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Practical list for WORK. COVID-19

A Practical List for Work

 

Please note, this information is accurate as of 26 March 17:15PM GMT. We will continue to update this list as relevant information is released

 

  1. As of 20 March, the government has now officially instructed restaurants, bars & pubs to close, as well as cinemas and gyms and any other ‘non essential’ businesses.

    Providing take out services (The government has completely relaxed planning regulations to allow food businesses to offer takeaways) is encouraged, as long as the employees adhere to health guidelines

    The main government hub for information is here https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/. We break it down for you below…

 

  1. Information for employees
    The government urges companies to stand by their employees - the chancellor has announced the plan to support workers:
    • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
      1. Information for those with contracts in place
        • This scheme will provide a grant that will cover up to 80% of workers salary, to a maximum of £2,500 per month per worker (that is equal to a £30,000 p/a salary). This hopes to keep workers in their jobs
        • Information has not yet been released clarifying if you must be fully ‘furloughed’ ie. employees cannot be working at the business during the period their salary is subsidised by the government
        • This means your employer will be able to claim for 80% of your salary. This means you might be taking a 20% pay cut, if your employer is unable to gather the remaining money to make up your full salary
        • These payments can be backdated to 1 March this scheme will be in place for minimum 3 months
        • These grants cover all sectors, including hospitality
        • The first grants will be paid ‘within weeks’
      2. Information for those with insecure contracts/part-time work
        • Rishi Sunak said the scheme will cover “everybody who is on the PAYE system through a company”
        • So, this scheme will cover any employee who is on pay roll
        • If you are unsure, please contact your employer for clarification. Even if you don’t have a contract, if you have been on the official pay roll then this scheme should still cover you
        • Those working on zero-hour contracts should be open to this scheme but it’s unclear how the wage will be calculated. Whilst we are still waiting for firm instructions, its likely this will be calculated based on the hours worked in February


Please note, more information about this is coming out all the time and at this point, this scheme looks as though it will only cover pre-existing pay-roll contracts so if you aren’t already on PAYE then it is unclear if you will be compensated.

 

Please note: Whilst this is a hefty package from the Government, it is still up to your employer to keep your contract in place: Businesses are having to make really difficult decisions right now in the face of an uncertain future so it’s best that you contact them directly to find out what the next steps are

  1. Information for Freelancers/Self Employed
    • The government has announced the Self Employed Income Support Scheme. The self-employed will be able to claim a grant of 80% average of their monthly profits. This will be based on earnings over last 3 years, to the value of up to 2,500 per month
      1. It will be open to anyone with trading profits up to £50,000 (The chancellor states this will cover up to 95% people)
      2. It will only be available to those who make the majority of their income as a self-employed person
  • Only those who are already self-employed and have a 2019 tax return will be able to claim
    • Anyone who missed the tax return is granted an additional in 4 weeks
  1. The scheme will be available in June and the grant will be paid into your bank account.
  2. If you don’t have 3 years worth of accounts, the government will look at what accounts you do have
  3. The scheme will be available for minimum 3 months and reviewed at the end of this period
  • Self Employed People can now access the Business Interruption Loans (12 month interest free) in case funds are needed before June or can access Universal Credit, outlined below
  • Those without sufficient time operating as self employed and without sufficient accounts will be asked to use the welfare system
  • The minimum allowance required to apply for Universal Credit has been removed making it accessible for the self-employed
    1. This will effectively allow freelancers to claim Statutory Sick Pay
    2. For the next 12 months, the yearly Universal Credit Allowance will be increased by £1,000
  • The chancellor suggests that advance payments are available from Universal Credits, without the 5 week wait, to tide over bills & urgent payments
  1. Information on Grants for Business Owners

 

SMALL BUSINESSES

  • Who qualifies?
    If you are a small business and pay little or no business rates (aka your rateable value is less than £15,000 – search your property here https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates)
  • What sectors does this cover?
    This grant is for any small business. It is not specific to hospitality
  • How much is it worth?
    You will be eligible a cash grant up to £10,000. This was recently increased from £3,000 so the numbers are changing all the time as the situation develops
  • How do I apply?
    You don’t ‘apply’ for this – your local authority will contact you if you are eligible and inform you about the scheme so keep checking your mailbox
  • When are the funds available?
    Not yet confirmed, but likely April
  • So what should I do?

Stay informed, contact your Local Authority for updates on the timeframe of the scheme roll out, but unfortunately this is likely a waiting game

 

SMALL & MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSES

  • Who qualifies?
    If you are a small to medium size business and your rateable value is between £15,000 - £51,000 (Search your property here https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates)
  • What sectors does this cover?
    This grant has been announced to specifically cover retail, hospitality & leisure
  • How much is it worth?
    You will be eligible for a cash grant up to £25,000
  • How do I apply?
    You don’t ‘apply’ for this – your local authority will contact you if you are eligible and inform you about the scheme so keep checking your post box
  • When are the funds available?
    Not yet confirmed, but likely April
  • So what should I do?
    Stay informed, contact your Local Authority for updates on the timeframe of the scheme roll out, but unfortunately this is likely a waiting game

 

GRANTS FROM ELSEWHERE

Facebook has pledged $100 million to support small businesses. Here’s what you need to know

  • Who qualifies?
    TBC – exact details haven’t been released
  • What sectors?

We’re still waiting for more information but this is likely to be a general grant that can be applied across all sectors

  • How much is it worth?
    Facebook has not disclosed the individual values of grants but it is worth noting that some grants will be awarded in the form of ad credits
  • How do I apply?
    Sign up for information on the Facebook grants hub here https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants
  • When are the funds available?
    This information has not yet been released

  1. Information on VAT and rates
    • Business Rates
      1. Business rates for small businesses are already being scrapped (so, if your rateable value is less than £15,000, say bye!) and the government has announced an 100% business rate holiday for EVERYONE for 12 months. So don’t forget to add that into financial statements!
    • VAT Payments
      1. A VAT holiday will be in place until the end of June, meaning restaurants will be able to free-up funds to put back into their business
      2. The collection of VAT from the next three months will be delayed and will not be collected until the end of the next financial year (April 2021)
  1. Any businesses with insurance policies that cover pandemics can rest easy knowing the government has confirmed that their guidelines WILL be sufficient to make a claim

 

  1. Ways to diversify if you own a business
  2. The information regarding Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) compensation is evolving all the time but here’s the latest info to know:
    • Who qualifies for compensation?
      Businesses with less than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020
    • How much will it be?

The government will refund 2 weeks of SSP per staff member (£188.50)

  • What records do I need?

Businesses will need to keep track of staff absences etc but the employees do not have to provide a GP note

  • When will the refund be available?
    A firm date has not been announced but likely will happen in the next few months