Back in July, we reported on the Government’s plans to roll out a Job Retention Bonus. It was meant to be an additional measure aimed at combating excess redundancies arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what happens to this policy in light of the extension of the furlough scheme?
What was the Job Retention Bonus?
In simple terms, the Government was promising that for each furloughed worker who was retained in their current employment until at least 31 January 2021, the relevant employer would receive a one-off bonus payment of £1,000. It was a small gesture, but it is nevertheless a welcome one.
What happens now?
Of course, the idea behind the bonus was to offer an incentive (or indeed a ‘reward’) to those employers who are able to retain their staff for a reasonable period of time after the furlough scheme closes. Given that the scheme will now remain open until the end of March 2021, paying the bonus in February would fail to achieve its policy objective. As a result, the payment has been cancelled for now.
Rishi Sunak (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) has indicated that it is likely to be ‘deployed’ some time later in 2021 instead. We will be sure to report on this issue again in due course, as and when the Government makes further announcements.