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Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus

In July 2020, the Chancellor set out a “Plan for Jobs” to help the UK recover from the Coronavirus pandemic.
 
As part of that plan, he announced the introduction of a Job Retention Bonus to help businesses keep furloughed workers. UK Employers will receive a one-off taxable bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
 
On 1st October, a Treasury Direction (The Coronavirus Act 2020 Functions of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) Direction) was issued which has provided more detail behind how this Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus Scheme will work:

  • The Job Retention Bonus (“JRB”) is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to the employer, for each eligible employee that was furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.

  • The employer needs to have made an eligible claim for the employee under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

  • Employers will be able to claim the bonus between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021.

  • The employees claimed in respect of, must not be serving a contractual or statutory notice period as at 31 January 2021 (this includes people serving notice of retirement)

  • The employer must have paid an amount in each relevant tax month to meet the JRB minimum income threshold

To meet the minimum income threshold, employees must have been paid a total of at least £1,560 (gross) throughout the tax months:

  • 6 November to 5 December 2020

  • 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021

  • 6 January to 5 February 2021

Employers must pay each employee at least one payment of taxable earnings (of any amount) in each of the relevant tax months.
 
Employers can still claim the bonus if they make a claim for that employee through the Job Support Scheme. Guidance on the Job Support Scheme is due to be published soon.
 
There are specific provisions covering the scenario where employees have been transferred under TUPE or there is a change in ownership. Where a claim for an employee was incorrectly made, a JRB will not be payable. HMRC will withhold payment of the JRB where it believes there is a risk that CJRS claims may have been fraudulently claimed or inflated, until the enquiry is completed.
 
Employers should ensure that their employee records are up-to-date, including accurately reporting their employee’s details and wages on the Full Payment Submission through the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system. They should also make sure all of their CJRS claims have been accurately submitted and any necessary amendments have been notified to HMRC.
 
Claims cannot be made until 15th February 2021 and it is expected that further guidance will be issued by the end of January 2021 as to how to make an online claim.

If you need any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact the Alcumus PSM HR team for assistance via email psm.enquiries@alcumusgroup.com or call us on 01484 439930.

Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health and safety (H&S) consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.
 
Written by Marie-Clare Swallow, Senior HR Consultant