Britain tightens rules for furlough rehiring bonus

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak attends a face-to-face meeting of the cabinet team of ministers, the first since mid-March because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London, Britain, July 21, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance ministry tightened the requirement for employers to receive a 1,000-pound bonus for rehiring furloughed staff, to exclude payments where an employee will soon be made redundant.

Around one in three British private-sector workers were put on furlough after the country went into lockdown in March, at a cost of 32 billion pounds so far, and last month finance minister Rishi Sunak announced an incentive for them to be brought back to work.

Employers will receive 1,000 pounds for every furloughed worker they bring back full- or part-time, who is paid at least 520 pounds a month and is still employed at the end of January.

On Friday, Britain’s finance ministry said the bonus would not be paid if a worker had been put on notice that they would be made redundant after January.

“As the scheme is designed to protect jobs, those who are serving notice for redundancy will not be eligible for the bonus,” it said.

British employees are generally entitled to one week’s notice of redundancy for every year they have worked for their employer, up to 12 weeks, and at large companies redundancy consultations can last several months.

British Airways (ICAG.L), travel company TUI (TUIGn.DE) (TUIT.L) and department store and supermarket operator John Lewis are among well-known firms to have warned this month of job losses.

Most economists expect that the unemployment rate will rise later this year to its highest since at least the early 1990s.

The government’s current furlough scheme pays staff 80% of their wages, up to 2,500 pounds a month, but from August employers will have to foot more of the bill until the scheme ends entirely at the end of October.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Gareth Jones

Source Article