Employers across the country have generally welcomed the announcement of the new Job Support Scheme that will be launched for 6-months from 1 November 2020.
The new Job Support Scheme has been designed to help those who are in work by allowing them to work reduced hours rather than joining the unemployment queue.
Under the scheme, employees must work at least one-third of their hours, paid as normal. The government and employer will then each cover one-third of any remaining hours the employee is not working.
Employers should be aware of the following:
- The scheme will be open to all small and medium-sized businesses. Larger businesses will have to meet a financial assessment test in order to use the scheme. They will need to demonstrate that their turnover has fallen as a result of the pandemic. Further guidance on the financial assessment test has yet to be published.
- All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes will be able to claim the government grant. The grant will be paid in arrears, reimbursing the employer for the government’s contribution. The claim portal will be launched from December 2020 and claims will be paid on a monthly basis.
- The grant will not cover Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions. These payments will need to be made by the employer.
- Employers and employees can still use this scheme even if they have not used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
- 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.
- HMRC’s expectation is that large employers using the Job Support Scheme will not be making capital distributions, such as dividend payments or share buybacks, whilst accessing the grant.
- 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.