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Document updated/added on 07.11.2020

Topic: Changing terms & conditions and TUPE

Open job support scheme agreement
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Open job support scheme agreement

Open job support scheme agreement

Although the launch of the Job Support Scheme has been postponed because of national developments related to the coronavirus pandemic, assuming that it does eventually take effect in May 2021, it is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses that are facing lower demand due to the pandemic. Our letter guides you through seeking employee consent.

Eligibility

The Job Support Scheme for open businesses (JSS Open) is expected to come into effect once the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends (which is currently due to be 30 April 2021), it will be open to all employers with a UK bank account and PAYE payroll scheme and it’s designed to help you support your employees doing some work. However, large employers (250+ employees) must meet a “financial impact test”. For an employee to be eligible, they must have been in your employment on 23 September 2020 and a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment in respect of them must have been made to HMRC at some point between 6 April 2019 and 23 September 2020. In addition, the employee must work at least 20% of their usual hours. You can cycle employees on and off the JSS Open and they don’t need to be working the same pattern each week/month, but each short time working arrangement must cover a minimum consecutive seven-day period. Neither you nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS to use the JSS Open.

How it works

You must continue to pay an employee their contracted wage for worked hours. For unworked usual hours, you will pay 5% (subject to a cap of £125 per month) and the government will pay 61.67% (capped at £1,541.75 per month) of the employee’s usual pay. The caps are reduced according to the proportion of unworked hours. As regards the final one third (33.33%) of the employees wages (and anything above the caps) for unworked hours, they agree to accept a wage reduction. In practice, you must pay the governments contribution to the employee and then claim it back online as a monthly grant in arrears. The grant doesn’t cover employers’ NI or pension contributions, although these still remain payable by you on the full amount paid to the employee. Importantly, an employee can’t be made redundant, or be serving a contractual or statutory notice period, during the period within which youre claiming the grant for them.

Consent

There’s no right for an employee to be included in the JSS Open; you initiate the process. However, placing an employee on short time working at reduced pay requires either a term in their employment contract permitting this or their express consent. It’s also a requirement of the JSS Open that you must make any changes to the employee’s employment contract by agreement confirmed in writing. So, our Open Job Support Scheme Agreement letter is intended to obtain the employee’s written agreement, both to the short time working arrangement and the reduced wages.

Letter contents

Our letter sets out how long you expect the short time working arrangement to last, in what circumstances it would end, and what the employee would be paid during it. It then asks the employee to sign to confirm they’re willing to accept the arrangement. While an employee is on short time working, their employment contract continues and they retain their statutory and contractual employment rights, e.g. they’ll continue to accrue annual leave and you must maintain their contractual benefits unless agreed otherwise.

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