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What Schools Need to Know About The Job Support Scheme

on Thursday, 22 October 2020.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is coming to an end on 31 October 2020. The Government has recently announced the Job Support Scheme (JSS) as a way of continuing to support employers impacted by the pandemic to meet the cost of paying staff.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is coming to an end on 31 October 2020. The Government has recently announced the Job Support Scheme (JSS) as a way of continuing to support employers impacted by the pandemic to meet the cost of paying staff. Just this week the Chancellor has reviewed and varied how the JSS is intended to work in order to provide increased flexibility and additional support for employers.

The JSS will commence on 1 November 2020 and run for six months.

How Does It Work?

There are two JSS schemes, JSS Open and JSS Closed, the latter specifically for organisations which have been required to close under lockdown regulations.

JSS Open

Employees must work at least 20% of their normal hours. Schools will be responsible for paying staff wages for the proportion of time staff spend working.

For the remaining hours that are not worked, the employee will receive two-thirds of their normal pay.Of this sum, the employer will pay 5% (together with national insurance and pension contributions on the full amount) and the Government will pay 61.67% (subject to a cap of £1,541.75). 

An Example Under the Open JSS

An employee earning £30,000 per annum or £2,500 per month who works 20% of their normal working time in one month under the Open JSS would be paid as follows:

  • 20% of normal hours worked - paid by the employer in usual way - £500 (gross)
  • 2/3rd of their normal pay for the 80% of hours not worked - £1,340 (gross)
  • Accordingly the employee would receive - £1,840 (gross) (a total of 73.6% of normal pay)
  • The employer would pay;

- 20% in the usual way- £500

- 5% (of the £1340) - £67

- Normal pension contributions and NI

  •  The Government would pay £1273 (gross)
  • The Employee would receive £660 (gross) less than usual

Closed JSS

The Government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

Under these provisions, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages but are asked to cover National Insurance and pension contributions.

An Example Under the Closed JSS

An employee earning £30,000 per annum or £2,500 per month who could not work under the Closed JSS would be paid as follows:

  • 67% of normal pay by the Government - £1,675 (gross)
  • The employer would pay normal pension contributions and NI and any optional top up

Which Employees Are Eligible?

An employee needs to have been employed by 23 September 2020. They do not need to have been furloughed to be eligible under the JSS.

Can a School Rotate Employees Using the Open JSS?

Yes. Each arrangement between a school and employee must cover a minimum pay period of seven days but it appears that employees can otherwise be rotated.

Can All Employers Use This Scheme?

Open JSS is open to all employers with less than 250 employees.

It is also open to all charitable employers irrespective of the number of employees (this will include many independent schools).

Non-charitable employer with more than 250 employees need to satisfy a Financial Impact Test demonstrating their turnover has remained equal or fallen to show they have been adversely affected due to coronavirus.

Closed JSS will only apply to businesses that are legally required to close their premises due to local or national COVID-19 restrictions. The extension will not apply to businesses that are required by local public health authorities to close following a specific workplace COVID-19 outbreak.

It may be that the closed scheme is of little value to schools - if schools are not required to close their premises to pupils in the same way as they did in March even during a local or national lockdown. For those schools with affected trading subsidiary operations however, that are required to close, it could be of some benefit.

Is the JSS Simply the CJRS But at a Lower Rate of Government Contribution?

No. The emphasis of the JSS is very much to preserve viable jobs, rather than all jobs. In contrast to the CJRS, employees cannot be made redundant or given notice of redundancy whilst their employer calls upon the JSS. The JSS could therefore be useful to a school that is not operating at capacity, or in circumstances where a year group or bubble is isolating, reducing the workload for particular staff. The JSS could also be used by schools in respect of support staff, where there might be a reduced requirement for particular roles.

Must the School Agree the Arrangement with the Employee?

Yes. As with the CJRS, the change in hours must be agreed in writing with each employee. Failure to do so could lead to breach of contract and employment related claims.

HMRC also has the power to request a copy of the written agreement.

Further guidance on both the Bonus and JSS are expected over the coming weeks. Further developments are likely as the Government responds to the changing COVID-19 situation and makes further decisions on a local and national level.

Coronavirus Legal Advice


For further information on these issues please contact Alice Reeve in our Employment Law team on 07741 271363, or complete the form below.

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