The JSS policy paper provides for two schemes which are known as JSS Open and JSS Closed. The intention of the JSS is to provide different types of support to businesses at the right time depending upon the situation, hence the need for two schemes.
Businesses that are operating but face decreased demand due to coronavirus can get support for wages through JSS Open. Those businesses that are legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions can get the support they need through JSS Closed.
JSS Open – employers facing decreased demand
Many employers can operate safely but continue to face reduced demand due to coronavirus restrictions. Therefore, in order to support these businesses over the winter months and help keep staff employed, JSS Open will give employers the option of keeping their employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.
The Government has extended the scheme to increase the scale of support available through JSS Open above what was initially announced.
The details now are:
- The employee will need to work a minimum of 20% of the usual hours and the employer will continue to pay them as normal for the hours worked.
- Alongside this, the employee will receive 66.67% of their normal wages for the hours not worked, which will be made up of contributions from both the employer and the Government.
- The employer will be required to pay 5% (plus NI and pension contributions on the full amount) of the reference salary for the hours not worked up to a maximum of £125 per month.
- The Government will pay the remaining 61.67% (previously a 50/50 split) of the reference salary for the hours not worked up to a maximum of £1541.75 per month.
- This will ensure that employees continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3125 a month or less.
- There must be a written agreement between the employer and the employee, agreeing the changes.
JSS Closed – employers who are legally required to close their premises
For employers who have legally been required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions, JSS Closed is intended to help them through the period in which they are directly affected by the restrictions. The scheme intends to support the employers with wage costs of employees who have been instructed to cease work in eligible (closed) premises.
JSS Closed provides each employee who cannot work due to coronavirus restrictions with two-thirds of their normal wages. This will be fully funded by the government to a maximum of £2083.33 per month.
Eligibility criteria for both schemes
- Employers will be able to access the JSS if they have enrolled for PAYE online and they have a UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man bank account.
- All businesses are eligible if their turnover has fallen due to coronavirus, however, the Government discourages, but will not prohibit, a large business from claiming on the JSS if it is making capital distributions (i.e. dividend payments).
- Organisations that have staff costs that are fully publicly funded should use the funding received to continue paying their staff and not use the JSS.
- Organisations that are publicly funded can use the JSS for the proportion of their private revenue disrupted due to the coronavirus.
- Employers can claim under the JSS for employees who are on their PAYE payroll between 06 April 2019 and 11:59 PM 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 September 2020 and were subsequently rehired, then employers can claim for them.
- An individual is an employee for the purposes of the JSS if they are treated as an employee for Income Tax purposes.
- Employees do not need to have been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to be eligible for the JSS.
- Employers will be able to top up employee wages above the level of minimum contributions at their own expense if they wish.
- Employees will be eligible to undertake training voluntarily in non-working hours. Where time spent on training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the grant payment employers will need to pay the additional wages.
- Employers will claim in arrears for salary monies already paid. The first claims can be made from 08 December 2020, five weeks after the scheme opens on 01 November 2020. This can be done via an online portal like the one used for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- Employers cannot claim for an employee who has been made redundant or is serving a contractual or statutory notice.
Please note, the information included in this update is correct at the date of publishing.