The Chancellor has announced a new jobs support package which is designed to prevent employers from making redundancies as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce.
A summary of the scheme is noted below:-
- The existing furlough scheme will come to an end on 31 October 2020
- This new scheme will begin on 1 November 2020 and will last for 6 months until April 2021
- The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.
- All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- Large businesses will have to meet a financial assessment test, so the scheme is only available to those whose turnover is lower now than before experiencing difficulties from Covid-19. There will be no financial assessment test for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
How does it work?
- For every hour not worked by the employee, both the Government and employer will pay a third each of the usual hourly wage for that employee.
- The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month.
- Grant payments will be made in arrears, reimbursing the employer for the Government’s contribution. The grant will not cover Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions, although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.
- “Usual wages” calculations will follow a similar methodology as for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Full details will be set out in guidance shortly. Employees who have previously been furloughed, will have their underlying usual pay and/or hours used to calculate usual wages, not the amount they were paid whilst on furlough.
What can I claim?
- Employers must pay employees their contracted wages for hours worked, and the Government and employer contributions for hours not worked. Our expectation is that employers cannot top up their employees’ wages above the two-thirds contribution to hours not worked at their own expense.
What does it mean to be on reduced hours?
- The employee must be working at least 33% of their usual hours.
- For the time worked, employees must be paid their normal contracted wage.
- For time not worked, the employee will be paid up to two-thirds of their usual wage.
- 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.
How can I claim?
- The scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 to the end of April 2021. Employers will be able to make a claim online through Gov.uk from December 2020. They will be paid on a monthly basis.
- Grants will be payable in arrears meaning that a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given pay period, after payment to the employee has been made and that payment has been reported to HMRC via an RTI return.