The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced a new Job Retention Bonus scheme to encourage firms to keep on workers furloughed due to the COVID-19 impact on the economy.
The UK government will introduce a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. It has set aside 9.4 billion pounds for the scheme.
"The unprecedented Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has so far supported over one million employers to protect over 9 million jobs. The scheme has been open since March, and will wind down flexibly and gradually, supporting businesses until October. It is important that people who have been furloughed are supported back to work. It is beneficial for everyone, including the individual, to prevent skills from fading and to maintain strong employment relationships. Therefore, the government is introducing a new Job Retention Bonus to reward and incentivize employers who keep on their furloughed employees," the government said in a statement on Wednesday.
Under the new scheme, employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the previously introduced Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021.
"Payments will be made from February 2021. Further detail about the scheme will be announced by the end of July," the UK government said.
The objective of the scheme is to provide a financial incentive to employers to bring their furloughed staff back to work and keep them
on over the coming months as an alternative to redundancy.
Oil and Gas UK Welcomes the Plan, Calls for Long Term Support
The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry's representative body Oil and Gas UK has welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of support for employers, including the Job Retention Bonus and moves to support more traineeships and jobs for young people.
The representative body for the sector OGUK said that the UK faces a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver moves to a lower carbon and more diverse energy mix, "reinforcing the importance of the sector deal currently being discussed with the UK Government."
OGUK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie said: "The Chancellor’s announcement provides welcome support for companies in the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry affected by the immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The continued volatility facing our sector however underlines the need for long-term and targeted support. In devastating circumstances, the UK now faces a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to realize an energy transition that delivers affordable energy, supports jobs and enables our industry to put our skills to work to help cut emissions.
“Industry’s Roadmap 2035 offers a sensible blueprint which keeps net-zero firmly on the agenda while also supporting energy communities to embrace new opportunities including carbon capture and hydrogen.
In a comprehensive announcement on its plan for jobs, the government also said it would provide £100 million of new funding for researching and developing Direct Air Capture, a new clean technology that captures CO2 from the air.
OGUK's CEO: "Today’s funding for Direct Air Capture of CO2 is a welcome step in the right direction as part of the wider development and roll-out of Carbon Capture and Storage, and we look forward to continuing our work with the government to realize the full potential of our sector in delivering the UK’s energy future.”