The Job Support Scheme (JSS) is now going into its third iteration of the scheme, and the scheme still has over a week to go before it goes live. What is it Rabbie Burns said about best laid plans? I’m sure that was the question being asked within the treasury as they made further revisions to the scheme. It was certainly the question I was asking myself after presenting our webinar on the, now superseded, JSS rules this morning!
We await the detailed information on the latest version of the scheme, with a JSS policy document covering conditions of the scheme and eligibility due to be released shortly. However, we expect many of the conditions originally announced for the JSS (link to my original blog here), will remain. Conditions which are likely to still underpin the JSS are likely to include; the financial assessment requirements for large businesses; the minimum 7 day reduced working period; the 23 September employee cut off and the inability to use the scheme when making employees redundant.
From the latest announcements, it is clear that the level of support on offer to employers and the lower bar for what the treasury deem to be a viable job, will result in an increased take up of the JSS from what was previously expected.
The treasury now have two separate schemes; the JSS Open and the JSS Closed. The JSS Open scheme is the one which is open to all, and while we are yet to have any information on the JSS Closed scheme, it is presumably designed to give support over and above the JSS open scheme, to those areas where local lockdown measures are in place (tiers 2 and 3).
The JSS Open scheme will only require employees to undertaken 20% of their normal working hours to qualify for the JSS Open, down from 33% previously announced. This will clearly open the scheme up to a wider pool of employees, who previously would have been in jobs deemed unviable by the scheme.
In addition, the level of grant towards the employees non-working time wages is increasing from 33% up to 61.67%, with the employer contribution to the non-working time wages reduced from 33% down to 5% and capped at £125 per month, per employee. In recognition of the increased percentage now cover by the grant, the grant will now be capped at £1,541.75 per employee, per month.
From the information released on the JSS Open so far, employers will still need to meet the entirety of the employment costs (employer national insurance and employer pension contributions) themselves.
Employers will also need to fund the wage costs initially themselves, with claims only able to be made monthly in arrears and it will not be possible to make the first claim until 8 December.
We will continue to keep our blog updated as we get further detail on the JSS Open scheme and news of how the JSS Closed scheme will work.