One of the measures announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak in his recent Summer Statement was the introduction of the Job Retention Bonus. This bonus is designed to encourage employers to bring back furloughed workers as the benefits of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme start to taper before the scheme ends on 31 October 2020.
The new Job Retention Bonus will provide a £1,000 payment to employers that bring back an employee that was furloughed, and continuously employ them for at least 3 months after the furlough scheme ends. Employees must be seen to be gainfully employed during this period and be paid at least £520 a month, on average, from November 2020 to January 2021. The £1,000 government bonus will be payable for every employee retained under the stated terms.
There are currently estimated to be over 9 million employees who have been furloughed. If all these staff return to work and meet the conditions, then more than £9 billion in bonus payments will be due. The bonus is the same regardless of what an employee earns so the take up of the bonus is likely to be skewed more towards lower paid employees where the £1,000 makes up a larger percentage of their salary.
The government has said that the payments will be made from February 2021.