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On 5 November 2020, the Government announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until 31 March 2021. As a result, the Job Support Scheme has now been postponed until further notice.

At the end of October, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (more commonly referred to as furlough scheme) is due to come to an end. In its place, the Job Support Scheme (‘JSS’) is set to begin on 1 November 2020, and is proposed to be in place for six months.

Open Business

The initial Treasury factsheet indicated that the aim of the JSS was to protect “viable” jobs, with employees having to work and be paid for at least 33% of normal hours. The government and the employer were then to each pay 33% of the hours not worked by the employee. However, on 22 October 2020, HM Treasury made a further announcement that the scheme was to be changed and would now require businesses to contribute only 5% of the cost of hours not worked, with the government increasing its contribution. Furthermore, the minimum hour requirement for employees has been reduced from 33% to 20%.

Closed Business

The scheme was previously extended on 9 October 2020 to assist employers who are legally required to completely close their business due to local coronavirus restrictions. Where a business is legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one of the four UK governments, the JSS would support the wage costs of employees who have been instructed to cease work for a minimum of 7 days. Such support would be two thirds of an employee’s normal salary up to a limit of £2,100 per month.  The scheme for businesses legally required to close remains unchanged by the latest announcement.

The full announcement can be found here. Further detailed guidance and Treasury directions are awaited.

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