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Chancellor announces updates to new Job Support Scheme

23 October 2020

The government has now published further details about the changes to the Job Support Scheme announced by the Chancellor yesterday.

(Read the latest about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as furlough).

There will be two Job Support Schemes (JSS), to be known as JSS Open and JSS Closed. JSS Closed is for businesses required to close under lockdown regulations.

Yesterday’s announcement lightened the financial burden for employers of retaining staff under what is now JSS Open. When originally announced, the JSS – which will come into effect on 1 November – saw employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked, and required employees to be working 33% of their normal hours.

The government’s announcement reduces the minimum hours requirements for JSS Open to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible. Employers will still have to pay for the worked hours, plus NI and pension contributions. The announcement also reduces the employer contribution to the unworked hours to just 5%, with the government paying for 61.67% of the unworked hours – so the employee gets paid for two thirds of the unworked hours (although subject to a cap which will affect those earning more than £3,125 per month). The employer will have to pay NI and pension contributions on that amount. However the employee will still not be paid for the remaining one third of the unworked hours. There must be a written agreement between employer and employee, agreeing to the changes.

Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus.

The JSS Closed for businesses legally required to close remains unchanged. The employee will receive two thirds of their normal wages, paid for by government (again, with a cap affecting those who earn more than £3,125 per month). The employer must pay the NI and pension contributions on that amount. Again, there must be a written agreement between employer and employee, agreeing to the changes.

We will keep you updated on updates to the scheme but if you need assistance in the meantime, for instance with documenting JSS arrangements with staff, please get in touch.

We’re here to help

We appreciate that it is a confusing and uncertain times for employers, but we’re here to help.

Our employment law team is fully equipped to advise you on your rights and obligations in this most unusual situation and how best to implement this guidance across your workforce.

Our legal services are operating as normal, with all of our lawyers working safely from home.

Please call 01242 514000 or email Matthew Clayton in our employment law team and we will be delighted to help.

Email Jenny


We’re regularly updating our website with more COVID-19 legal insights, so keep an eye on this page for the latest legal perspectives relating to the coronavirus.

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Jenny Hawrot LLB (Hons)
Senior associate, solicitor
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Jenny Hawrot
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