What you need to know about the JSS Open and Closed

In previous blogs, we have shared details about the Coronavirus Jobs Support Scheme (for businesses who are still open). We have also provided information about the expanded offering for locked-down businesses.

The Government has now confirmed that these schemes will be referred to as:

- The Jobs Support Scheme Open (JSSO)

- The Jobs Support Scheme Closed (JSSC)

Both schemes will open on the 1st November 2020.

Across the U.K., we are seeing rapidly changing regional restrictions. As a result, the government has announced important changes to the JSSO.

Further details have also been released around eligibility for both schemes, and how much employers can claim.

JSSO: New terms

Following the government's original outline, employees of open businesses had to work at least one-third (33%) of hours paid in full by their employer.

Of the remaining two-thirds (67%) of total hours not worked, the employer was required to fund one-third (22%) and the government funded a further third (22%). The remaining third of the employee’s unworked hours (22%) was unpaid.

So, if an employee were to work 33% of their usual hours, they would receive approximately 77% of their usual pay (33%+22%+22%).

Under the new scheme terms, the minimum hours an employee must work have reduced to one-fifth (20%). For the remaining four-fifths (80%) of total hours not worked:

The employer must fund 5% of non-worked hours (to a cap of £125 per month). This represents 4% of the employee's total hours. The employer is responsible for paying NICs/pension contributions on the total amount paid to the employee.

The government will fund 67% of non-worked hours. This will be to a cap of £1541.75 per month. This represents approximately 49% of the employee's total hours.

So, under the new scheme; an employee who works 20% of their usual hours will receive approximately 73% of their usual pay (20% + 4% + 49%).

Note: The £125 cap on employer contributions is voluntary, and employers may pay more if they wish to do so.

The government has also stated that employers may, at their discretion, ‘top up’ an employee’s total pay. This permits employers to fund more than 5% of an employee's unworked hours.

An employer will only be able to make a claim once they submit Real Time Information (RTI) and make payments to employees. This is to reduce fraud and HMRC will check the claims before they pay the employer.

This means the payroll has to be funded by the employer in advance.

Employers will then be able to claim in arrears from the 8th December 2020. HMRC will start making payments after they have approved the claim.

JSSC: New details

No changes have been made to the core terms of the Job Support Scheme for businesses in a period of mandatory closure (JSSC). As previously announced, the government will fund 67% of an employee’s usual hours. This will be up to a cap of £2083.33 per month, where the employer is unable to trade due to local COVID19 restrictions. The employer is only responsible for paying the NICS/pension contributions due on this amount.

A newly published policy paper has clarified details of the scheme. The government has announced that the JSSC will only cover the period for which closure required by law. It will not be available for any further period that an employer chooses to remain closed.

An employee is not able to work at all for the employer in any period covered by a JSCC claim.


  • The closed premises must be the employee’s ‘primary workplace’

  • The employee must cease work for at least 7 consecutive/calendar days

Again, it has been confirmed that employers may top-up staff pay under the JSSC if they wish to do so.  

JSSO/JSSC: Eligibility

  • Both job support schemes are open to SME’s and larger employers in all areas, across all COVID alert levels.

  • You do not need to have used the furlough scheme to access either of the job support schemes.

  • All businesses required to close will be eligible for the JSCC, regardless of their financial circumstances or size.

However, to access the JSSO, larger employers (more than 250 staff) must pass a 'financial impact test'. This must demonstrate that “turnover has stayed level or is lower now than before experiencing difficulties from COVID19”. There will be no financial impact test for charities, regardless of their size.

What Does The Financial Impact Test Involve?

Larger employers will need to compare their VAT returns with the equivalent period in the previous financial year. This is to demonstrate a turnover which has decreased, or stayed the same. The exact requirements differ, depending on how often VAT returns are usually submitted. The financial impact test need only be completed once, before the employer’s first claim.

As always, please do contact us if you need support in managing your finances (business, or personal) during this time. Our team are available and happy to help!

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