Cheatsheet: Your guide to the Job Retention Bonus

Peninsula Team

August 04 2020

New guidance has landed on the Job Retention Bonus, giving you fresh info on how to claim £1,000 for every furloughed employee you bring back to work.

Here’s how the scheme will work and what you’ll need to do to unlock your grants.

(N.B. this article is based on government guidance from the 31st of July. We’re expecting further details in September, so stay tuned for updates.)

What is the Job Retention Bonus?

It’s a new grant to encourage employers to retain staff once the Job Retention Scheme closes in October.

For every furloughed member of staff who remains employed with you from the last time you successfully made a Job Retention Scheme claim for them until the end of January 2021, the government will pay you £1000.

It’s a little more complicated than that, but don’t worry, we’ll explain shortly.

Which employees can I claim the bonus for?

You can claim the bonus for any employee who:

  • You have successfully claimed a Job Retention Scheme Grant for.
  • Has had no break in service from the last time you claimed a Job Retention Scheme grant for them until the 31st of January (i.e. you haven’t dismissed and then re-hired them at any point).
  • Receives an average wage of at least £520 per month between November and January.
  • Has up-to-date RTI records for the period to the end of January.
  • Is not working their notice period.

Remember, the last date for putting new staff on furlough was the 10th of June, although there are some exceptions for employees on statutory parental leave and those mobilised as military reservists.

How do I claim the bonus?

You’ll be able to claim your bonus through a new online portal set to open in February 2021. 

We’re expecting more details in September, but in the meantime, the government advises that you:

  • Accurately report your employees’ details and wages on the Full Payment Submission (FPS) through the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system.
  • Make sure that your claims to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are accurate and that you have informed HMRC of any necessary amends.

Can I bring staff back on reduced hours to meet the minimum earnings limit?

If you want to cut the hours your staff work, it’s likely you’ll need to change their contracts.

This can be a complicated process, and you’ll need your employee’s consent first. Before you make any decisions on amending terms and conditions, it’s best to seek professional HR advice.

What if I need to make a role redundant while staff are on furlough?

If the worst happens and you need to reduce the size of your workforce, then you can make furloughed roles redundant

You still have to follow the proper redundancy procedures and pay statutory redundancy pay based on your employees’ normal rate, not their furloughed rate.

The bonus isn’t enough, what if I can only bring back some of my staff?

The bonus scheme is designed to help you retain staff, but it won’t punish you for making cutbacks.

So, even if you need to make some roles redundant, you can still claim the bonus for those employees who do return to work and meet the above criteria.

I’ve already brought staff back from furlough, can I still claim my grants?

Yes, the scheme will cover all furloughed staff—even those already back in the workplace, provided they meet the above criteria.

Where can I find out more?

The latest guidance on the bonus is available on the government website. We are expecting further details by the end of September.

Peninsula also offers 24/7 HR advice on furlough, contract changes or redundancy. So to find out how to access your grants or get expert support to keep staff costs under control, speak to an HR expert today. Please call 0800 028 2420

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