Job Support Scheme Expansion For Closed Businesses
The government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) has been expanded to provide a higher level of support for businesses legally required to temporarily close due to local or national coronavirus restrictions.
From 1 November 2020 - 30 April 2021, the JSS expansion will fund two-thirds of eligible employees normal pay up to a limit of £2,100 per month. Available for 6 months, the JSS expansion is designed to pay the wages of staff who cannot work, protecting jobs and enabling businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted.
So Which Businesses Are Eligible for the JSS Expansion?
The JSS expansion will cover businesses that are legally required to close their premises because of coronavirus restrictions set by one of the four governments in the UK. This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection only services from their premises, or food and drink outdoors from businesses such as restaurants.
Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
Employers must be instructed to, and cease work for, a minimum of 7 consecutive (or calendar) days. Although an employee can return to work at a later date.
In line with the published JSS rules, neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS.
When businesses are permitted to re-open, employers can claim under the terms of the JSS.
Businesses required to close as a result of specific workplace outbreaks by local public health authorities are not eligible for this scheme.
What Does the Grant Cover?
The JSS expansion will fund two-thirds of eligible employees normal pay up to a limit of £2,100 per month. Further instructions on how normal pay is to be calculated will be set out in guidance released by the HMRC in due course.
This is a temporary scheme available to employers for the 6 months covering 1 November 2020 - 30 April 2021 and will be reviewed in January 2021.
Employers must use the whole of the grant to cover employees' wages and pay relevant payroll taxes.
The grant will not cover Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions, although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.
Payments will be made in arrears, reimbursing the employer for the government's contribution.
How Will I Claim?
Claims must not overlap and must be made monthly in arrears. Employers will be able to make their first claims through the online HMRC portal from December 2020.
Written Agreements with Employees
To use the JSS expansion, employers must agree the new short-time working arrangements with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing. This agreement must be made available to HMRC on request.
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.
Job Retention Bonus
In line with the rules of the JSS already announced, employers will be able to claim the £1,000 per employee Job Retention Bonus (JRB), provided they are eligible and previously part of the CJRS. Employers can claim the JRB as well as make a claim under the JSS.
Grants claimed under the JSS or JSS expansion can be used by employers to help meet the minimum income threshold and other payment criteria for the JRB.
HMRC will check claims and payments may be withheld or need to be paid back if a claim is found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information. Grants can only be used as reimbursement for wage costs actually incurred.
HMRC intend to publish a list of those employers who have used the Scheme, with employees able to see if their employer has claimed for them under the Scheme. Any fraudulent claims can be reported through the HMRC hotline.
Further Guidance Yet To Be Released
We will update you further as more guidance is released. In the meantime, you can always access the information currently available via our website. Here you will find full details of the funds available through the JSS and employer contributions required.
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Disclaimer: Please note this is not legal advice on your circumstances and HR:4UK are not qualified to give medical advice. Our advice is based on our understanding of the information currently available and may be subject to change as and when more guidance becomes available.