Covid - More on the Job Support Scheme

As the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end, the resurgence of infection cases and new lockdown measures have left a lot of businesses wondering how and if they will get through the next phase of the pandemic. Understandably, most enquiries we received this week have been around the Government’s new Job Support Scheme.

As with the CJRS, we are left waiting until the last minute for information and guidance as to the finer points of how the scheme will operate. Having already had to make changes to the scheme to make it a fairer system for businesses that elect to close owing to a downturn in trade over those that are forced to close by law, we can probably expect an ongoing “design and build” approach to tackle further issues as they arise.

The first thing to remember however is that when he announced the scheme, the Chancellor was very clear that it is designed to support “viable jobs”. This is a subjective phrase as which jobs are truly viable will be open to interpretation. Businesses should ask themselves the question honestly and brutally to avoid delaying the inevitable.

The “Job Support Scheme Closed”, for businesses forced to close because of lockdown measure, will be operated on a grant-based system and we expect it to be very similar to the furlough scheme, albeit at lower rates and with more frequent reviews.

According to official information, the Job Support Scheme Open “is designed to protect jobs in businesses who can operate safely but are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19”.

It’s a noble idea but whether or not the demand that existed previously will ever return is something of a crystal ball question. We’ve seen tumultuous changes in how businesses operate, with huge swing towards digital. The potential changes in consumer habits going forward is likely to be “best guess” for most

As with the Furlough scheme, we’re expecting a lot of questions around holiday.

Previously we advised that employers insist of their furloughed staff that holiday accrued during furlough was deemed to be taken during furlough. Thus avoiding the risks and potential challenges of weeks and weeks of holiday accumulating and being carried over to next year.

With a reduction in Government contribution, businesses will find it harder to top up pay to 100% for holiday days but it may prove to be the lesser of two evils in the long term. It will be a shame if a recovering business flounders because of it’s employees’ holiday commitments.

As usual, keep coming back for all the latest news and views in HR and Employment Law and of you need more specific support please call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.