Can you claim the Job Retention Bonus?

More details have now been released about the Job Retention Bonus and what employers need to do to claim it.

The government scheme has been set up to give businesses and organisations an incentive to bring back as many employees as possible from furlough.

It offers a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to the employer, for each eligible employee that they furloughed and kept continuously employed until January 31, 2021.

They will be able to claim it between February 15 and March 31 next year and do not have to pay the cash to the employee.

The bonus is available to any employer who has furloughed employees and made an eligible claim for them through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

The employee must have been eligible for the CRJS grant for the employer to be eligible for the bonus, and it is not payable to any employer who has repaid a CJRS grant, for whatever reason.

Employers can still claim the bonus if they make a claim for that employee through the Job Support Scheme (JSS).

There is a minimum income threshold. Employers must pay the employee a total of at least £1,560 (gross) throughout the tax months November 6 to December 5, 2020; December 6, 2020 to January 5, 2021 and January 6 to February 5, 2021.

This minimum income threshold criteria apply regardless of how often employees are paid and any circumstances that may have reduced their pay in the relevant tax periods, such as being on statutory or unpaid leave.

Only payments recorded as taxable pay will count towards the minimum income threshold. Taxable pay is reported to HMRC as a single figure through Full Payment Submissions via Real Time Information (RTI).

Before employers can claim the bonus, they will to need to have reported all payments made to the employee between November 6, 2020 and February 5, 2021.

Employees should not be serving a contractual or statutory notice period, on January 31, 2021, including serving notice of retirement.

Employers may also be eligible to claim the bonus for employees of a previous business that have been transferred to them if TUPE and PAYE business succession rules applied.

To claim the bonus for employees that have been transferred, employers 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.

This means that they will not be able to claim the bonus for any employees who are transferred after the CJRS scheme closes on October 31 this year.

Employers can claim the Job Retention Bonus for individuals who are not employees, such as office holders or agency workers, as long as they claimed a grant for them under CJRS and the other Job Retention Bonus eligibility criteria are met.

The bonus cannot be claimed until February 15, 2021 and details on how to access the online claim service will be revealed by the end of January 2021.

However, there are some steps employers need to take now to make sure they are ready to claim.

They must:

• still be 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 April 6, 2020 and February 5, 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 Real Time Information (RTI) for any employees not being paid regularly
• comply with all requests from HMRC to provide any employee data for past Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims

If they use an agent who is authorised to carry out PAYE online, they will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus on their behalf.

Employers must include payments they receive under the scheme as income when calculating taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes.

Businesses can deduct employment costs as normal when calculating taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes.