Updated 4th November 2020
Over the last few days, there has been a lot of talk in the media regarding what the second lockdown in England would mean for the Job Support Scheme – which was due to replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) on 1 November. However, on the 31 October, Prime Minster Boris Johnson announced that the CJRS will be continued throughout the month of November and to the whole UK, due to the second lockdown in England. This means that employees will be able to receive 80% of their current salary, up to a maximum of £2500.
All employers are eligible for this extension of the CJRS, and businesses will have flexibility if they want to bring employees back on a part time basis, or keep them on the scheme full time. Businesses will, however, still be asked to pay their employees national insurance and pension contributions – although this only amounts to 5% of total employment costs.
The Job Support Scheme (JSS) was meant to come into action on 1 November. This scheme was meant to financially support employers who were experiencing reduced business activity as a result of the current situation. This new scheme would have seen employers claiming a grant in arrears, in order to cover some of their usual wage costs for any hours not worked in the month before.
However, for the time being, the JSS has been postponed until the CJRS ends. In England this is most likely to be 2 December, which is when the second lockdown is expected to end. In the rest of the UK, clarification is needed from the Prime Minister and Chancellor regarding the possibilities of still being supported by the CJRS if they go into a second lockdown after this current extension ends.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was initially unsure how much support Scotland would be offered if it was to go into a second lockdown in December, however the Prime Minister has since confirmed that Scotland WILL get the same level of support as England has had, should it go into a lockdown after the 2 December. Nicola Sturgeon has importantly stated that she “hasn’t yet seen any detail of what that means when translated into hard practice.”