Job Support Scheme Open and Job Support Scheme Closed

22 October 2020

Following the Chancellor’s announcement (22 October 2020) on a further extension to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) and the level of Government support available to businesses, that have been impacted by the coronavirus restrictions, a policy paper has been published that lays out further details of JSS, that includes:

  • The Overview of the scheme
  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Conditions of claiming
  • How to claim
  • Calculations

The Job Support Scheme will now provide varying levels of support to businesses depending on whether they have had to close, due to legal restrictions set by one of the four UK nations – JSS Closed. Or where they continue to operate but face decreased demand due to the restrictions - JSS Open.

The JSS will run from 1 November for six months. Claims can be made in arrears from 8 December, previous use of the CJRS is not a requirement, Detailed guidance will be published at the end of October 2020.

Additional eligibility criteria will exist depending on whether the employer is using JSS open or JSS closed but both are open to employers who have enrolled for PAYE online and hold a UK, Channel Island or Isle of Man bank account.

Employees must have been included on an RTI submission between 6 April 2019 and 11.59pm on 23 September 2020.

A Financial Impact test, to demonstrate that their income has been impacted due to coronavirus, for large employers (a legal entity with 250 or more employees across all payrolls on 23 September) will be needed to enable them to make a claim under JSS open. Full information on the tests needed based on VAT returns is available, with examples, in the policy paper.

Further guidance is awaited for non VAT registered large employers.

As with CJRS, a written agreement of the contractual change, which must be for a minimum of seven consecutive calendar days, is to be provided to the employee. A copy must be maintained by the employer for five years and be made available to HMRC on request.

Employees will be able to check, via their Personal Tax account, whether their employer has made a claim relating to them.

The full amount of any grant must be repaid if a claim is found to be fraudulent. Penalties of up to 100% of the amount overclaimed may be applied where appropriate. HMRC will consider publishing the details of employers who are charged a penalty because of a deliberately incorrect Job Support Scheme grant claim.

There may be the occasion where the pay reference period overlaps between CJRS and JSS i.e. 31 October and 1 November – in this instance claims must be made separately under each scheme.

As with CJRS payments that can be included in the reference pay, which will be fixed, or variable, are regular wages, piece rate payments and non-discretionary payments for: hours worked, fees and commission payments.

The variable hours calculation applies if either the employee is not contracted to a fixed number of hours or the employee’s pay depends on the number of hours they work.

For employees whose number of hours varies and/or whose pay depends on the number of hours they work, the number of usual hours is calculated based on the higher of:

  • The number of hours worked in the same calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • The average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • The average number of hours worked from 1 February 2020 (or the employee’s start date if later) until 23 September 2020

Further detail can be found in the policy paper and full details of the rules will be covered in guidance at the end of October.

 


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