In our previous blog post here we told you about the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which is due to come into force on 1 November, and will provide support to employers where employees work reduced working hours. On 9 October, the Government announced an extension of the JSS to provide temporary support to businesses whose premises are legally required to close as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions set out by one or more of the four governments of the UK. The purpose of this expansion is to help businesses through that temporary closure, by supporting the wage costs of those employees who have been instructed to cease work.
Which employers will be eligible to make a claim?
The extension of the JSS will apply to businesses that are legally required to close their premises as a result of any restrictions imposed locally or nationally by one of the UK governments. This includes premises that are restricted to delivery or collection only services from their premises. The grant can only be claimed in respect of employees who cannot work for that employer during the period of the restriction, which must be for a minimum of seven consecutive or calendar days. The extension does not apply to businesses who have been required to close as a result of specific workplace outbreaks by local public health authorities. Again, as already set out under the rules of the JSS, the expectation is that large employers will not be making capital distributions whilst accessing the grant.
Which employees does it apply to?
The employer must have a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme registered on or before 23 September 2020 to make a claim. However, the employee does not have to have been previously furloughed. The employees will receive two thirds of their wages for the time not worked and the Government will pay a grant up of two-thirds of their normal pay up to a limit of £2,100 per month. The employer can top up employee pay if they wish.
The claim can be made where the premises are closed. If, when the premises re-open, the employers have reduced demand for working hours, then the employers can claim under the JSS set out previously. The employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the time that the grant is being claimed.
The employer must agree the changes to the employee’s terms and notify the employee in writing of the change to their terms.
What can be claimed?
The grant can be claimed to cover the employees’ wages, pay, and relevant payroll taxes. The grant will not cover employer National Insurance contributions or pension contributions that the employer will be required to pay.
The employer can make a claim monthly in arrears. Any claim cannot overlap.
Further information can be found on the Government factsheet and more detailed guidance will be published soon