HMRC has finally released guidance on its highly anticipated job support schemes.

From 1 November 2020, there will be two job support schemes (JSS) called JSS Open and JSS Closed. The twin grants will run until 30 April 2021 with conditions set to be reviewed in January 2021.

JSS closed is designed to support businesses which have been legally forced to close because of Coronavirus restrictions. JSS Open will provide financial support to businesses that remain open but with employees working reduced hours – such as pubs and restaurants for example.

If you have multiple premises and one can remain open but the other is closed due to its location, you can claim for both schemes. You cannot however claim for a single employee under both schemes at the same time.

Employees will be able to claim in arrears from 8 December 2020. From December, employers will be able to claim salary for pay periods ending and paid in November. Subsequent months will follow a similar pattern, with the final claims for April being made from early May.

Below we highlight everything you need to know about both schemes.


JSS Open

If some or all of your employees are working reduced hours, you can claim for JSS Open. Large employers with 250+ employees must show that their trade has been affected by Coronavirus through their VAT returns.

The employee/s you wish to claim for must work at least 20% of their usual working hours which amounts to one day of a normal five-day working week. This reduction in hours must be agreed in writing with the employee.

The employer must pay for all the worked hours at the employee’s agreed reference salary, plus up to 5% of the value of the hours not worked, up to £125 per month. Employer may top up this figure if they wish. The reference salary is capped at £3,125 per month.

The grant will cover up to two-thirds of the hours not worked, capped at £1541.75 per month.

Please note that you must pay all of the employer’s national insurance (NIC) on all of the wages the employee receives plus any employer’s minimum contribution to a workplace pension.

An employee who works for 20% of their contracted hours will receive:

  • 20% of pay for worked time
  • 4% (5% x 80%) of pay for non-worked time, capped at £125 per month
  • 49.33 of pay (61.66% x 80%) for non-worked time, capped at £1541.75 per month

In total the employee receives 73.33% of their pay and foregoes 26.67% of their normal pay.


JSS Closed

You can claim for JSS Closed if your business has been forced to shut due to Coronavirus. For example, you’re located in a tier 3 area in England. If you’re trading in a restricted area and are limited to delivery or collection services or serving food outside only, you still qualify for JSS Closed.

Under this scheme the grant will cover two-thirds of the normal pay of furloughed employees who cannot work at all, up to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month. The employee must give up one-third of their wages and will have to agree to this in their employment contract in writing if they’re not already on a zero hours contract.

Other conditions for both JSS schemes include:

  • You do not need to have claimed for the CJRS to receive JSS Open or Closed
  • You must have a UK, Isle of Man or Channel Island bank account
  • You must use PAYE online
  • Only payments to eligible employees qualify for the grants
  • Large businesses are strongly discouraged from paying dividends or returning capital to shareholders while using the scheme


Which employees are eligible for the schemes?

Although details are still being finalised, current guidance states that employees must have been on your payroll between 6 April 2019 and 23 September 2020, and included on at least one RTI return in that period that was submitted before midnight on 23 September 2020. This implies the employee does not have to be employed for that entire period, and employment at some point in the period would qualify.

The guidance says the employee must be employed on 23 September 2020. But if the employee has been made redundant since that point and rehired (implied by the same employer), they are an eligible employee.

Any person who is taxed as an employee is an eligible employee for JSS, which would include contractors subject to IR35 and agency workers.

Further guidance on the steps that employers need to take to calculate and make a claim to the Job Support Scheme will be published by the end of October. We will update you when the information is made available. For more information about either JSS, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with PKB Accountants.

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