C19 BUSINESS NEWS UPDATE

Written 22 May 2020

Time to reflect and plan ahead

As we emerge slowly from lockdown, now is a good time to take stock of things and look ahead to how we can run our businesses with the “New Normal” environment we face.

What is clear is that some form of social distancing will remain, and many businesses are adopting new ways of working within the rules. The Government has published guidance to assist employers: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Please keep reviewing these guidelines as they change regularly.

Government supports continue. The Job Retention scheme has been extended until October, although we are not yet sure what percentage of support the Government will provide post July.

Self-employed income support grants are open for applicants on-line and we have no confirmation yet as to whether the Government will extend the scheme. If and when they do, we will provide you with further information.

The online service you will use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available from 26 May 2020. See:    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

You can find out what Government supports are available here: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

We have been helping many clients with bank loans and VAT deferral so please contact us about the loans available if you have not already done so.

The reality of the situation is that not all businesses are going to survive. If your customers are in isolation and cannot get to you or you cannot deliver or they cannot pay you, there is the reality of reduced or no sales for the next few months and even beyond if the virus remains.

It is worth remembering that the situation we face is one we cannot change. What you can do is stay healthy and ensure your loved ones are too. After all, if the business closes and you are healthy you can start again. The reverse is not true.

Many businesses are re-purposing or pivoting their operations and are adapting to the new ways of doing things. We are helping them with digital bookkeeping and forecasting with “What if” scenarios so they can look at all angles of their businesses.

So, here is what you need to do right now:

  1. Stay healthy, follow the Government guidelines for you, your family, co-workers, employees and community. Work from home where you can manage administration.
  2. Plan – what will your business look like in six months’ time? The best way to predict your future is to create it.
  3. So, take time to look at your business, Strengths, Weaknesses. Opportunities and Threats. Make notes, involve everyone. Brainstorm. Draft a written plan.
  4. Work out your expenses (including salaries) for the next six months.
  5. Estimate your cash flow over the next six months. We have the tools to help.
  6. If you need help in doing these calculations talk to us – we can talk you through these for you. Without the figures you cannot make clear decisions.
  7. Once you have a grasp on your figures and you consider you have a “viable” business (can you survive for the next six months?):
    1. Get your members of staff involved in a discussion of likely trading conditions and get their input on reducing costs and maintaining revenues.
    2. Review your list of products and services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core products/services.
    3. Get rid of won’t pay customers.
    4. Review your debtors list and chase up overdue invoices (if appropriate).
    5. Offer existing debtors extended payment terms and/or discounts.
    6. Agree extended payment terms with all suppliers in advance.
    7. Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your better customers are solid.
    8. If your business is not viable – talk to us and we will run through the options.

Above all stay strong! Remember your health and welfare is more important than anything else just now. We will help you every step of the way. Together we will get through this!

 

 

 

 

C19 BUSINESS NEWS UPDATE

Written 20 May 2020

CORONAVIRUS STATUTORY SICK PAY REBATE SCHEME SET TO LAUNCH

Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.

The government has announced a new online service will be launched on 26 May for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

Employers are eligible if they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started before 28 February 2020 and they had fewer than 250 employees before the same date.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks of SSP and is payable if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have coronavirus; or
  • are self-isolating and unable to work from home; or
  • are shielding because they have been advised that they are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

 

You can check if your business can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19) here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

This scheme will allow small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Employers will be able to make their claims through a new online service from 26 May. This means they will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

To prepare to make their claim, employers should keep records of all the SSP payments that they wish to claim from HMRC.

Further information

The current rate of SSP is £95.85 per week (before 5 April the rate was £94.25).  Employers can choose to go further and pay more than the statutory minimum. This is known as occupational or contractual sick pay.

Where an employer pays more than the current rate of SSP in sick pay, they will only be able to reclaim the SSP rate.

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

Note: Other SSP eligibility criteria apply.

Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees is fewer than 250 on or before 28 February 2020. Employees do not have to provide a doctor’s fit note for their employer to make a claim under the scheme.

Employers can furlough their employees who have been advised to shield in line with public health guidance and are unable to work from home, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Once furloughed, the employee should no longer receive SSP and would be classified as a furloughed employee. Where an employee has been notified to shield and has not been furloughed, the rebate will compensate up to 2 weeks of SSP from 16 April 2020.

If you need assistance with a claim please contact us.

ADDITIONAL £40M FOR CUTTING-EDGE START-UPS

Innovative businesses and start-ups are set to benefit from a £40 million government investment to drive forward new technological advances. The government is doubling investment in the Fast Start Competition with an additional £20 million. The competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups – helping to build the businesses of tomorrow and propel their future prosperity.

Among the successful projects to receive the funding to date, is a virtual-reality surgical training simulator and an online farmers’ market platform.

  • £40 million of government funding to support the UK’s next generation of innovative businesses
  • projects to benefit from the funding include virtual reality training platforms for surgeons, virtual farmers’ markets and other innovations borne out of the coronavirus pandemic
  • funding comes from a £211 million government investment package to encourage businesses developing new technologies

The Fast Start Competition was launched in April in response to the outbreak and is being managed by Innovate UK

See:  https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk

APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMME RESPONSE

Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response?utm_source=df7cee49-94a8-491e-bb5d-1ff1066c2886&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

The Government sates this is a difficult time for apprentices, employers and providers of apprenticeship training, assessment and external assurance. The government is committed to supporting apprentices, and employers continue to build the skills capabilities the country needs now and in the future.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responding by taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any break they need to take as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), and to support providers during this challenging time.

The support they are providing includes:

  • supporting employers, providers, and apprentices to work together to mutually agree where and how this training takes place. This includes in the workplace where a provider is able to do so safely and where that workplace meets new ‘coronavirus secure’ guidelines on ensuring the workplace is safe
  • confirming flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training and to take their end-point assessment, and to allow existing furloughed employees to start a new apprenticeship, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer
  • encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely, and via e-learning, as far as is practicable
  • allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible – this is in order to support employers, providers and end-point assessment organisation (EPAOs) to maintain progress and achievement for apprentices
  • clarifying that apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to coronavirus issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled
  • apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment time frame
  • enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning, where the interruption to learning due to coronavirus is greater than 4 weeks
  • confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is the ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks
  • confirming that where apprentices are made redundant and are ready to go through gateway, that providers and EPAOs are able to make the necessary assessment arrangements to support these apprentices
  • confirming that they are extending the transition period onto the apprenticeship service. Funds available for new starts on non-levy procured contracts can now be used until 31 March 2021. All starts will be through the apprenticeship service from 1 April 2021

The Government are keeping the developing situation, and guidance, under review and will continue updating this guidance as new information is available and/or the situation evolves.

The information should be read alongside the government’s COVID-19 guidance and support for businesses, in particular the salary support for furloughed employees, which also applies to apprentices.

They have also broken down some of this guidance into articles for employers, training providers and EPAOs, as well as articles for apprentices. These can be found on the Apprenticeship Service Help page.

Employers, training providers and EPAOs: https://help.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/hc/en-gb

Apprentices:  https://help.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/hc/en-gb/sections/360003798540-Apprentice

Read guidance from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) on the delivery of assessment here: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/response-to-covid-19/

WALES – ADDITIONAL £64.5M AS A RESULT OF TRANSPORT FUNDING IN ENGLAND

Wales will receive an additional £64.5 million as a result of UK Government funding allocated to Transport for London earlier this week.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/wales-to-receive-additional-645m-as-a-result-of-transport-funding-in-england?utm_source=eb514740-52ba-4f2c-a891-ed1e1f80041c&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

NORTHERN IRELAND – ENTERPRISE RELIEF FUND FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS

This Initiative offers self-employed young people affected by the coronavirus outbreak flexible access to grants and business support.

The Prince’s Trust and Ulster Bank recently launched a £5 million fund supporting young entrepreneurs across the UK to keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund are offering grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed or running their own business.

In conjunction with cash grants, the initiative will offer one-to-one support and guidance to anyone who needs it and who may be worried about their future.

Use for the Grants:

Grants can be used to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments, such as paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers.

Additionally, grants will also support young people to diversify their business to respond to opportunities created by the crisis.

Who is eligible?

To be able to apply for the Enterprise Relief Fund, you must be a business owner aged 18 to 30, who created their business in the last four years and do not have any other source of income during the crisis.

See: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-enterprise-relief-fund-young-entrepreneurs

 

Gov.Uk Updates Guidance On Which Employees You Can Put On Furlough To Use The Corona Job Retention Scheme

Written 15 May 2020

Find out which employees you can put on furlough and claim for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

This is a summary of information on the Government website.

Employees you can claim for

You can only claim for furloughed employees that were employed on 19 March 2020 and who were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020. If you had employees that were employed on 28 February 2020 but not on 19 March 2020, please see the section below on employees who were made redundant or stopped working for you after 28 February 2020.

Was the employee employed with you as of this date? Date RTI submission notifying payment was made to HMRC Eligible for CJRS?
28 February 2020 On or before 28 February 2020 Yes
28 February 2020 On or before 19 March 2020 Yes
28 February 2020 On or after 20 March 2020 No
19 March 2020 On or before 19 March 2020 Yes
19 March 2020 On or after 20 March 2020 No
On or after 20 March 2020 On or after 20 March 2020 No

If you made employees redundant or they stopped working for you after 28 February

If you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 28 February 2020, you can re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages from the date on which you furloughed them, even if you do not re-employ them until after 19 March 2020.

This applies as long as the employee was on your PAYE payroll as at 28 February 2020, which means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 28 February 2020. If your employee stopped working for you and was on a fixed term contract, you should also refer to the section ‘If your employee is on a fixed term contract’ below.

If you made employees redundant or they stopped working for you after 19 March 2020

If you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 19 March 2020, you can re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme from the date on which you furloughed them.

This applies as long as the employee was employed on 19 March 2020 and was on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020. If your employee stopped working for you and was on a fixed term contract, you should also refer to the section ‘If your employee is on a fixed term contract’ below.

If your employee is on a fixed term contract

An employee on a fixed term contract can be re-employed, furloughed, and claimed for if either:

  • their contract expired after 28 February 2020 and an RTI payment submission for the employee was notified to HMRC on or before 28 February 2020
  • their contract expired after 19 March 2020 and an RTI payment submission for the employee was notified to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020

If the employee’s fixed term contract has not already expired, it can be extended, or renewed. You can claim for them if an RTI payment submission for the employee was notified to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020.

Employees that started and ended the same contract between 28 February 2020 and 19 March 2020 will not qualify for this scheme. This is not specific to employees on fixed-term contracts, the same would apply to employees on all other contracts.

If your employee had multiple employers over the last year

If an employee has had multiple employers over the past year, has only worked for one of them at any one time, and is being furloughed by their current employer, their former employer/s should not re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme.

If your employees are working reduced hours

If an employee is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for this scheme.

If your employee has more than one job

If your employee has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually.

Employees can be furloughed in one job and receive a furloughed payment but continue working for another employer and receive their normal wages.

If you employ apprentices

Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train whist furloughed.

However, you must pay your Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage/National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. This means you must cover any shortfall between the amount you can claim for their wages through this scheme and their appropriate minimum wage.

Guidance is available for changes in apprenticeship learning arrangements because of coronavirus (COVID-19) in:

 If your employee does volunteer work

 A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work, if it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation or a linked or associated organisation.

You cannot furlough your employee and then ask them to volunteer for you in the same or a different role.

If your employee does training

Furloughed employees can engage in training, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation. Furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training.

Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours. However, where the time spent training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages (see National Minimum Wage Section for more details).

Furloughed employees working as union or non-union representatives

Whilst on furlough, employees who are union or non-union representatives may undertake duties and activities for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees or other workers. However, in doing this, they must not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation or a linked or associated organisation.

If your employee’s health has been affected by coronavirus
(COVID-19)

If your employee is shielding

Employees who are unable to work because they are shielding in line with public health guidance (or need to stay home with someone who is shielding) can be furloughed.

If your employee has caring responsibilities

Employees who are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19) can be furloughed. For example, employees that need to look after children can be furloughed.

If your employee becomes sick while furloughed

Furloughed employee retain their statutory rights, including their right to Statutory Sick Pay. This means that furloughed employees who become ill must be paid at least Statutory Sick Pay. It is up to employers to decide whether to move these employees onto Statutory Sick Pay or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate.

If a furloughed employee who becomes sick is moved onto SSP, employers can no longer claim for the furloughed salary. Employers are required to pay SSP themselves, although may qualify for a rebate for up to 2 weeks of SSP. If employers keep the sick furloughed employee on the furloughed rate, they remain eligible to claim for these costs through the furloughed scheme.

If your employee is on leave

If your employee is on unpaid leave

If an employee started unpaid leave after 28 February 2020, you can put them on furlough instead. If you put them on furlough then you should pay them at least 80% of their regular wages, up to the monthly cap of £2500.

If an employee went on unpaid leave on or before 28 February, you cannot furlough them until the date on which it was agreed they would return from unpaid leave.

If your employee is self-isolating or on sick leave

If your employee is on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of Coronavirus, they will be able to get Statutory Sick Pay, subject to other eligibility conditions applying. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is not intended for short-term absences from work due to sickness, and there is a 3-week minimum furlough period.

Short term illness/self-isolation should not be a consideration in deciding whether to furlough an employee. If, however, employers want to furlough employees for business reasons and they are currently off sick, they are eligible to do so, as with other employees. In these cases, the employee should no longer receive sick pay and would be classified as a furloughed employee.

Employers are also entitled to furlough employees who are being shielded or off on long-term sick leave. It is up to employers to decide whether to furlough these employees. You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the SSP rebate scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time. When an employee is on furlough, you can only reclaim expenditure through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and not the SSP rebate scheme. If a non-furloughed employee becomes ill, needs to self-isolate or be shielded, then you might qualify for the SSP rebate scheme, enabling you to claim up to two weeks of SSP per employee.

If your employee is on maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave, shared parental leave or parental bereavement leave

The normal rules for maternity and other forms of parental leave and pay apply.

Although, you may need to calculate your employee’s average weekly earnings differently, if your employee was furloughed and then started leave on or after 25 April 2020 for:

  • maternity pay
  • adoption pay
  • paternity pay
  • shared parental pay
  • parental bereavement pay

You can claim through the scheme for enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay for employees who qualify for either:

  • maternity pay
  • adoption pay
  • paternity pay
  • shared parental pay
  • parental bereavement pay

If your employee gets Maternity Allowance

If your employee is getting Maternity Allowance while they are on maternity leave, they should not get furlough pay at the same time.

If your employee has agreed to be put on furlough, tell them to contact Jobcentre Plus to stop their Maternity Allowance payments.

If your employee agrees to be put on furlough and end their maternity leave early, they will need to give you at least 8 weeks’ notice and they will not be eligible for furlough pay until the end of the 8 weeks.

Individuals you can claim for who are not employees

As well as employees, the grant can be claimed for any of the following groups, if they are paid via PAYE: office holders (including company directors), salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), agency workers (including those employed by umbrella companies), and limb (b) workers.

The guidance below sets out specific considerations for those individuals who are paid via PAYE, but who are not necessarily employees in employment law. Unless explicitly set out below, all other guidance is applicable to these cases, and should be followed.

Office holders

Office holders can be furloughed and receive support through this scheme. The furlough, and any ongoing payment during furlough, will need to be agreed between the office holder and the party who operates PAYE on the income they receive for holding their office. Where the office holder is a company director or member of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), the furlough arrangements should be adopted formally as a decision of the company or LLP.

Company directors

As office holders, salaried company directors are eligible to be furloughed and receive support through this scheme. Company directors owe duties to their company which are set out in the Companies Act 2006. Where a company (acting through its board of directors) considers that it is in compliance with the statutory duties of one or more of its individual salaried directors, the board can decide that such directors should be furloughed. Where one or more individual directors’ furlough is so decided by the board, this should be formally adopted as a decision of the company, noted in the company records, and communicated in writing to the director(s) concerned.

Where furloughed directors need to carry out particular duties to fulfil the statutory obligations they owe to their company, they may do so provided they do no more than would reasonably be judged necessary for that purpose, i.e. they should not do work of a kind they would carry out in normal circumstances to generate commercial revenue or provides services to or on behalf of their company.

This also applies to salaried individuals who are directors of their own personal service company (PSC).

Company directors with an annual pay period

Those paid annually are eligible to claim, as long as they meet the relevant conditions. This includes being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020, which relates to a payment of earnings in the 19/20 tax year. The requirement for there to be payment of earnings in the 19/20 tax year applies for any employee being claimed for under the scheme, irrespective of how frequently they are paid (e.g. weekly, fortnightly, or monthly). This will be relevant for those on an annual pay period if the last payment notified to RTI was before 5 April 2019 and no further payments were notified until after 19 March 2020.

An employer can make their claim in anticipation of an imminent payroll run, at the point they run their payroll or after they have run their payroll.

Salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)

Members of LLPs who are designated as employees for tax purposes (‘salaried members’) under the Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act (ITTOIA) 2005 are eligible to be furloughed and receive support through this scheme.

The rights and duties of a member of an LLP are set out in an LLP agreement and in the absence of an agreement, default provisions in the LLP Act 2000, based upon company and partnership law. Such an agreement may include separate agreement between the LLP and an individual member setting out the terms applicable to that member’s relationship with the LLP.

To furlough a member, the terms of the LLP agreement (or any such agreement between the LLP and the member) may need to be varied by a formal decision of the LLP, for example to reflect the fact that the member will perform no work in the LLP for the period of furlough, and the effect of this on their remuneration from the LLP. For an LLP member who is treated as being employed by the LLP (in accordance with s863A of ITTOIA 2005), the reference salary for this scheme is the LLP member’s profit allocation, excluding any amounts which are determined by the LLP member’s performance, or the overall performance of the LLP.

Agency Workers (including those employed by umbrella companies)

Where agency workers are paid through PAYE, they are eligible to be furloughed and receive support through this scheme, including where they are employed by umbrella companies.

Furlough should be agreed between the agency, as the deemed employer, and the worker, though it would be advised to discuss the need to furlough with any end clients involved. As with employees, agency workers should perform no work for, through or on behalf of the agency that has furloughed them while they are furloughed, including performing such work through or on behalf of the agency for the agency’s clients.

Where an agency supplies clients with workers who are employed by an umbrella company that operates the PAYE, it will be for the umbrella company and the worker to agree whether to furlough the worker or not.

Limb (b) Workers

Where Limb (b) Workers are paid through PAYE, they can be furloughed and receive support through this scheme.

Those who pay tax on their trading profits through Income Tax Self-Assessment, may instead be eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), announced by the Chancellor on 26 March 2020.

Contingent workers in the public sector

The Cabinet Office has issued guidance on how payments to suppliers of contingent workers impacted by COVID-19 should be dealt with where the party receiving the contingent worker’s services is a Central Government Department, an Executive Agency of a Central Government Department or a Non-Departmental Public Body.

Read more information on contingent workers impacted by COVID-19. This guidance applies to agency workers paid through PAYE, as well as those paid through umbrella companies on PAYE and off-payroll workers supplying their services through a Personal Service Company (PSC).

Contractors with public sector engagements in scope of IR35 off-payroll working rules (IR35)

Public sector bodies will follow the Crown Commercial Services guidance in the vast majority of cases. In a small number of cases, for example where organisations are not primarily funded by the government and whose staff cannot be redeployed to assist with the coronavirus response, it may be appropriate to claim under the CJRS. Contractors who are deemed employees according to the off payroll working rules might be eligible for this scheme.

In this scenario, if the public sector organisation wished to furlough a contractor, they would have to confirm this with both the contractor’s Personal Service Company (PSC) and the fee-payer (as set out in the off-payroll working rules, usually the agency paying the contractor’s PSC). It should be formally agreed between these parties that the contractor is to do no work for the public sector organisation during their period of furlough. The fee-payer would be able to apply for the furlough payment of 80% of the monthly contract value, up to a maximum of £2,500, as well as the employer NICs on that subsidised wage. The fee-payer would then pay at least the amount of wage-grant received to the PSC and report the payment via PAYE using the contractor’s details, making the usual tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) deductions for contracts in scope of the off-payroll rules. The PSC would then be required to report the amount it pays to the contractor as deemed employment income via PAYE using box 58A on the PAYE Real Time Information return.

Where a contractor is continuing to receive payments from a public sector client (including through the CJRS or other any other scheme), income from this client should be excluded from any calculation of the reference pay for the purposes of the CJRS if the contractor also decides to furlough themselves as an employee or director of their own company.

If you’ve consolidated your payroll and have new employees on it

Where a group of companies have multiple PAYE schemes and there is a transfer of all employees from these schemes into a new consolidated PAYE scheme after 28 February 2020, the new scheme will be eligible to furlough those employees and claim the grants available under the CJRS.

Employee transfers under TUPE and on a change in ownership

A new employer is eligible to claim under the CJRS in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred after 28 February 2020 if either the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.

After you have checked which employees you can claim for

Once you know whether you can put your employees on furlough and claim through the scheme for their wages, you should agree this with them before you start your claim.

C19 BUSINESS NEWS UPDATE

Written 14 May 2020

HOUSING SECRETARY’S STATEMENT ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

The Housing Secretary on the government’s response to COVID-19 and the plan to safely restart, reopen and renew the housing market.

When the lockdown was announced in March, we changed the rules so that people could only move home if they thought it was “reasonably necessary”.

That meant that more than 450,000 buyers had to put their plans on hold.

And each month 300,000 tenancies come up for renewal as well.

A significant proportion of these will result in people needing to or wanting to move home. The pressure to move for some was becoming acute, with serious legal, financial and health implications.

During an already very difficult time, these people have been stuck in limbo. Now they can carry on with their house moves and add some certainty to their lives.

So, from today:

  • estate agents’ offices can re-open
  • viewings – whether virtual or in person – are permitted
  • show homes can open
  • and removal companies and the other essential parts of the sales and letting process are re-started with immediate effect

For most people moving home is not a luxury. People decide to move home because their personal circumstances change.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/housing-secretarys-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19-13-may-2020?utm_source=0585f1b2-a2b1-4edf-b475-1dab4b7c7884&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

WALES – CORONAVIRUS REGULATIONS: GUIDANCE

The Welsh Government have recently updated their guidance on what you and your business can and cannot do during the COVID19 outbreak and what happens if the new laws are broken.

The new rules are now in force, which mean you must stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS. These rules may differ to other parts of the UK, so it is important you understand them.

Read full press release here: https://businesswales.gov.wales/news-and-blogs/news/coronavirus-regulations-guidance

WALES – COVID-19: SME ECONOMIC RESILIENCE FUND UPDATE

Due to high volume of applications received for the SME Economic Resilience Fund, many businesses are being contacted to let them know that their applications are being dealt with as quickly as possible.

If you have yet to receive communication, please be assured that you will be contacted as soon as possible.

If you require any further support, please visit the Business Wales website: https://businesswales.gov.wales/

NORTHERN IRELAND – CORONAVIRUS: FIVE-STAGE RECOVERY PLAN PUBLISHED BY EXECUTIVE

A recently released phased five-stage plan for slowly moving out of quarantine has been published by the NI Executive.

In making decisions regarding easing restrictions in the future, the Executive will consider three key criteria:

  • the most up-to-date scientific evidence
  • Ability of the health service to cope
  • The wider impacts on our health, society, and the economy

The steps are indicative, and the process will need to be flexible so that it can adapt to new evidence and developments and the Executive can review and refine the approach to decision-making.

The ‘Pathway to Recovery’ plan includes general indicators used to inform risk evaluation easing of restrictions on business activities at each stage:

Step one

  • Outdoor activities (work and leisure) during which social distancing can be maintained for individuals who do not share a household contact and where there is no shared contact with hard surfaces.
  • Encouragement to those unable to work from home to return to the workplace on a phased basis subject to legal requirements and best practice arrangements being in place.
  • Large outdoor-based retail can open (such as garden centres – yet associated cafes and restaurants are only able to offer takeaway).

Step two

  • Indoor activities involving limited contacts of less than 10 minutes and interactions of only two to four people that maintain social distancing and prevent congregating in places for an extended period.
  • Outdoor activities involving small groups of less than 10 people during which it may be difficult to maintain social distancing but where contacts are brief (less than 10 minutes).

 

Step three

  • Indoor activities that involve a larger number of people where social distancing can be maintained for individuals who do not share a household connection.
  • Outdoor activities involving larger groups of less than 30 people during which it may be difficult to maintain social distancing but where contacts are brief (less than 10 minutes).

 

Step four

  • Indoor activities involving larger numbers of individuals where social distancing cannot be consistently maintained but contacts are limited and last less than 10 minutes or longer if effective mitigation is possible.
  • Outdoor gatherings involving larger numbers of individuals where social distancing cannot be easily maintained, and multiple contacts of less than 10 minutes are likely.

 

Read full press release here: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-five-stage-recovery-plan-published-executive

 

 

NORTHERN IRELAND – TWO MINUTE MASTERPIECE OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS

 

In partnership with BBC Arts and Northern Ireland Screen, will give up to six emerging animators based in Northern Ireland the opportunity to create their own two minute film.

The commissioned films will be shared on BBC platforms, with some potentially being screened on BBC Four.

This competition will be open to animators aged 16+. Ideas should be focused around the theme of ‘connection’. All types of animation will be accepted, whichever best suits your storytelling, style and talent.

Up to six chosen filmmakers will be given an industry mentor and a production fund of £2,000 towards realising their cinematic vision. These original stories and perspectives will give the audience an insight into the creative minds of local filmmaking talent.

The closing date for receipt of entries is Friday 22 May 2020.

Read full press release here: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/two-minute-masterpiece-open-applications

Government to support businesses through Trade Credit Insurance guarantee

Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen has announced.

Trade Credit Insurance provides cover to hundreds of thousands of business to business transactions, particularly in non-service sectors, such as manufacturing and construction. It insures suppliers selling goods against the company they are selling to defaulting on payment, giving businesses the confidence to trade with one another. But due to Coronavirus and businesses struggling to pay bills, they risk having credit insurance withdrawn, or premiums increasing to unaffordable levels.

To prevent this from happening, the government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. This will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence as they can trust that they will be protected if a customer defaults on payment.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen said:

This country’s businesses are crucial in helping us to kick start the economy as we get back to work, and I will do everything I can to help support them through this difficult time. By guaranteeing business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, we will help to maintain a vital cog in our economy.

This is on top of an unprecedented package of support we have put in place to help protect individuals, businesses and the economy.

Business Minister, Paul Scully, said:

Giving businesses the confidence to continue trading is vital to seeing us through this crisis. This guarantee will be essential as we seek to reopen new sectors of the economy and get the UK back to work in a way that is safe for everyone.

The guarantee will be delivered through a temporary reinsurance agreement with insurers currently operating in the market.

The government will work with businesses and the industry on the full details of the scheme to ensure firms are supported and risk is appropriately shared between the government and insurers.

The guarantees will cover trading by domestic firms and exporting firms and the intent is for agreements to be in place with insurers by end of this month.

The guarantee will be temporary and targeted to cover CV-19 economic challenges, and will provisionally last until the end of the year. It will be followed by a review of the TCI market to ensure it can continue to support businesses in future. Further details will be announced in due course.