What are the main changes to the Job Support Scheme announced on 22 October 2020?Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 3 November 2020
On 31 October 2020, the UK government announced an extension of the furlough scheme until the end of November, meaning that the Job Support Scheme (“JSS”) will now not commence until 1 December 2020. Nevertheless, it is still worthwhile noting the changes to the JSS announced on 22 October 2020.
On 22 October 2020, the UK government announced that the JSS would distinguish between businesses that had to close and those that did not. The JSS open (“JSSO”) applies to businesses that are not forced to close as a result of COVID-19 restrictions but have faced reduced demand. The main changes are:
- the employer’s contribution for an employee’s pay for unworked hours reduces to 5% (up to a cap of £125 per month);
- the minimum hours an employee is required to work reduce from 33% to 20% of normal hours; and
- the government’s contribution to pay for hours not worked increases to 61.67% of hours not worked (up to a cap of £1,541.75 per month).
This means that employees will earn a minimum of 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3,125 a month or less (i.e. where the government contribution has not been capped).
In contrast, the JSS closed (“JSSC”) applies to businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions or those that are restricted to collection or delivery services or provision of food and/or drink outdoors.
Employers are only eligible to claim for periods during which the relevant COVID-19 restrictions are in force. However, employers may then be able to claim JSSO (subject to satisfying eligibility requirements).
Under the JSSC each employee who cannot work due to COVID-19 restrictions will receive two thirds of their normal pay, paid (initially) by their employer and fully funded by the government, up to a cap of £2,083.33 per month.
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