Employers that hire veterans in their first employment after leaving the armed forces are now entitled to National Insurance (NI) relief up to the upper secondary threshold for one year.
The relief, announced at the 2020 Budget, came into effect in April and applies to all veterans of the regular armed forces who have completed at least one day of basic training.
It applies irrespective of how long ago a veteran left the armed forces, as long as they have not been in civilian employment since, or their first civilian employment was within the last year.
Employers that take on a veteran whose first civilian employment was within the last 12 months can benefit from the relief until the first anniversary of the veteran’s first civilian employment.
That means an employer that takes on a veteran seven months after their first civilian employment commenced with another employer can benefit from the relief for the remaining five months of the year.
Meanwhile, those that have taken on veterans whose first civilian employment was in the 12 months before 6 April 2021 can claim relief from 6 April 2021 until the first anniversary of that first employment.
For example, an employer of a veteran whose first civilian employment commenced on 6 October 2020, six months before the policy took effect, would be able to claim the remaining six months of relief from 6 April 2021 onwards.
Employers claiming the relief must check and keep records showing a veteran qualifies by having been a member of the regular armed forces and the start date of their first civilian employment. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published a list of documents employers can request to meet these requirements.
In the first year of the scheme, employers will have to pay the NI contributions and claim them back from April 2022. In subsequent years, employers will be able to claim relief through PAYE.