HMRC have released additional information in respect of the Job Retention Bonus, confirming employers will be able to make a claim for the bonus with effect from 15 February 2021.

All claims must be made by the 31 March 2021, after which time the scheme will close and no further claims will be accepted by HMRC. Further guidance on how to access the online claim portal will be released by HMRC at the end of January 2021.

Conditions of Eligibility

The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment of £1,000 to the employer for each eligible employee who has previously been furloughed under CJRS and has been in continuous employment from the last CJRS claim for that employee until the 31 January 2021. To qualify, any employees that an employer is claiming the Job Retention Bonus for must not be serving either a contractual or statutory notice period, or notice of retirement, on the 31 January 2021.

In addition to the above conditions, employers must also ensure that, in each of the three tax months from the 6th November 2020 to the 5th February 2021, employees eligible for the bonus must receive at least the minimum income threshold detailed below:

To meet the minimum income threshold requirement, employers must pay their employees at least a total of  £1,560 (gross) throughout the following tax months:

  • 6 November 2020 to 5 December 2020;
  • 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021;
  • 6 January 2021 to 5 February 2021; and
  • Employees who qualify for the JRB must receive at least one payment of taxable earnings in each of the relevant tax months.

The above minimum income threshold will apply regardless of how often employees are paid, and any circumstances that may have reduced the employee’s pay in the relevant tax periods i.e. statutory leave or unpaid leave.

Employers will not be able to claim the bonus for any employees where the original claim for the CJRS has been repaid to HMRC. This applies regardless of why the employer repaid the CJRS grant amounts.

HMRC will be checking Full Payment Submissions under Real Time Information to ensure that the employees claimed for under the Job Retention Bonus scheme have been paid at least the minimum income threshold for the period from 6 November 2020 to 5 February 2021.

This one-off payment does not need to be paid to the employee, as it is a payment to the employer. However, the payments received under the Job Retention Bonus scheme must be included as income received when calculating taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes.

Steps to follow to make sure you are ready to claim the Job Retention Bonus

  • Ensure you are still enrolled for PAYE online;
  • Comply with all your PAYE obligations; file PAYE accurately and on time under RTI reporting for all employees between 6 April 2020 and 5 February 2021;
  • Ensure payroll is up to date and the reporting of leaving dates for any employees that have left before the end of the pay period is accurate;
  • Use the irregular payment pattern indicator in RTI for any employees not paid regularly;
  • Comply with HMRC, if requested, to provide employee data for previous CJRS claims.

Employers will not be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus for any employees that have not been paid using the CJRS grant or have made an incorrect CJRS claim when employees were not eligible for the Scheme. Furthermore, if you have repaid an incorrectly claimed CJRS grant back to HMRC, the employees that the grant was repaid for will not be eligible for the Job Retention Bonus.

If HMRC are in the process of checking your CJRS claims, you are still able to make a claim for the Job Retention Bonus but payment may be delayed whilst HMRC complete their checks.

If you have any questions regarding the Job Retention Bonus, our team of Employment Tax specialists are on hand to help you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.