The Job Support Scheme (JSS) replaces the furlough scheme and comes into effect on 1 November 2020. In this article, we answer FAQs about the scheme.
Which employees are eligible for JSS?
Employees who have been on the PAYE payroll since before 23 September 2020; they must work at least 33% of their usual hours.
Is the JSS restricted to businesses that furloughed employees?
No. Further, employees do not need to have been furloughed to be eligible for the JSS.
What if employees are unable to work 33% of their regular hours because there is no work?
If not enough work is available to provide 33% of their usual working hours, the employee will not be eligible for the JSS. This element of the JSS has been highly criticised. It is also not yet clear whether the 33% applies to an average over a month or over a more extended period of time.
Employees can cycle on and off the JSS (according to the government factsheet) but each working period must cover a minimum of seven days.
Does an employer need to guarantee employees on the scheme will not be made redundant for six months?
No. There is no ban on redundancies during the six months of the JSS. The government factsheet outlines that employees may not be made redundant or given notice of redundancy while they are in the JSS. However, employers can move an employee out of the JSS and make them redundant.
What happens if there is a local lockdown and employees in the JSS can’t work?
Government advice continues to be to work from home if possible; this is more relevant in Essex and other areas with local lockdowns but no further guidance has been received about how the JSS will be affected by local lockdowns where work cannot be undertaken from home or if the reduction in work is due to the lockdown.
Can employees take a holiday while in the JSS?
We don’t yet know whether holidays will form part of the 33% minimum working hour’s requirement, or whether they will be regarded as unworked hours. Holiday pay should be paid in full in any event.
What if an employee has to take time off sick or self-isolate?
Employees who need to take time off sick will be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) but it is likely (by reference to the way that the furlough scheme worked) that sick leave is incompatible with being on the JSS. As an employee may be able to work from home during a period of self isolation, the JSS can still apply in those circumstances.
The employment team at TSP works closely with the corporate and commercial teams and delivers sensible advice designed to help your business do what is necessary. If you have any concerns about managing your staff at this difficult time, please do not hesitate contact Jolyon Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07771 542740. Jolyon leads the TSP Employment Law team and is a Legal 500 “Leading Individual”.