The CJRS or furlough scheme ended on 31 October 2020 and has been replaced by the Job Support Scheme (JSS). This JSS has been designed to help businesses and employees deal with a fresh spike of the virus and a winter of uncertainty.
The JSS is now split into two parts, the JSS Open for businesses which remain open and the JSS Closed for businesses that are forced to close because of local or national lockdown measures. The two parts of the scheme will run in parallel for 6 months until 30 April 2021.
The provisions of the JSS Closed are more generous and reflect the fact that the employee is unable to work. This would mean they are under Tier 3 restrictions in England or similar lockdown regulations in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Under the specific terms of the JSS Closed, the government will pay two-thirds (67%) of employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,083.33 a month. Employees must be off work for at least 7 consecutive days to benefit from the expanded scheme. Businesses will only be able to use the JSS Closed whilst they are subject to specific lockdown measures that require the closure of their business premises.
Employers will have the discretion to top-up the payments if they so wish. This will help protect employee incomes, limit unemployment, and retain employer-employee matches so that these premises are able to reopen as quickly as possible when circumstances allow.
In line with the JSS Open, the grant will be paid in arrears, reimbursing the employer for the government’s contribution. An employer can claim the JSS Open and JSS Closed at the same time for different employees, for example a retailer with some premises that remain open and some that are forced to close.
Affected employees under the JSS Closed may also be entitled to additional financial support, including Universal Credit.