HMRC have recently provided some additional information in respect of the Job Retention Bonus scheme (JRB) originally announced by the Government on the 8 July 2020.

The JRB is additional support for employers, beyond the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which is due to end on 31 October 2020.

What is the JRB and who can claim it?

The scheme will be open to all employers who have previously furloughed employees and claimed the grant, under the CJRS. They will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who they previously claimed for under the scheme, and who remains continuously employed from the 1 November 2020 through to 31 January 2021.

What are the qualifying conditions?

In addition to the above, in order to qualify for the claim, employers must ensure that their employees receive earnings in the months November, December and January and are paid at least £520 a month on average, or £1,560 in total across the three months. Employers will then be able to claim the bonus after the RTI filing of PAYE for January.

The bonus payments will be made by HMRC to employers from February 2021 onwards.

Full details are expected to be released at the end of September. This will include how employers can make claims for the Job Retention Bonus online

What employers must also do in order to be ready to claim the JRB:

  • Ensure that, in the meantime, all employee records are up to date, with accurate employee details and wages on the FPS returns via RTI.
  • Ensure that all CJRS claims have been submitted accurately and that any necessary amendments have been identified and HMRC have been notified.

HMRC have confirmed that, if they believe that any claim for CJRS has either been incorrectly made or inflated, then they will withhold any Job Retention Bonus claimed by an employer until they have completed their enquiry.

We will issue an update on this issue as soon as HMRC provide any further details regarding how employers should submit their claims.

As with every CJRS related issue, accuracy of claims and robust governance procedures is vital. HMRC investigations of claims has already started and where claims are found to be incorrect, proposed legislation will allow HMRC to charge penalties and interest in addition to recovery of the inaccurate claims made, As detailed above, any such investigation will also delay the payment of claims made under the JRB scheme.

If you have any concerns about the accuracy of your claims under the CJRS, please contact Laura Parr or Mick Verney in Smith Cooper’s Employment Tax team and we will be happy to assist you.