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On 5 November 2020, the government announced an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to 31 March 2021. Because of this, the policy intent of the Job Retention Bonus’ (JRB) falls away.

The JRB will not now be paid in February 2021. Further updates are awaited from the government.

This note summarises guidance up to 4 November 2020, before the JRB was withdrawn.

HMRC issued further guidance on 2 October 2020 in respect of the JRB.

The JRB is a one-off payment of £1,000, made to employers where:

The £1,000 payment is made to employers for each employee who meets the conditions.   

As with other Coronavirus grants, the JRB will be taxable as the employer’s income, unless paid to a non-business recipient such as individuals employing nannies and domestic staff.

Conditions

In order for an employer to qualify for the grant in respect of a specific employee, the following conditions must be met:

Where a claim under the CJRS was made in respect of an employee but that grant was repaid to HMRC, for whatever reason, no JRB claim can be made in respect of that employee.

Example

The final two conditions above can result in surprising effects. 

An employee who otherwise meets the conditions for the bonus and is paid (gross):

Would qualify for the JRB, as they were paid a total £1,950 in the three relevant tax months (ie more than £1,560), with taxable earnings in each month.

An employee who otherwise meets the conditions for the bonus and is paid (gross):

Would not qualify for the JRB, as they did not receive taxable earnings in December 2020. This is despite their total earnings of £1,850 being more than the £1,560 minimum.

Timing of claims

Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE)

A new employer may be eligible to claim the JRB in respect of employees of a previous business which were transferred to the new employer if:

An employer will not be eligible for the JRB in respect of any employee transferred after 31 October 2020.

Preparing for JRB claims

In preparing for JRB claims, HMRC suggest that employers should:

HMRC will issue further guidance before 31 January 2021 with details of how to access the online claim service.

Links

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, a cash grant that is designed to allow employers to retain staff who would otherwise be laid off.

Job Support Scheme 
The employee ‘Job Support Scheme’ replaces the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme (CJRS). It is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19.

External links

HMRC guidance: Job Retention Bonus