The Job Support Scheme (“JSS”) was first announced by the Chancellor on 24 September 2020 as support for safeguarding viable jobs in businesses that are facing lower demand over the winter due to the impact of COVID-19 (the “Short-time Working JSS”). Subsequently, on 9 October 2020, an extension to the JSS was announced to cover businesses that are legally required to close their premises due to local or national COVID-19 restrictions (the “Premises Closure JSS”). Details of these announcements can be found in our previous e-update which can be accessed here.

As originally announced, the Short-time Working JSS would require employees to be working 33% of their normal hours, and the Government would pay a third of hours not worked, up to a cap of £697.92 per month, with the employer also contributing a third to ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.

The new announcement

In recognition of the challenging times ahead, the Chancellor has announced that it will significantly increase the scope of its winter support schemes in an attempt to ensure livelihoods and jobs across the UK continue to be protected in the difficult months to come.

The Chancellor has confirmed the following key points:

  • The government has increase the contribution to eligible wage costs under the Job Support Scheme and Employers will be expected to pay 5% of the cost of unworked hours instead of the 33% originally announced.
  • The minimum working hours requirement will be reduced from 33% to 20%

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

No changes have been made to the Premises closure JSS.

For further information, on the Job Support Scheme can be found on the government Fact Sheet which can be accessed here. Further details of the scheme are awaited.