The government revises Job Support Scheme to pay higher amount of employees’ wages

HMRC publishes guidance on GMP equalisation

The government has revised its the Job Support Scheme (JSS) that will replace the Job Retention scheme on 1 November.

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announed orgaisations will able to claim up to 62% of the cost of hours not worked by employees, capped at £1,541.75 per month. This is more than double the £697.92 that was announced previously.

Under the new arrangement, employees must work a minimum of 20% of their normal hours, paid for by their employer. Organisations will also need to pay staff for 5% of non-worked hours, capped at £125 per month. However, employers can top up employees’ salaries above the 5% minimum. The scheme is open to all small businesses and larger organisations that can prove revenues have been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.

Employers that are claiming through the JSS will also be eligible to claim the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus (JRB) for each employee that meets its criteria.

The scheme, which is due to run for six months, will be reviewed in the new year.

Peter Cheese, chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), said:  “We welcome the government’s changes in making JSS Open more flexible and significantly increasing its contribution to wage costs, while reducing the amount that employers have to contribute. Our research with employers found that in its previous form, the JSS would have been unlikely to save a significant number of jobs, so hopefully these changes will help reduce employers’ redundancy plans.

“However, the latest changes to the Job Support Scheme are very confusing for employers, given the new scheme is being introduced in 10 days’ time, before the guidance on the now obsolete part-time Job Support Scheme had even been published.

“It is crucial that guidance for employers on the new scheme is available as soon as possible. Small firms in particular will struggle to get to grips with the details of the new scheme, while there will be real challenges for a business that has outlets throughout England or in the other nations under different tier restrictions and have to claim under both the JSS Open and JSS Closed.

“Longer-term government needs to simplify its approach to wage subsidy support to create one clearly understandable national scheme that provides a base level of sufficient support for all worst hit firms with criteria restricting it to those most affected by the pandemic.”