Do Employees Have To Have Been Furloughed Previously To Be Put On The Job Support Scheme?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 6 October 2020
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered: Coronavirus; Job Support Scheme; Furlough; Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

No, employees do not need to have been furloughed previously in order to be put on the JSS. In fact, employers can avail of the JSS even if they did not use the CJRS at all. However, the JSS is intended to primarily assist small to medium sized businesses (“SMEs”) and large employers need to demonstrate that their turnover has decreased due to COVID-19. Please note, it is anticipated that an SME will be based on the definition in the Companies Act 2006 but confirmation of this is awaited.

In order to be eligible for the JSS, employees must be on their employer's PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020. This means that a Real Time Information (“RTI”) submission notifying HMRC of payment to that employee must have been made on or before that date.

The JSS is intended to protect 'viable' jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19. Therefore, the JSS has a different rationale than the CJRS which aimed to avoid redundancies.

The JSS will only support those who are working fewer hours than normal and not those who are not working at all. For the first three months of the JSS, employees must work at least one third of their normal hours and be paid for those hours as normal by their employer. At the end of the three-month period, this contribution will be re-assessed.

Together the government and employer will make up employees’ pay to two-thirds of their normal hours, with the government and the employer each paying one third of the remaining unworked hours, i.e. the employee will work 33% of their normal hours but will receive 77% of their pay. The employer will pay 33% for the hours worked along with one third of the remaining 66% of un-worked hours. This means that the employer and government will each pay 22% (being 1/3 of 66%). Please note, the government contribution is capped at £697.92 per month per employee.

Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 04/11/2020

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

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