A client has found that new guidance has been released on the Job Retention Bonus and would like to know more about it, please can you advise?

Yes, more detailed guidance on the Government’s Job Retention Bonus was released on 2nd October 2020. The initial details were released on 8th July which set out how the Government will support coronavirus economic recovery in the UK. The ultimate aim of the initiative is to support to employers who keep on their furloughed employees in meaningful employment, after the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31st October 2020.

From the initial announcement on 8th July, your client may already know that the Job Retention Bonus is the one-off payment that employers will receive for every furloughed worker they bring back to work – who meets certain qualifying criteria including a minimum level of earnings. For your client to be able to receive a bonus for their furloughed employees, each employee has to be working from the last time your client made a claim for them under the Job Retention Scheme until the end of January 2021.

Finally, your client may be aware that the Job Retention Bonus consists of a £1000 taxable payment per employee which your client does not have to pass onto their employees. The new guidance, however, offers more detailed information on what the bonus consists of. New guidance now tells us that employers must make their claim between 15th February and 31st March 2021. More so, employers who have returned all of their Job Retention Scheme grant for a particular employee cannot claim the Job Retention Bonus for that employee, regardless of why the money was returned.

Further, the Job Retention Bonus cannot be claimed for any employee who is serving their notice period, including employees who are serving notice of retirement. If your client makes a claim, they can do so while HMRC are still checking their Job Retention Scheme claims, but they should be aware that the payment may be delayed until the checks are completed – this is to ensure that all claims to the Job Retention Scheme have been accurate.

To qualify, employees have to earn at least £1,560 (gross) throughout the November-December, December-January, January-February tax months in order for the employer to claim the Job Retention Bonus in relation to them, and have at least one payment of taxable earnings in each of those months. When looking at whether the employee has earned the minimum amount required in November/December/January, Statutory Sick Pay and other statutory payments will count towards earnings but the reduced pay can mean that the employee doesn’t hit the minimum earnings criteria.

You client should be aware that whilst this new guidance provides more insight into the bonus, more information on how to access the online claim service will be available by the end of January 2021.

In association with Croner Taxwise

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