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  • Mr Paul Clifton

Expansion of Job Support Scheme (JSS Closed)

For business that are required to close because of the Coronavirus

Photo provided by and is copyright of HM Treasury

The JSS below, that was to launch on 1 November 2020, has been delayed until early April 2021 as the furlough Job Retention Scheme will be extended (updated 5 November 2020).

The Job Support Scheme was expanded on 9 October 2020 to businesses required to close due, such as under the tier 3 restrictions in England. The scheme, known as the 'JSS Closed' scheme will apply across the UK. It will provide a temporary safety net for employees and businesses that are legally required to close their premises as a direct result of local or national coronavirus restrictions.

The scheme will only apply to businesses that are instructed to close, rather than to those that choose to shut or are impacted by other coronavirus restrictions.

It will also include businesses that are required to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises. Businesses will only be eligible to claim the JSS Closed grant whilst they are subject to the restrictions and their employees must be off work for a minimum of 7 consecutive days.

An employer can claim the JSS Open and JSS Closed grant at the same time for different employees. An employer cannot claim for a single employee under both schemes at the same time.

For employees

Employees who work for businesses that are forced to close will to be paid two-thirds of their wages. Affected businesses will receive a grant from the government for the affected employees. Employees must give up one third of their wages, and will have to agree to that change in their employment contract in writing if they are not already on a zero hours contract.

The government will repay 66.67% of employees’ usual wages, up to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month. Businesses will not be required to contribute towards wages, but will need to pay any resultant employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

Businesses can apply under the JSS Closed even if they have not previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The JSS will be available for six months from 1 November to 30 April 2021. HMRC will pay the grants to businesses monthly in arrears, via a HMRC claims service, that will be available from early December. The scheme will be reviewed in January.

Employees must be on the employer's payroll between 6 April 2019 and 23 September 2020 and included on at least one RTI payroll submission in that period. This means that employees do not have to be employed continuously for the the whole period so long as they are employed at some time with this period. Employee must have been in employment with the affected employer on 23 September 2020.

Employers will be able to make their first claim under either JSS Closed from 8 December 2020.

HMRC will publish the names of employers which use the JSS Open and JSS Closed schemes. Employees will be able to check if their employer has made a JSS claim on their behalf via their personal tax account. This feature is designed to prevent employers from claiming JSS while also asking employees to work.

For businesses

In addition, for businesses forced to close, the government is increasing the grants available to businesses that are forced to shut because of local lockdowns to help support their fixed costs.

The grants will be based on the rateable values of their premises. A maximum of £3,000 per month will be payable every two weeks, compared to up to £1,500 every three weeks which was available previously. This will benefit businesses, including restaurants and pubs. The government is also extending the scheme to include businesses which have been forced to close on a national rather than a local basis.

Small businesses with a rateable value below £15,000 can now claim £1,300 per month; medium sized businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 can claim £2,000 per month; and larger businesses can claim £3,000.

Further information will be published in the coming weeks.

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