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Chancellor reveals changes to Job Support Scheme

22 October: Changes announced by Rishi Sunak today will bring more flexibility to the JSS and reduce costs to employers for employees working fewer hours due to the coronavirus pandemic.

10 November: This page has been archived following the announcement by the Chancellor on 31 October that in view of the need for a second lock down of the UK, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would be extended through to 31 March 2021. The Job Support Scheme will not now take effect from 1 November as had been previously intended.

The Job Support Scheme (JSS), the next phase of UK government support for business and employment during the COVID pandemic, starts on 1 November 2020.

The Chancellor’s announcement means that the scheme for businesses that remain open will require less financial input from employers and employees will be eligible for support while working fewer hours than were originally envisaged when the JSS was announced on 24 September.

The key changes are:

  • the employer contribution to the wage cost of unworked hours is reduced to 5%, and
  • the minimum number of hours the employee will have to work is reduced to 20%, rather than 33%, so those working just one day a week will now be eligible.

The original plan for the scheme would have meant employers paying one third of their employees’ wages for their hours not worked, as well as normal wages for the time actually worked, making the overall cost of retaining staff on part-time hours prohibitive for many businesses.

Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus.

The Job Support Scheme Closed, for businesses legally required to close, remains unchanged.