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Further details of the Job Retention Bonus scheme announced

Nick Irvin, Assistant Manager, Employment Tax
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On 8 July 2020 Rishi Sunak announced the new Job Retention Bonus (JRB), which will pay employers £1,000 for every formerly furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January 2021.

As of 2 October 2020 further details of the JRB have been released, which confirm those previously announced.

Eligible employees

Employers will be able to claim for the bonus for employees who:

  • were furloughed and were part of an eligible claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • have been continuously working from the end of the claim period of the last CJRS claim that the employee was part of, until 31 January 2021
  • have been paid enough to meet the JRB minimum income threshold
  • are not serving a contractual or statutory notice period for the employer making a claim on 31 January 2021 (including for retirement).

The minimum income threshold for the JRB is at least £1,560 (gross) in total throughout the tax months:

  • 6 November to 5 December 2020
  • 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021
  • 6 January to 5 February 2021.

Eligible employees must be paid at least once (of any amount) in each of the relevant tax months.

The minimum income threshold criteria apply regardless of:

  • how often the employee is paid
  • any circumstances that may have reduced the employee’s pay in the relevant tax periods, such as being on statutory leave or unpaid leave.

The guidance also confirms that if an employee was on statutory parental leave or mobilised as a military reservist, returned after 10 June 2020 and was claimed for under the CJRS, then the employer will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus in respect of that employee provided the other eligibility criteria are met.

In the case of employees on fixed term contracts, as long as they meet the above criteria, the bonus will apply as long as continuous employment is maintained and the above criteria is met.

As with the CJRS claim criteria, employees who have been transferred under TUPE or due to a change in ownership may also be eligible for the JRB.

Eligible employers

  • ensure they are still enrolled for PAYE online
  • comply with their PAYE obligations to file PAYE accurately and on time under Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees between 6 April 2020 and 5 February 2021
  • keep their payroll up to date and make sure they report the leaving date for any employees that stop working for them before the end of the pay period that they leave in
  • use the irregular payment pattern indicator in RTI for any employees not being paid regularly.

comply with all requests from HMRC to provide any employee data for past CJRS claims Employers who have repaid all of the grant amounts claimed through the CJRS will not be eligible to claim the JRB, regardless of the reason they repaid the grant amounts.

How to claim

Employers will be able to claim the JRB from 15 February 2021. This will be done online like the CJRS, and agents who were able to submit CJRS claims on an employer’s behalf will also be able to submit JRB claims on their behalf too.

More information is expected by the end of January 2021.

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Caroline Harwood
Caroline Harwood
Partner, Head of Share Plans and Employment Tax