Establish which areas are in which COVID alert level for the purpose of the Job Support Scheme

26 October 2020

As the Job Support Scheme (JSS) has evolved, and there are now both Open and Closed variations of the scheme, it is important for employers to be aware of which regions in England are classed as being in which alert level, in order to establish the level of support various businesses can receive.

Any businesses in tier three locations –‘very high’ alert level, that are legally required to close, and meet certain eligibility criteria can access the Closed version of the scheme, under which the Government will fund two-thirds of employee wages up to a cap of £2,083.33 per month.

Businesses in other tiers, so either ‘medium’ or ‘high’ at the time of writing, can claim under the Open version of the scheme, which will require employees to work at least 20% of their ordinary hours, with a contribution from employers of 5% for any usual hours not worked. The Government will pay up to 61.67% to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month of the reference salary for any of those ordinary hours not worked. This will be available to businesses that continue to face reduced demand due to coronavirus, which may require them to cut the hours of staff, but who still remain open.

A policy paper which provides high level details of both the Open and Closed schemes is available on

In order to monitor which scheme variation will apply, it is important for employers to be aware of which restrictions are in place and where. There is a list of which areas are classed as being in each of the alert levels, and this should be checked regularly, as different areas will move in and out of each of the risk categories.

This list is applicable to England, and different rules may apply in each of the devolved nations, so it is also important to be aware of this.


The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.