What's a Job Support Scheme letter, and when do you need one?
Use this letter where you intend to put an employee on the government’s Job Support Scheme, in operation from 1st November 2020. This letter can be used for an employee that is currently furloughed, has been furloughed in the past but is back at work, or who has never previously been furloughed under the earlier government support schemes.
Under the Job Support Scheme, employees working reduced hours will be paid as normal for the hours they work, with the government and their employer stepping in to top-up their pay for the hours that they don't work.
To be eligible, employees must be working for at least 33% of their usual hours. The government and their employer will then each pay an additional 1/3rd of an employees usual salary (the government's contribution is to be capped at £697.92).
To be clear, as an employer, even if you didn’t apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’s furlough support in the past, you can apply for support under the Job Support Scheme. This also means that the employee you’re writing to here need not have been previously furloughed to be eligible for these new support arrangements.
You can find out more here on how to apply for the scheme and for assistance in calculating a particular employee’s wages under the scheme. There is a specific calculation that needs to be applied to each employee’s circumstances, and the amount that the employee is paid, and what may be claimed in support from HMRC under the scheme will depend on the hours that you intend the employee to work.
You will need to be clear on this before you finalise and send this letter. You may want to take advice from your accountant or finance colleagues as you prepare the draft. You can invite them to collaborate with you using Farillio’s sharing option. Just click the button on the editor tool to get started and bring them into your drafting environment.
Our legal experts have also emphasised that you are not allowed to make an employee redundant while they are being supported under this Scheme, so you need to consider very carefully whether the employee’s role is likely to remain “viable” (i.e. needed) for the period that you’re proposing to put the employee on these arrangements.
There is no textbook definition of a “viable” job, your business will have to be happy with supporting and subsidising the role, so it's for you to make a judgement call that you can do that for the next six months, which makes it "viable."
The alternatives are to bring them back to full-time hours, reduce contractual hours by agreement, or make a redundancy. So, you have to decide that it's not worth losing the staff because the job will come back either during this six-month period or at the end of it.