If you have employees you will no doubt be familiar with the government’s Job Retention Scheme, but you may not know about the bonus for retaining furloughed staff.  The Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment for each eligible employee furloughed and kept continuously employed, until the 31st of January 2021.

You cannot claim the bonus until the 15th of February 2021 but investigating whether or not you are eligible could help you decide whether to hold on to staff or make them redundant because, if successful, employers do not have to pay this bonus to the employee.

Who can claim?

Employers who furloughed staff and made an eligible claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can claim. The employee/s must have been eligible for the grant, but you can still apply if you make a claim for that employee through the Job Support Scheme. However, you cannot claim the bonus if you have, for whatever reason, repaid the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant to HMRC.

If HMRC are still checking your retention scheme claims, you can apply for the bonus, but payment may be delayed. HMRC will not pay the bonus if an incorrect claim for the Job Retention Scheme was made and your employee was not eligible.

Eligibility checklist

You can claim for employees that

  • You made an eligible claim for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • You kept continuously employed from the end of the claim period of your last Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim for them, until the 31st of January 2021
  • are not serving a contractual or statutory notice period for you on the 31st of January 2021 (including people serving notice of retirement)
  • you paid enough of an amount in each relevant tax month and enough to meet the Job Retention Bonus minimum income threshold – at least £1,560 gross – throughout the tax months of the 6th November to the 5th December, 2020, the 6th December 2020 to the 5th of January, 2021 and the 6th of January to the 5th of February, 2021. Only payments recorded as taxable pay will count towards the minimum income threshold.

You may be eligible to claim the bonus for employees transferred under TUPE, and you may also be able to claim for individuals who are not employees, such as office holders or agency workers.

Although you cannot make a claim until the 15th of February 2021, there are some things you must do now make sure you are ready to claim.

You must still be enrolled for PAYE online and you must comply with your PAYE obligations to file PAYE accurately and on time under Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees between the 6th of April 2020 and the 5thof February 2021. You must keep your payroll up to date and make sure you report the leaving date for any employees who stop working for you before the end of the pay period that they leave in.

You must use the irregular payment pattern indicator in Real Time Information (RTI) for any employees not being paid regularly, and comply with all requests from HMRC to provide any employee data for past Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims.

How long do you have to claim?

You will have from the 15th of February until the 31st of March 2021 to make a Job Retention Bonus claim. After that, the scheme will close so take some time now to investigate your eligibility. It may seem daunting, but a successful claim could help you retain staff, so it is worth exploring and, as always, we are here to help.

If you have any questions or concerns you can contact myself or any member of my team and we will do our best to address them. Email me or call 01978 861196.