Update 26th October 2020:
There have been further developments to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) since our last update on the 7th October (below).
In a nutshell
- Employees will still be paid at least 73% of their usual salary when short time working,
- Employers will pay less, and the government will pay more.
- A temporary written agreement will need to be prepared for staff you are planning to put on the JSS.
- The government will pay 66.67% of an employee’s unworked salary should their primary work premises have to close.
The first key change announced this week is that there are now two flavours of the JSS scheme; JSS (Open) and JSS (Closed)
- JSS (Open) applies to businesses trading during the period November 2020 to April 2021 inclusive
- JSS (Closed) applies where businesses may have to legally close during the same period, due to coronavirus restrictions put in place
The other major change, and one which will likely have the biggest financial impact for employers, is the contribution percentage.
Previously, the proposal was that employers would pay employees for a third of their unworked time, with the government matching this with a further third up to a monthly cap.
This meant that the total paid part of any unworked time was two thirds or 66.67%
The new proposal will now see employers only having to pay 5% of any unworked time, with the government contributing the remaining 61.67%, up to a monthly cap of £1541.75
Furthermore, employees will now only need to work at least 20% of their usual hours, instead of the previous 33.3% in order for employers to include them in any JSS claim.
One other very important caveat announced this week; employers must put in place a written temporary working agreement for staff who will be on short time working.
The agreement must cover a minimum of seven consecutive calendar days, it must be in writing, and the date from when the JSS claim can start is the later date of either stated on the agreement, or when the employee begins their short time working.
HMRC have confirmed that the agreement must be available for inspection should they request to see it, so please ensure you speak to your HR people to arrange this.
If you are not lucky enough to have your own HR department or advisor, we understand HMRC will make available some sort of template to download and customise in the coming weeks.
All other criteria and rules of the JSS (Open) scheme remain unchanged – for the moment.
As your PAYE agents, the expectation is that we will continue to upload claims on your behalf, should you wish, but please contact the payroll department with any queries regarding this.
It is envisaged that the first JSS claims will be uploaded after the 8th December, presumably once the revised gateway portal is updated. Please do bear this mind whilst waiting for your JSS reimbursement.
As before with the furlough scheme, you will be expected to pay the monies to staff before reclaiming from HMRC.
You will also have to fund the employers part of your NI liabilities, as well as the employers pension contribution. These will not be included in any JSS claims.
Finally, the JSS (Closed) scheme will kick in where businesses have to legally close or curtail their trading as a result of any future lockdown or local/national restrictions.
In these cases, businesses have no choice but to either send some or all of their staff home for a period of time.
It is envisaged this will mainly affect the hospitality and leisure sector.
Under the scheme, the government will pay two thirds of wages to employees who cannot work, up to a monthly cap of £2083.33
In the coming couple of weeks, further fine tuning of both JSS schemes will no doubt take place.
We will be releasing a JSS Q&A once all the processes are finalised.
In the meantime, the current furlough scheme is ending this month, and reimbursement of October furlough payments has reduced to 60%
Remember too that there will be a job retention bonus of £1000 per furloughed employee, payable between February and March 2021, who are still employed and on the payroll as at the 31st January 2021
Please follow the link below for further guidance on the JSS scheme:
Update 7th October 2020:
The Job Retention Scheme (JRS) continues into October for the final month.
The reclaim percentage will reduce further in October to 60%; this means that whilst furlough payments to staff continue at 80%, you will need to meet the cost of the remaining 20%
Looking ahead to November onwards, a new scheme has been announced which will replace the JRS scheme; The Job Support Scheme (JSS).
It will run for a period of 6 months, with a government review of the scheme at the end of month 3.
The basic premise of the JSS is to pay staff at least 77% of their normal salary, on the basis they have been placed on short time working for at least a third of their usual contractual hours
This will be part financed by the employer, with the government also making a contribution.
The theory is as follows;
Eligible staff will need to be working at least one third of their normal contractual hours, and being paid the relevant pro-rated salary by the employer
The Government will provide payment for a third of the remaining ‘unworked’ or lost time up to a maximum cap of £697.92 per month
Employers must also do the same, but without the monthly cap
Be aware that the Government are not literally paying a third of the salary, but a third of the remaining time not worked
Dave’s full time salary is £1500 per month
He has been short time working at 2 out of 5 days per week, earning £600, and hence satisfying the one third minimum working threshold
His employer now needs to pay a further third of Dave’s lost time, with the Government essentially matching the payment with another third
One third x (£1500 – £600) = £300 paid by the employer
The Government chips in another £300
Dave’s total payment for the month is (£600 + £300 + £300) = £1200
Total salary paid by Dave’s employer = £900
There are a few caveats to consider before you decide to partake in the JJS scheme, and which of your staff to include;
- All businesses are eligible to join the scheme, but HMRC would expect those businesses claiming are experiencing lower turnover, and are not making capital distributions such as dividend payments or share buybacks. Details on the exact criteria are sketchy at the moment. HMRC have said there will be no financial assessments for SME’s, but I would suspect there will be some sort of audit process going on behind the scenes.
- Eligible staff will need to have been on the payroll before 23rd September, and included on the RTI submitted by that date. In reality, this means any staff who commenced in August at the latest can be included in the scheme; most September RTI’s are not submitted until month end, which will exclude September starters by default
- Any employers and staff who are not part of the current furlough scheme are eligible to use the JSS scheme, subject to the above criteria. The JSS is a brand new scheme and is not connected to the JRS furlough scheme.
Keep an eye on this post for further updates as and when they are released.
Update 24th September 2020:
Under the Scheme, for any employees who work at least one third of their usual working hours, the Government will provide a grant worth one third of the employees’ pay for the remaining hours, capped at £697.92 per month.
- Under the scheme, the government will subsidise the pay of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to lower demand
- It will apply to staff who can work at least a third of their usual hours
- Employers will pay staff for the hours they do work
- For the hours employees can’t work, the government and the employer will each cover one third of the lost pay
- The grant will be capped at £697.92 per month
- All small and medium sized businesses will be eligible for the scheme
- Larger business will be eligible if their turnover has fallen during the crisis
- It will be open to employers across the UK even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme
- The scheme will run for six months starting in November
For example, an employee working only 40% of their hours will still receive 80% of their usual wages, distributed as follows:
- 40% of the usual wages is paid by the employer as pay for working 40% of their normal hours;
- 20% (one third of the remaining 60% of wages) will be covered by the government via a grant under the Job Support Scheme;
- 20% (calculated the same way as the Government Grant) will be paid by the employer under the Job Support Scheme.
The Job Support Scheme will run from 1st November until the end of April 2021.
The Scheme is available to all UK Businesses, including those who haven’t previously used the Job Retention Scheme