Businesses will be paid a £1,000 bonus for every furloughed employee they bring back to work, the chancellor has announced.
Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons said the bonus would apply to employees paid enough to reach the lower earnings limit for paying national insurance.
He also unveiled similar incentives for companies to train and hire apprentices.
The announcements are the latest labour market interventions unveiled by the government in a bid to get the economy moving again with the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.
"If you're an employer and you bring back someone who was furloughed - and continuously employ them through to January - we'll pay you a £1,000 bonus per employee," the chancellor told the Commons in an emergency statement on Wednesday afternoon.
"Its vital people aren't just returning for the sake of it - they need to be doing decent work. So for businesses to get the bonus, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to the end of January - the equivalent of the lower earnings limit in national insurance."
Mr Sunak said the policy would cost £9 billion if all employers took full advantage of the scheme.
He added: "Our message to business is clear: if you stand by your workers, we will stand by you."
On the issue of apprentices, he said: "We’ll pay businesses to hire young apprentices, with a new payment of £2,000; And we’ll introduce a brand-new bonus for businesses to hire apprentices aged 25 and over, with a payment of £1,500."
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