Job Support Scheme: new government scheme replacing furlough explained - and who is eligible for JSS Open and JSS Closed

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The Job Support Scheme is a successor to the UK government’s furlough scheme

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak confirmed the extension of the government’s job support scheme on Thursday.

Unveiling the extension, he said: “I’ve always said that we must be ready to adapt our financial support as the situation evolves, and that is what we are doing today.

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“These changes mean that our support will reach many more people and protect many more jobs.

Rishi Sunak gave an update on the Job Support Scheme on Thursday (Getty Images)Rishi Sunak gave an update on the Job Support Scheme on Thursday (Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak gave an update on the Job Support Scheme on Thursday (Getty Images)

“I know that the introduction of further restrictions has left many people worried for themselves, their families and their communities.

“I hope the Government’s stepped-up support can be part of the country pulling together in the coming months.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the latest changes made to the job support scheme.

What is JSS Open?

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Employers who can continue to operate safely but are experiencing less demand due to the coronavirus pandemic can apply for support for employees through JSS Open.

This will allow them to keep employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.

The employee will need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours and the employer will continue to pay them as normal for the hours worked.

Alongside this, the employee will receive 66.67% of their normal pay for the hours not worked - this will be made up of contributions from the employer and from the government.

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The employer will pay 5% of the reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, with the discretion to pay more than this if they wish.

The government will pay the remainder of 61.67%, of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month.

What is JSS Closed?

Employers who are legally required to shut their premises during a lockdown imposed by one of the four governments can apply for help through JSS Closed.

Each employee who cannot work due to these restrictions will receive two thirds of their normal pay, paid by their employer and fully funded by the government, to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month.

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Employers can choose to pay more on top of this at their own discretion.

When will the Job Support Scheme open?

The new Job Support Scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until 30 April 2021. The terms of the scheme will be reviewed by the government in January.

Who can apply for JSS?

Employers will be able to access the Job Support Scheme if: they have enrolled for PAYE online, they have a UK, Channel Island or Isle of Man bank account

Additional eligibility criteria will apply depending on whether the employer is claiming a JSS Open grant or JSS Closed grant.

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To apply for JSS Open an employer with 250 or more employees on 23 September 2020 must undertake a Financial Impact Test demonstrating their turnover has remained equal or fallen to show they have been adversely affected due to coronavirus.

An employer with less than 250 employees on 23 September 2020 is not required to satisfy the test.

Some, or all, of their employees must be working reduced hours - and employees must still be working for at least 20% of their usual hours.

To apply for JSS Closed an employer will be able to apply if their premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK.

An employee is eligible if they have been instructed to cease work for a minimum period of at least 7 consecutive calendar days.