The Job Support Scheme (JSS) was originally announced by the Chancellor on 24 September 2020 as a replacement to the furlough scheme, and to safeguard viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months.

On 9 October, an extension to the JSS was announced to provide enhanced support for businesses that are legally required to close their premises due to local or national Covid-19 restrictions.

There was some criticism that businesses operating in tier two of the Government’s tiered approach to tackling the impact of Covid-19 fell through the cracks. Whilst businesses, particularly those in hospitality, would not be required to close in Tier 2 restrictions, and therefore would not be able to access the enhanced support of the JSS, they would likely be facing much reduced custom due to the ban on households mixing and the 10pm curfew.

Recognising the pressure that businesses in some sectors and areas are facing, and in an attempt to protect as many jobs as possible, the Government has today announced an amendment to the JSS scheme.

When the JSS scheme was originally announced – which will come into effect on 1 November 2020 – employees were required to work at least a third of their normal hours of work which would be paid as normal. The employer was also expected to pay a third of the employee’s wages for the hours not worked. This would have required employers to contribute up to 55% of an employee’s wages for working just a third of their normal hours.

The JSS will now be amended so that the employer’s contribution to those unworked hours will be reduced from 33% to just 5%. The government will now fund 62% of the wages for hours not worked. This more than doubles the maximum payment covered by the taxpayer to £1,541.75 a month. The employee will still forgo a third of their salary for hours not worked.

The announcement also reduces the minimum hours requirement to 20%, so those working one day per week will be eligible.

The scheme will be open to all small businesses and larger businesses that can show an impact on revenues.

It is aimed at addressing the gap in support for businesses in tier two restrictions, such as London and West Yorkshire, but is not explicitly tied to that status, and is available across the UK.

If you would like any further information, please contact Kathryn Moorhouse on 0113 280 2231 or or another member of the employment law team.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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