Job Support Scheme

The Government's Job Support Scheme commences on 1 November 2020, to replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31 October. It is to be replaced by the Government’s Job Support Scheme which commences on 1 November 2020 and will run for 6 months until the end of April 2021. The information on this page reflects the changes to the scheme announced on 22 October 2020.

The stated aim of the Job Support Scheme is to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce (where a business has been required to close its premises due to local or national Coronavirus restrictions the Job Support Scheme extension provisions will apply – see below) Under the Job Support Scheme the company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the burden of hours not worked will be partially split between the employer and the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.

The employee must work at least 20% of their hours for the scheme to apply. The Government will then pay 61.67% of hours not worked up to a cap of £1,541.75 per month, with the employer contributing a further 5% (up to a cap of £125 per month). This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 73% of their normal wages, where the Government and employer contributions have not been capped.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus for employees if they have previously claimed payments for those employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and they retain them in employment until 31 January 2021 if they meet the other eligibility criteria.

The Government has produced a Job Support Scheme Open Factsheet although further detail of the practical application of the scheme is awaited.

In terms of the Job Support Scheme’s application to local authorities and other public bodies the factsheet indicates that all employers will be eligible to use the scheme provided they have a UK bank account and UK PAYE scheme. However, it also states that ‘fully publicly funded organisations are not expected to use the scheme, as has been the case with the CJRS, but partially publicly funded organisations are eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted. All other eligibility requirements apply to these employers.”

Job Support Scheme extension

Where a business is required to close its premises due to local or national Coronavirus restrictions, the Job Support Scheme extension provisions will apply.

Further details of the extension will be published soon but in the meantime the main provisions of the extended scheme are as follows:

  • The extension will run for six months from 1 November 2020
  • Employees must be instructed to and cease work for a minimum of 7 consecutive days, and a Real Time Information submission notifying payment to that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September 2020.
  • It will not apply where businesses are required to close by local public health authorities as a result of specific workplace outbreaks by local public health authorities
  • The amount that is available per eligible employee is two-thirds of their normal pay up to a limit of £2100 per month, and employers may top up that amount should they wish. Employer NICs and pension contributions will remain payable by the employee.
  • Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.

It is not yet clear whether local authorities and other public sector employers will be able to claim under the extended scheme. This is because although the factsheet (pdf) states that the scheme is available to “all employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme registered on or before 23 September”, the language used talks in terms of its application to “businesses” and “firms”.  Further guidance will be published on the scheme extension and at that stage it should be clear whether public sector bodies can claim.  If they will be able to though it is worth nothing that the extended scheme applies where employees cannot work where premises have had to close due to Coronavirus restrictions, not the employer’s business as a whole. Therefore it may be available where for example a local authority has to close leisure premises. The factsheet does though say that “employers will only be able to use the scheme for employees who cannot work (paid or unpaid) for that employer”. That suggests employers will only be claim where the employee cannot be redeployed.