Job Retention Bonus – Treasury Direction and new employer guidance

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Job Retention Bonus – Treasury Direction and new employer guidance

Published 6 octubre 2020

In July, the Government announced that it would pay a bonus to employers who retain employees who have been furloughed until January 2021. The Treasury Direction providing the legal underpinning for the Job Retention Bonus Scheme has now been published, together with two new HMRC guidance documents:

The key points of the Scheme are:

  • The Job Retention Bonus (JRB) is a one-off taxable payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee who has been previously claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”), and who remains continuously employed through to 31 January 2021.
  • The payment does not have to be passed on to the employee and can be claimed between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021.
  • Employers are able to claim for the JRB after they have filed PAYE for January 2021 and payments will be made from February 2021.
  • Employers can still claim the JRB even if they make a claim for that employee through the Job Support Scheme (see our previous alert on this new scheme here)
  • If employers have repaid CJRS grant amounts to HMRC, they cannot claim the bonus for any employee where they repaid all the grant amounts claimed. This applies regardless of the reason why the grant amounts were repaid.

Eligible employees:

  • The bonus will NOT be payable if an employee is serving a contractual or statutory notice period, that started before 1 February 2021.
  • Eligible employees must have been paid at least the minimum income threshold.
  • The Guidance states that to meet the minimum income threshold an employer must pay an employee 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

  • The employer must pay the employee at least one payment of taxable earnings in each of the relevant tax month and the threshold will apply regardless of any circumstances that may have reduced an employee’s pay in the relevant tax periods, such as being on statutory leave or unpaid leave.
TUPE

An employer will be eligible to claim the JRB in respect of employees of a previous business which were transferred to the new employer if either TUPE applies, or the PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.

To claim the JRB for employees that have been transferred, the business must have furloughed and successfully claimed for them under the CJRS, as their new employer. The employees must also meet all the relevant eligibility criteria for the Job Retention Bonus Scheme, which means that the employer will not be able to claim the JRB for any employee who transfers to them after the CJRS closes on 31 October 2020.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS?

Employers who are considering making furloughed employees redundant should consider the Government support available. While the sums involved in the JRB may not be sufficient to save jobs, the Government’s hope will be that some businesses will combine it with the Job Support Scheme to mitigate job losses. It will be prudent for employers to show they have at least considered the possible additional revenue that the these schemes could bring in as part of the alternatives to dismissal.

Authors

Joanne Bell

Joanne Bell

Manchester

+44 (0) 161 934 3179

Louise Bloomfield

Louise Bloomfield

Leeds

+44 (0) 113 251 4717

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