Bye Bye Furlough, Hello Job Support Scheme!

I can’t quite believe we’re in October!  But we are, and that means it is the last month of the CJRS or “furlough” scheme as it’s known.  From 1 November, the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) will take over until 30th April 2021…..

The JSS has some similarities to the flexible furlough, but it is still a new set of rules for employers to get their heads around.  The idea is to get as many people as possible back into “viable” jobs (i.e. jobs where there is some work to be done) and keep them there until such times as they can go back to full time hours.

So, the JSS, like flexible furlough, offers employers the chance to keep someone on reduced hours, with the cost split between employer, government and the employee.  Below is some quick guidance on the JSS and the new Job Retention Bonus, which is available from the end of January 2021.  At the bottom of this post there are links to the gov.uk site for both these schemes.  As ever, please get in touch if you’d like to discuss.

To qualify for the JSS

If the employee meets those criteria, they may be eligible for the JSS.

Salary on the JSS

Salary payment under the scheme is centred around the working and non-working hour split.  For any hours worked (and remembering these hours must be at least a third of the full time hours) the employer is responsible for paying that in full.  For the remaining non-worked hours, the employer is liable to pay one third, the government will pay one third (to a maximum of £697.92) and the employee will ‘pay’ (the more accurate word here is ‘forfeit’) one third.

So, let’s make it easy and say that an employee works 36 hours per week.  The employee needs to work a minimum of 12 hours to qualify.  If they work 12 hours, the employer pays for those 12 hours (as well as any pension and NI contributions due) and out of the remaining 24 hours, 8 further hours are paid by the employer, 8 hours are paid under the JSS and the final 8 hours are not paid.  In total, the employee is paid for 28 hours (77% of their full salary).

For an employer, it is worth noting that the JSS portion of salary payments will not be available ‘up front’.  This means that business owners will need to make sure that they have the financial ability to cover salary payments in the first place, and then claim back the JSS element from the government.

Holidays on the JSS

As with the furlough scheme, we don’t have all the information as yet on the JSS as yet however it seems likely that, as with the furlough scheme, those on the JSS will be entitled to take holiday, following your business’ usual procedure, and this should be paid at the full time rate by the employer.

Job Retention Bonus

Another new announcement was the Job Retention Bonus.  This is a one-off payment of £1,000 for each employee who was previously furloughed and is still employed at 31 January 2021.  To be eligible, the employee must have earned a minimum of £520 per month between 1st November 2020 and 31 January 2021.  If you think you may make use of this as an employer, you will need to make sure you have accurate records around furlough payments etc.

Further Resources

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-support-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-details-of-the-job-retention-bonus-announced