to help protect jobs by helping the employer through wage support. It picks up where the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or furlough scheme ends, but there is no requirement for the employee or the employer to have benefitted from the furlough scheme in order to take part.
Here are a few Questions and Answers to help explain how the scheme will work:
When does it start?
The scheme has now been postponed until the CJRS ends in December 2020.
How long is the scheme expected to run for?
to 30 April 2021
How many variants of the scheme are there?
Two. The first (JSS Open) applies where the employer remains open and employees are working at least 20% of their usual hours (this is the variant that we explain under the next question heading).
The second variation (JSS Closed) is where the employer has had to close the premises in which the employee works on instruction from the government. Employees who cannot work due to these restrictions will be entitled to 2/3 of their usual pay in respect of the unworked hours, which will be paid by their employer and refunded to their employer by the government up to a maximum of £2,083.33/month.
What is the minimum number of hours that an employee needs to work for in order to qualify?
Where the business is not required to close by the government the answer is: 20% of their normal hours for the first 3 months and the government will review the position thereafter.
Further information will be published shortly as to the definition of ‘normal’ hours. This will follow a similar definition as that used for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as the furlough scheme)
Who tops up the payment to the employee?
The employee will need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours and they will be paid for these in the normal way by their employer.
In addition, the government will pay 61.67% of their reference salary for the hours not worked up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month in respect of a relevant salary up to £3,125. This is not a monetary cap but rather a cap on the underlying reference salary.
The employer will pay a further 5% of the employee’s reference salary for the hours not worked up to a maximum of £125 per month with discretion to pay more if they wish.
Can the employer top up the wages to 100%?
Does the employee or employer need to have participated in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)?
Does the size of the employer matter?
The scheme will be open to all UK employers that have a UK bank account.
For both versions of the scheme, it is expected that in order to be eligible, large businesses (over 250 employees) must not be paying dividends or making capital distributions, or equivalent payments made by a partnership to its partners.
In addition for JSS Open, for large employers a once-only ‘financial assessment test’ will be applied before the initial JSS claim, under which they will need to demonstrate that their turnover is equal to or lower (or no more than equal) to that of the equivalent period in the previous year.
For VAT registered businesses, a comparison must be made between the total sales figure (from box 6 of the return, including the total value of sales and all other outputs excluding any VAT) for the quarter which is due to be filed and paid ending between 31 August 2020 and 7 November 2020 and the equivalent quarter from 2019.
Employers completing monthly VAT returns should compare the 3 months due to be filed and paid up to 7 November 2020 with the same period in 2019. Large employers which are part of a VAT group should use their group turnover figures.
For small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) there are no additional conditions.
The employee must have been on the employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 11:59pm on 23 September 2020 and a RTI submission must have been made to HMRC showing a payment as having been made to that employee on or before 23 September too. Employers can only claim for employees that were in their employment on 23 September 2020
Can an employee be made redundant?
An employee cannot be made redundant during the period for which the employer claims the grant.
When will the grants be paid?
They will be paid in arrears and a claim can be made once the relevant RTI submission has been submitted.
Will this mean that employers cannot claim the job retention bonus?
No, claiming the Job Support Scheme will not have an impact on the eligibility for the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus.
NICs and Pension contributions
The grant will not cover Class 1 NICs or pension contributions, although these will remain payable by the employer.
Are the payments taxable?
Yes if they are referable to business. In most cases this will be a simple yes. Section 106 and Schedule 16 of Finance Act 2020 provides for the taxation of coronavirus support payments. This will be on a receipts basis.
When can employers claim?
From 8 December 2020
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