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The new Job Support Scheme (JSS) is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing closure and/or a lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19.

For those businesses that are legally required to close for some period over the winter months due to local or national coronavirus restrictions, the Government will pay two-thirds of employees’ salaries up to a maximum of £2,100 a month for staff who cannot work.

For those businesses that have not legally been required to close but have a lower turnover now than before experiencing difficulties from COVID-19, the Government will assist in paying staff for any hours not worked. Businesses will be expected to continue to pay staff for time worked (a minimum of 33% of their usual hours is required in order for businesses to be eligible), with the burden of the hours not worked being split between the employer and the Government. The Government’s contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month and the scheme will not cover Class 1 employer National Insurance Contributions or pension contributions, as these contributions will remain payable by the employer. This scheme will begin on the 01 November 2020 and will run for a period of six months.

Larger businesses will have to undertake a financial assessment test to determine whether they are eligible for assistance. However, there will be no financial assessment for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Example:

  • Jack normally works five days a week and earns £350 a week. His company is suffering from reduced sales due to coronavirus. Rather than making Jack redundant, the company puts Jack on the Job Support Scheme, working two days a week (40% of his usual hours).
  • His employer pays Jack £140 for the days he works.
  • For the time he is not working (3 days or 60%, worth £210), he will also earn two-thirds, or £140, bringing his total earnings to £280, 80% of his normal wage.
  • The Government will give a grant worth £70 (one-third of hours not worked, equivalent to 20% of his normal wages) to Jack’s employer to support them in keeping Jack’s job.

The JSS will be reviewed in three months’ time and further guidance is expected in due course.

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