Chancellor Sunak to introduce new jobs retention bonus

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street, in London, Britain July 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday the government would introduce a new jobs retention bonus of 1,000 pounds ($1,255) per employee to encourage businesses to bring back staff they furloughed because of the coronavirus crisis.

Saying that the furlough scheme could not go on forever, Sunak told parliament: “While we can’t protect every job, one of the most important things we can do to prevent unemployment is to get as many people as possible from furlough back to their jobs.

“So, today, we’re introducing a new policy to reward and incentivise employers who successfully bring furloughed staff back – a new Jobs Retention Bonus,” he said, adding that the employer would receive a 1,000-pound bonus if they brought someone back and continuously employed them to January.

He also said that to receive the bonus, the employee must be paid at least 520 pounds on average, in each month from November to the end of January.

He said if employers bring back all 9 million people who have been on furlough, this would be a nine billion pound policy to retain people in work.

“Our message to business is clear,” he added. “If you stand by your workers, we will stand by you.”

Reporting by UK bureau, writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison