With the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on 31st October, the New COVID-19 Job Support Scheme starts on 1st November 2020 and will run for 6 months until April 2021 for SMEs (less than 250 employees). The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The company will continue to pay employees for time worked, but the burden of hours not worked will be split 3 ways between the employer, the government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction) and the employee will keep their job. This means that employees will receive at least two thirds of their usual wages for the hours not worked. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
To qualify, employees must be on the payroll on or before 23rd September 2020 and work at least 33% of their usual hours. Employees will be able to cycle on and off the scheme and do not have to be working the same pattern each month, but each short-term working arrangement must cover a minimum period of 7 days. Employers must agree the new short-time working arrangement with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing.
For every hour not worked by the employee, both the Government and employer will pay a third each of the usual hourly wage for that employee. The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month. Grants will be made in arrears, reimbursing the employer for the Government’s contribution. The grant will not cover employer NIC or pension contributions. Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.
Employers will be able to make a claim online through Gov.UK from December 2020. Grants will be payable in arrears meaning that a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given period, after payment to the employee has been made and that payment has been reported to HMRC via an RTI return.