The Government announced on 24 September 2020 that it will be supporting employers with its Winter Job Scheme. The Scheme is to open on 1 November 2020 and will run for six months, closing April 2021.
Under the Scheme, employees will work at least one third of their usual hours. Of the remaining two thirds, the government will contribute one third of unworked pay (subject to a cap) and the employer will contribute another third. This means that the employee will receive at least 77% of their normal wages.
The Government has broken this down, to explain that for every hour not worked by the employee, the Government and the employer will each pay one third of the employee’s usual hourly pay.
The Government’s contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month, made in arrears and will not cover National Insurance or pension contributions.
Should the employee have been furloughed previously, the payments will be calculated subject to their usual wages rather than their furlough wages. Further guidance is expected on ‘usual wages’.
All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE scheme will be eligible, and need not have taken part in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Large businesses will have to meet a financial assessment test and prove their turnover is lower now than before Coronavirus, and should not be making capital distributions whilst taking part. More details on this are expected.
Small and medium enterprises will not be subject to a financial assessment test.
Employees must be on the employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020, and need not have been furloughed.
Employees need not stay on the scheme for its full run, or work the same pattern each month, but each short-term working pattern must cover at least seven days.
The employee must work at least one third of their usual hours, and be paid their normal contracted wage for this time.
Employers must agree new short-time working arrangements with staff and notify the employee in writing – this should be made available to HMRC on request.
Employers will be able to make a claim through Gov.uk from December 2020.
Grants will be paid on a monthly basis in arrears, meaning a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given pay period and after the employee has been paid.
HMRC will be checking claims made, and payments may be withheld, or employers may have to pay grants back if the claim is fraudulent or based on incorrect information.
The Government has clarified that employees can not be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period in which they are taking part in the scheme.
Employers should be aware that the Government may revise and increase the minimum hours the employee must work to be eligible.
For further information about the Scheme rules, together with examples, visit the Government’s factsheet: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/921389/Job_Support_Scheme_Factsheet.pdf