Furlough Bonus Scheme - what is it and who qualifies?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, UK employers have had to deal with significant changes, and in order to survive the crisis, they have had to change not only their ways of thinking, but their ways of working too.
As Furlough draws to an end on the 31st of October, the Government have been looking into other ways for employers to retain employees, long after the coronavirus pandemic has all be said and done. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor, has since announced a ‘Furlough Bonus Scheme.’
What is the Furlough Bonus Scheme?
The government have announced that they will pay £1000 per employee, to each employer who retains a furloughed member of staff until the end of January 2021.
Do your employees qualify?
Any employee that was furloughed under the CJRS qualifies for the bonus. Currently, this does include those employees on flexi furlough or who have already been bought back to work from furlough leave, however, this may change.
In order for Furlough to be paid, the employee has to be eligible and also needs to remain in continuous employment in the same job earning more than £520 per month (on average between November 2020 and January 2021)
When will the payments be made?
As per the latest advice, payments will be made from February 2021.
What does this mean?
Essentially, if you have furloughed your staff members and have not made them redundant before the end of January 2021, you qualify to claim a subsidy of £1000 to go towards the payment of their wages as a one off payment.
Are there other options available?
The Kickstart Scheme:
The Government have also announced a “Kickstart Scheme” to give work placement support to young people aged between 16 and 24. The Government will subsidise the salaries of young people, who are aged between 16 and 24, where those individuals are claiming Universal Credit and may be at risk of long-term unemployment.
The Government’s Kickstart Scheme is designed so that employers can offer work placements to young people and the Government will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for those young people for up to 25 hours per week, over a 6-month placement. Anything above that can be topped up by employers.
The Government announced that it will give business £2,000 per company if they hire apprentices and £1,500 if they hire apprentices over the age of 25.
The way forward
This is the latest information we have received from the Chancellor and the government, however, as always with these unprecedented times, this information is subject to change and it is important that before making any strategic business decisions, you research the latest Government information. Although this news is extremely welcomed by businesses all over the country, it may not be enough for companies already contemplating redundancies.
Right now, we require more clarity as to how quickly these bonuses will be paid to avoid the Government seeking to recover funds in the future where they feel there has been, an albeit unintentional, misapplication of the Bonus scheme.
Rose & Rose Employment Law Solicitors
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Please note that this article is meant as general guidance and not intended as legal or professional advice. Updates to the law may have changed since this article was published