What is the Job Support Scheme?
** UPDATE. The Job Support Scheme has been delayed until at least 1st December 2020. This is because the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until the end of November. **
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will close on 31st October. The government is providing additional support to help employers retain their employees through the Job Support Scheme (JSS). In this email, we have provided a detailed Q&A to help you navigate your way through the changes. The JSS is similar to the CJRS or Furlough scheme, although the terms are less generous to employers and employees.
The Job Support Scheme is a government support package to help employers part-fund the wages of employees whose working hours have been reduced, either because the business has been forced to close to comply with the law, or through reduced demand.
There are two Job Support Schemes called JSS Open and JSS Closed.
When does the JSS run from and to?
The Job Support Scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until 30 April 2021. The government will review the terms of the scheme in January.
Does the JSS operate in Scotland and the rest of the UK?
Yes, the same JSS rules apply across the whole of the UK.
My company did not furlough any staff between March and October, so I did not claim under the CJRS. My circumstances have changed – can I now use the new JSS?
Yes – neither the employer nor the employee needs to have benefitted from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.
Which of my employees are eligible to claim using the JSS?
Eligible employers will be able to claim the Job Support Scheme grant for employees who were on their PAYE payroll at any point between 6 April 2019 and 11:59pm on 23 September 2020.
Employers can only claim for employees that were in their employment on 23 September 2020. If employees ceased employment after 23 of September 2020 and were subsequently rehired, then employers can claim for them. Employees can be on any type of contract, including zero hours or temporary contracts. Agency workers are regarded as employees of an employment agency for the purposes of this scheme, provided they are employees for Income Tax purposes.
When and how can I claim under the JSS?
Employers will be able to claim in arrears from 8 December 2020, with payments made after the claim has been approved. Employers must have paid the full amount claimed for an employee’s wages to the employee before each claim is made.
Agents such as One Accounting, who are authorised to do PAYE online for employers will be able to claim on their behalf. Both Agents and employers will submit claims through an online portal linked to HMRC.
What about employers National Insurance and Employers Pension Contributions?
The Job Support Scheme grant will not cover National Insurance contributions (NICs) or pension contributions. These contributions remain payable by the employer.
Employers and Employees must also still pay pension contributions in accordance with the applicable pension scheme terms, unless the employee has opted out or stopped saving into their pension. If applicable Student Loan deductions and the Apprenticeship Levy must also still be paid.
Employers must report these payments via a Full Payment Submission (FPS) to HMRC on or before the pay date in the normal way.
JSS Open – how it works
Many employers can operate safely but continue to face reduced demand so they may need extra support over the winter to help keep their employees attached to their workforce. For these employers, the Job Support Scheme, through JSS Open, will give employers the option of keeping their employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.
From 1 November, the employee will need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours and the employer will continue to pay them as normal for those hours. The policy paper from HMRC says the alongside this, the employee will receive 66.67% of normal pay for hours not worked, made up of contributions from the employer and from the government.
The employer will pay 5% of salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, although they can pay more than this if they wish. The employer will also pay national insurance
The government will pay the remainder of 61.67%, of salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. This means employees continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £37,500 per year or less.
What do I tell my employees if am going to use the JSS Open Grant ?
To be eligible for the JSS Open grant, employers must have reached written agreement with their employee that they have been offered a temporary working agreement. The agreement must be available for view by HMRC on request.
This temporary working agreement must cover at least seven consecutive days.
Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to their employment contract by written agreement. When employers are making decisions, including deciding to whom they should offer reduced hours, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.
Employers must maintain records relating to the terms of the temporary working agreements for each employee, and:
• make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
• have a written record of the agreement for 5 years
• record how many hours employees work and the number of usual hours they are not working
• this agreement must be made available to HMRC on request
HMRC will publish further guidance on what to include in the written agreement by the end of October.
JSS Open – A simplified table of who pays what
If your employee works for 20% of their normal hours, their pay is funded as follows:
Pay for hours worked – paid by Employer 20.0%
Government pay for hours not worked (JSS Open Claim) 49.3%
Employer contribution for hours not worked 4.0%
Employee loses pay 26.7%
Can Employees undertake training while my business is JSS Open?
Yes, employees can do training in working hours while being claimed for under the Job Support Scheme. Hours that employees spend training are paid for by the employer at their full rate of pay and will count towards 20% of their usual hours.
JSS Closed – how it works
JSS Closed applies where an employer has been 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. For example, in the central belt of Scotland this will include pubs and restaurants.
From 1 November, for employers that have been JSS Closed will support the wage costs of employees who have been instructed to cease work in “eligible premises”.
Each employee who cannot work due to these restrictions will receive two thirds of their normal pay, paid by their employer and fully funded by the government, to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month, although – again – the employer can pay more than this if they wish. Employees may also be entitled to additional financial support, including universal credit.
JSS Closed – A simplified table of who pays what
Government pay for hours not worked (JSS Closed Claim) 67.0%
Employee loses pay 33.0%
My business is a ‘JSS Closed’ business. What employment costs do I have to pay for?
You do not need to pay for any wages or salary costs, although you may choose to top up your employees 67% government payment if you wish.
Employers will need to pay all of the employers national insurance and employers pension contributions.
What do I tell my employees if my business is JSS Closed ?
The rules are very strict, and we recommend that you take HR or Employment Law advice before communicating with your employees. We are happy to recommend a local specialist firm who can advise SME employers.
Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to their employment contract by written agreement.
To be eligible for the grant, employers must have reached written agreement with their employee and that they have been instructed to and agree to stop working for a minimum of 7 consecutive calendar days. The agreement must be available for view by HMRC on request.
Employers must maintain records relating to the terms of these arrangements for each employee. They must:
• tell the employee in writing
• ensure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
• keep a written record for 5 years
What checks and balances will be run on the Job Support Scheme?
Claims can only be submitted once the employer has paid the employee the Job Support Scheme payment
HMRC will check claims and payments may be withheld if HMRC suspects a claim to be ineligible.
The amount of any overpayment by the employer must be paid back to HMRC where a claim contains incorrect information.
The full amount of any grant must be repaid if a claim is found to be fraudulent. Penalties of up to 100% of the amount overclaimed may be applied where appropriate. HMRC will consider publishing the details of employers who are charged a penalty because of a deliberately incorrect Job Support Scheme grant claim.
HMRC intend to publish the names of employers who have used the scheme. The public can report fraud to HMRC if they have evidence to suggest an employer is abusing the scheme.
Employees will be able to check if their employer has made a claim relating to them via their Personal Tax Account (sign up on GOV.UK).
What information do I need to keep so that One Accounting can process my payroll and calculate the JSS amounts?
JSS Open & JSS Closed – we will require
• The Name of each employee
• Number of hours normally worked in the month
• Actual hours worked (20% minimum)
• Confirmation that you have issued a written agreement with the affected employee that they have been offered a temporary working agreement for a minimum of 7 days
Where can I find out more information?
There is more guidance from HMRC at this link:
How can I contact the One Accounting team for help?
EMail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0131 220 0152