Following Reports that closure of the UK’s furlough scheme could put 70,000 Northern Ireland jobs in jeopardy, Causeway Coast & Glens Councillor John McAuley has urged employers to exhaust all avenues of Government support available to them including the New Job Support Scheme before initiating any redundancy proceedings.
Commenting, Cllr McAuley added that: ”The Job Support Scheme (JSS) is being introduced from 1st November 2020 and will run for 6 months, until 30 April 2021providing different types of support, so businesses can get the right assistance, at the right time, according to their situation.
”2020 has been a difficult year for both employers and employees and I welcome the introduction of this scheme which if utilised by employers can give families reassurance over the coming months, removing any unnecessary additional financial worries as we enter the festive period which many already find difficult and challenging.
”Unfortunately a number of employers choose not to avail of the Governments previous Furlough Scheme resulting in many unnecessary redundancies putting families into financial debt which some will never recover from as a result of the impact on their mental health and we must avoid a repeat of this scenario with the new scheme.
The latest Job Support Scheme will be available as follows:
Employers facing decreased demand (JSS Open)
Many employers can operate safely but continue to face reduced demand so they may need extra support over the winter to help keep their employees attached to their workforce.
For these employers, the Job Support Scheme, through JSS Open, will give employers the option of keeping their employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.
The employee will need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours and the employer will continue to pay them as normal for the hours worked. Alongside this, the employee will receive 66.67% of their normal pay for the hours not worked – this will be made up of contributions from the employer and from the government.
The employer will pay 5% of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, with the discretion to pay more than this if they wish. The government will pay the remainder of 61.67%, of reference salary for the hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. This will ensure employees continue to receive at least 73% of their normal wages, where they earn £3,125 a month or less.
Employers who are legally required to close their premises (JSS Closed)
Some employers have been legally required to close their premises as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions. For these businesses, the Job Support Scheme, through JSS Closed, will help them through the period that they are directly affected by these restrictions by supporting the wage costs of employees who have been instructed to cease work in eligible (closed) premises.
Each employee who cannot work due to these restrictions will receive two-thirds of their normal pay, paid by their employer and fully funded by the government, to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month, although their employer has the discretion to pay more than this if they wish.
This will help protect employee incomes, limit unemployment and retain employer-employee matches so that these premises are able to reopen as quickly as possible when circumstances allow.