COVID- 19: Job Support Scheme Summary

Louise McCosh | 27 October 2020

COVID- 19: Job Support Scheme Summary

Please note - the below was written on 27th October, before the furlough (Job Retention) scheme was extended.  The Job Support Scheme is now on-hold, but you may wish to read this more recent article on the November furlough extension.


They say as one door closes, another door opens – in the case of the furlough scheme, with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ending on 31 October 2020, the Government has announced further changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) coming into place on 1 November 2020.  But instead of one door, there will be two and one will be ‘Open’ and the other very much ‘Closed’!  [We know, it's confusing, but keep with us and we'll try to explain a little more below...]

The development of the Job Support Scheme.

It is fair to say that getting to the current position with the Job Support Scheme has been a rather bumpy ride leaving the public, businesses, employees and advisers scratching their heads – below is a whistle stop tour of how we got where we are in the last month:

  • The original Job Support Scheme was unveiled in late September with a lukewarm response from business. What the government were offering did not make commercial sense – the employee would take home 77% of their wages with the employer paying two thirds and the government paying the remaining wages.  
  • However, under immense pressure from opposition, trade unions and industry bodies (in particular hospitality) a very welcome revision to the scheme was made in early October.  The change was, where a business is legally required to close from November onwards the government would pay two-thirds of the employee’s wages with no employer contribution (other than national insurance and pension contributions).  [With us so far?]
  • The announcement of the differing Tier systems across the UK caused further consternation though, largely from those businesses not legally required to close but who were seeing a significant downturn in trade as a result of the restrictions imposed. As a result, the government last week announced that they would scrap their original plans of open businesses requiring their staff to work a third of their time, and instead reduce this to the employee working one-fifth of their usual time paid by their employer, and the employee will take home 66.67% (with 61.67% paid by the government and 5% + national insurance + pension contributions paid by the employer). 

Right, so where are we now?

One month later following a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing, third time lucky, we have a Job Support Scheme which is far more generous than we could have anticipated.  There is a palpable recognition that the support provided by the government since March through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme could not continue, but the new scheme will certainly stem the flow of job losses over the next six months. 

The theory of the Job Support Scheme is relatively simple:

  • there is one scheme available for businesses who are ‘Open’ but facing less demand, and
  • one scheme for those who are ‘Closed’ as a result of restrictions, such as pubs and restaurants in Central Scotland.

However, just like the furlough scheme, in practice there are several layers of complexity which employers need to navigate through to determine if they are eligible to participate and what and how to make a claim when furlough comes to an end.  

The government guidance is available online, but amounts to over 6,000 words of guidance and rules for employers to decipher and understand.  We have therefore distilled this down into a table which you can download by clicking here.

Finally, like the original furlough scheme, this will be a UK-wide scheme administered by the HMRC.  However, it remains to be seen whether the Scottish Government’s newly announced '5 tier system' may add an extra layer of complexity to the operation of the scheme and we will keep you updated on developments with this. 

Other types of support.

You'll be aware that JSS is only one type of support; there are other schemes available so please read through our other blogs and online content to find out more. Of specific interest may be this piece on the Scottish Government's Strategic Framework (i.e. 5 Tier) support - click here to have a read.

Need further help?

If you would like further support on either the Job Support Scheme or other employment related matters, please do get in touch at and we will be delighted to help. 



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