Furlough bonus guidance published

The government has published details of the one-off bonus that employers can claim if they keep previously furloughed employees on their books for three months after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme closes on 31 October.

The guidance explains which employers qualify to claim the £1000 taxable payment for each eligible employee, which employees they can make a claim for, the minimum income thresholds and when employers must submit their claim.

Companies who have reimbursed HM Revenue & Customs money they had previously claimed under the CJRS are not eligible to make a claim for the bonus, but business who take advantage of the Job Support Scheme, details of which “will be published soon”, can still claim the bonus.

Employers can claim the bonus if they furloughed employees and made an eligible claim for them through the CJRS. The employee must have been eligible for the CJRS grant for the employer to be allowed the bonus.

Employees who are continuously employed from 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 qualify, but they cannot be on notice of redundancy – including retirement. Employers must pay the employee they are claiming in relation to at least £1560 over the three-month period.

Businesses have to claim the bonus between 15 February and 31 March 2021, but the guidance stresses, “You do not have to pay this money to your employee”; the bonus is an incentive for employers to keep staff employed for three months after furlough ends.

Before employers can claim the bonus, they need to have reported all payments made to your employee between 6 November 2020 and 5 February 2021 to HMRC through Full Payment Submissions via Real Time Information (RTI).

HMRC says employers should take the following steps now to make sure they’re ready to claim. They must:

  • still be enrolled for PAYE online
  • comply with PAYE obligations to file PAYE accurately and on time under Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees between 6 April 2020 and 5 February 2021
  • keep their payroll up to date and make sure they report leaving dates for any employees that stop working for you 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, and
  • comply with all requests from HMRC to provide any employee data for past Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims.

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