By Pamela Phillips
HMRC hasn’t given much detail yet but they have let us know the highlights which we share here.
What is the Job Support Scheme?
- The Job Support Scheme starts on the 1st of November and will run for 6 months. There is no doubt that it is less generous than the current furlough scheme.
- Employees must work at least one-third of their regular hours to qualify.
- Of the time not worked, employers pay 1/3 and the government will pay a 1/3 and the rest is effectively a pay cut for employees.
- The government contribution is capped at £697.92 per month.
Do my staff have to have been on furlough to qualify?
No. Any employee on the payroll on or before 23 September 2020 (meaning a RTI submission must have been made to HMRC before that date) is eligible for the Job Support Scheme.
Can I put a member of staff on redundancy notice while claiming the Job Support Scheme?
No, unlike furlough you cannot claim support through the scheme for any members of your team who are on redundancy notice.
Can staff go on and off the scheme?
Yes, but each working period must cover a minimum of 7 days.
Can I claim when my staff are on holiday?
It is unlikely that this will be allowed. If your team have large amounts of holiday built up then you can force them to take this before furlough ends at the end of 31st October and then claim 60% of that time back in a furlough claim.
To force staff to take holiday you must give twice as much notice as the time you request they take off.
When they are on holiday you must ’top up’ their pay to their regular salary level.
Can I top up staff wages as I do now under furlough?
HMRC has said there is an expectation that staff wages will not be topped up for the hours now worked which are not covered by the government's contribution or the employers contribution. This means that staff will have a pay cut.
Do I need to issue new employment contracts to staff?
Yes. New short term contracts must be drawn up and shared with employees before moving them onto the scheme.
HMRC have said that they will be checking claims and may ask to see copies of these contracts.
HMRC have also said they intend to notify staff that they have been included in a Job Support Scheme claim.
How do I make a claim?
The claim portal will open in December (it doesn’t exist yet) and claims will be made in arrears and paid monthly.
A claim cannot be submitted until employees have been paid and an RTI return has been filed to HMRC. This may cause a cashflow problem to businesses that have, under furlough, been filing claims and waiting to receive funds before paying staff.
What can be claimed for?
Usual, pre-furlough, wages can be claimed for. Employers NIC and Pensions cannot be claimed for.
Detailed guidance has yet to be issued explaining how ‘usual’ wages should be calculated.
Where to go for further information?
Further technical details of the schemes will be published by the government but no date has been announced as to when. Please be assured we will be here to provide you with support and please get in touch if you have any queries on the measures announced.