Due to government announcements on 31st October, these schemes have been deferred and the furlough scheme will continue for now. The Chancellor had previously announced the Job Support Scheme that was going to replace the furlough scheme from 1st November. Since then he has split this into two different schemes, Job Support – Open and Job Support – Closed. The two schemes provide different levels of support and have different eligibility criteria.

PICTURE: Arturo Rey/Unsplash

Common criteria

Both schemes came into effect from 1st November 2020 and are expected to run until 30th April 2021. The conditions of both will be reviewed in January 2021. Employers must have a UK bank account and use PAYE online. 

To be eligible, an employee must have been employed before
23rd September 2020, though government guidance is unclear whether wages for them have to be reported under RTI by that date. 

Employers will be able to make claims from 8th December 2020. Each claim must be for a minimum of 7 days. Claims can only be made after employees have been paid and this has been reported through RTI. 

Job Support – Open

This scheme will apply when a business can open, but only has reduced hours for their staff. Staff must work a minimum of 20% of their normal hours (normal hours is calculated in the same way as for the furlough scheme) with the reduced hours agreed in writing with affected employees. Employers must pay for the hours worked, plus 5% of the unworked hours up to a maximum of £125 per month. The government will then fund two thirds of the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. 

Employers will also have to pay the associated Employer’s National Insurance and Pension costs. They can also choose to top-up an employee’s pay above the minimum required. 

Job Support – Closed

This scheme applies when employees cannot work at all because the business has had to close under enhanced restrictions. The government will fund two-thirds of normal wages up to a maximum of  £2,083.33 per month. Employees will have to accept the temporary loss of one third of their normal wages in writing during this time. Employers will not be able to top-up employees’ pay. 


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