The government yesterday announced another increase in support for businesses claiming under the Job Support Scheme (JSS).

The changes relate to the ‘part time’ JSS. Under these:

  • The employer contribution towards an employee’s unworked hours will decrease from a third to 5% with the government’s contribution increasing up to 61.67% (subject to a cap of £1,541.75).
  • The minimum hours an employee needs to work to be eligible under the JSS will fall from a third to 20% of their normal working hours.

This means that, to claim under the scheme, an employee needs to work 20% of their normal working hours. Their employer will then be responsible for paying to the employee 5% of the cost of their unworked hours, whilst the government will be responsible for paying up to 61.67% of the unworked hours.

Employers then have the option of further topping up their employees' wages if they wish. 

In announcing the changes, Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated that he hoped this “stepped-up support” could be part of the “country pulling together” in the coming months. The government has faced growing criticism that the existing JSS scheme would be insufficient to support those businesses affected by increased coronavirus restrictions but not forced to close. Although the changes will be predominantly aimed at those within ‘Tier 2’ levels of restrictions, support under the scheme is not tied to the ‘Tier-status’ of any particular business.

In addition, the government has also confirmed that business grants will be extended to cover business “in particularly affected sectors in high-alert level areas” and that grants for the self-employed will be doubled to 40% of profits to a maximum of £3,750.

The JSS will begin operating on 1 November, however the Treasury Direction setting the full details of the scheme is yet to be published and no release date has been confirmed.