Information for businesses affected by coronavirus
Funding and grants available
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) relief – Up to 2 weeks SSP will be reimbursed if you have to pay due to coronavirus. Employees will need to provide a sicknote by calling NHS 111. The repayments look like it will be done by deducting the repayment from any PAYE and NIC due.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - All businesses are eligible, and the Government will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs (up to £2,500 per month). See below for more information
12 months business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses that claim small business rates relief (SBRR) (i.e. if you have a small office). Guidance is expected to be released in early April and if you already claim SBRR the local council should be contacting you directly.
Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – This is designed to help long term businesses that need cashflow support, it is basically a loan that is being guaranteed (up to 80%) by Government. The first 12 months is also going to be interest free.
HMRC time to Pay – this is if you cannot afford to pay any tax bills because you have had to use the funds for cashflow. It doesn’t mean the tax goes away but will spread the cost over a period you can afford. Each arrangement is individual and will depend on your circumstances.
Insurance policies – If you have insurance that covers Pandemics and Government-ordered closures you should be covered. Check with your insurance provider for the T&C’s
If you use self-employed contractors make sure you know their employment status, they could be classed as workers which could entitle them to SSP and protection from unlawful deductions from earnings.
VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June have now been deferred. This means you will be given until the end of the 2020/21 tax year to make any payments. You do not need to anything, this has automatically been applied. Any VAT reclaims or refunds will be paid as normal.
IR35 - The government has said that they are delaying the implementation of IR35 changes to contractors until next year.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
This scheme is now active and will be running until October 2020
Any UK Employer with a UK bank account can claim. It applies to all types of contract including zero hours and temporary contracts. Claims can be backdated to 1st March.
Both you and your employer must agree to be put on furlough. You cannot apply for the scheme yourself, this is done by the employer.
If you were made redundant after 28th February your employer can agree to re-employ you and place you on furlough instead.
If you have more than 1 employer – You can be put on furlough and continue to work for another employer, provided it is permitted in your contract. If you are furloughed by more than 1 employer you will receive separate payments from each employer. The 80% of your normal wage up to £2,500 per month applies to each job.
Eligibility (Company Directors)
Company Directors are able to claim the scheme, however they must not do any more than their statutory duties (e.g. bookkeeping, running payroll, preparing accounts).
How the scheme works:
First you must notify all employees they are going to be furloughed.
For employees that have been furloughed, the employer will receive a grant of 80% of your monthly earnings (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month).
Employers will pay at least 80% of your usual monthly earnings up to the maximum for a minimum of 3 weeks.
Employers can choose to pay more than the grant, but they do not have to.
You will still pay Income Tax and National Insurance and any other deductions from your wage.
If you have been employed for a full year you will get the higher of:
The amount you earned in the same month last year OR
An average of your monthly earnings from last year
If you have been employed less than a full year, employers will claim an average of your monthly earnings since you started work. This applies to zero hours contracts and those who are paid different amounts each month.
If you started work in February 2020 the employer will pro-rata your earnings from that month.
Bonuses, commissions and fees are not included as part of your monthly earnings.
Workers that have been furloughed
Once furloughed, workers must not do any work for the employer, but they can volunteer (subject to public health guidance) or undertake training provided that, they are not making money for the employer and they are not providing services to the employer.
Workers put on a training course must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage / National Living Wage for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% grant.
From 1st July -
Workers can come back part time, employers will get a grant for 80% of the normal hours that have NOT been worked. Employers can set the hours and shift patterns; this means employees can work as much or as little as the business needs. Employers must pay workers their normal rate for the hours they have worked.
Furlough periods will be a minimum of 1 week, but claims can be two weekly or monthly cycles. Any changes to an employee must be confirmed in writing.
The scheme also closes to new entrants. From this point onwards, you will only be able to furlough employees that you have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June. This means that the final date that you can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30 June.
Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
If workers are not returning, they can continue to be furloughed the same as before.
From August -
The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay employer NIC and pension contributions.
From September -
The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay Employer NIC, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500.
From October -
The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay Employer NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500.