Updated: 23 October 2020
The Chancellor has announced further changes to the Jobs Support Scheme that he first proposed on 24th September. With the scheme due to begin on the 1st November as a replacement for the furlough scheme, we take a look at the features, eligibility criteria and key dates of the scheme, as well as how you can benefit from it.
The Jobs Support Scheme will start on 1st November, taking over from where the furlough scheme left off. It will run for a total of 6 months.
The Jobs Support Scheme will support employers who are facing lower demand due to the pandemic. Through the scheme, employees will receive a minimum of 73% of their usual wages, whilst working fewer hours.
If an employer finds that due to the pandemic they have lower demand, they can enroll employees on the scheme. They can then reduce the number of hours they work, whilst ensuring they continue to get a minimum of 73% of their usual wages.
Employees must work at least 20% of their usual hours to be eligible.For the remaining 80% of their usual salary, the Government will pay 61.67% and the employer will pay 5%. An example of this would be:
The Government contribution for each employee is capped at £697.92 a month
It’s important to note, employers will still be required to pay pension and employers National Insurance contributions on behalf of the employee. Employees on the scheme cannot be made redundant, or be put on notice of redundancy during the period that the employer is claiming the grant for their employee. Calculations must be based on an employee’s normal contracted wage. However, employers are also able to use this scheme in conjunction with the Job Retention Bonus payment that was previously announced, if they meet the eligibility criteria for it.
In addition, the Chancellor has announced extra measures for those businesses that are forced to close due to local restrictions. If employees are unable to work for a week or more, they will be entitled to two-thirds of their normal salary. The Government will cover 100% of these costs.
There are two different sets of eligibility criteria for both employers and employees.
Any employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE scheme are eligible for the Jobs Support Scheme. You and your employee don’t need to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to access this new grant.
SMEs are not required to meet any financial assessment to access the scheme. However, large businesses (usually defined as those with over 250 employees or more) can only apply for the scheme if their turnover has fallen significantly due to the pandemic. These businesses will be required to meet a financial assessment and provide evidence that their sales have been materially affected.
Employees enrolled on the scheme will need to have been on the employer’s payroll, with HMRC’s knowledge, on or before 23rd September in order to be eligible. For employees paid on a monthly basis, they need to have been on payroll by the end of August.
Employees can cycle on and off the scheme, and are not required to work the same pattern every month, but each time their hours are reduced on the scheme, it has to cover a minimum period of 7 days.
It has currently not been made clear how employers can apply for the Jobs Support Scheme. However, many suspect that it will likely follow a similar process as the furlough scheme and you will need to contact HMRC for a grant. Employers must agree these new hours with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract from that agreement and notify the employee in writing.
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