Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus: Government guidance published

The Government has today issued detailed guidance on the Job Retention Bonus scheme and what employers need to do to make a claim.  It has also issued Examples of employer deciding which employees will meet the minimum income threshold for the Job Retention Bonus, as well as a Treasury Direction setting out the legal framework for the bonus scheme.

The Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one off taxable payment made to an employer for each eligible employee furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.  The bonus does not have to be paid on to the employee.

Bonuses cannot be claimed until 15 February 2021 – further guidance will be published in January 2021 on accessing the online claim service.  Claims can be made until 31 March 2021.

Eligibility criteria are –

  • The employer has furloughed the employee and made an eligible claim for them through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
  • The employer kept the employee continuously employed from the end of their last CJRS claim period for that employee until 31 January 2021.
  • The employee is not serving statutory or contractual notice for the employer on 31 January 2021.
  • The employer has paid enough to the employee to meet the Job Retention Bonus minimum income threshold –  this is a total of at least £1,560 gross throughout the following tax months and the employee must have been paid at least one payment of taxable earnings (of any amount) in each of these tax months –
    • 6 November to 5 December 2020
    • 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021
    • 6 January to 5 February 2021.
  • The employer must have reported all payments made to the employee between 6 November 2020 and 5 February 2021 to HMRC through Full Payment Submissions via RTI.

A bonus can be claimed in respect of employees who have been claimed for through the Job Support Scheme.   It cannot be claimed in respect of employees who have not been paid using a CJRS grant because the employer repaid the CRJS amounts to HMRC.

The Guidance specifically addresses the position in relation to business transfers, confirming that an employer may be able to claim Job Retention Bonus for employees of a business which has transferred to the employer if –

  • TUPE rules applied to the transfer.
  • The PAYE succession rules applied .
  • The employees were associated with the transfer of a business from the liquidator of a company in compulsory liquidation where TUPE would have applied if the company was not in compulsory liquidation.
  • The new employer furloughed and successfully claimed for the transferred employees under the CJRS (so no claims for employees who transferred across after 31 October 2020)