06 Apr Coronavirus: help & support for businesses & employees
It was a little difficult for us to know what to write this month. It doesn’t feel right to continue as normal because, well, life isn’t normal. But it also didn’t feel right to keep quiet because we’re very much still active and working.
So, instead, we thought we’d be helpful. We’ve gathered together information on the latest help and support available for businesses and employees affected by COVID-19 so that you have a simple and reliable resource to refer to.
Support from us
Firstly, if you’ve been made redundant because of coronavirus or you’re struggling to continue recruiting, get in touch with us for free careers and business advice. We can advise on the best steps to take as well as providing a friendly ear.
Support for businesses affected by COVID-19
Businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, currently have access to the following support:
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Job Retention Scheme allows employers to claim 80% of furloughed employee’s usual monthly wages, up to £2,500 per month, plus employer NICs and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.
The scheme is open to all UK employees that created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020 and lasts from 1 March 2020 for at least three months.
Find out more about claiming wage costs through the Job Retention Scheme here.
Employers with fewer than 250 employees can claim refunds of up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee off work because of COVID-19.
More information on how to claim the refund will be released as soon as possible.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support for SMEs affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Businesses can get loans between £1,000 and £5 million, with the government guaranteeing 80% of the loan and covering the first 12 months of interest payments.
It’s important to note that the borrower remains 100% reliable for the debt, and personal guarantees may be required for loans above £250,000.
Find out more about the CBILS here.
The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with cash grants of up to £25,000 per property.
The Small Business Grant Scheme provides businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief or rural rate relief with a one-off grant of £10,000.
Thee grants are being administered by local authorities. Information for Milton Keynes businesses can be found here.
Business rates support
All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and nurseries are receiving a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months.
Businesses not eligible for the business rates holiday may still benefit from the existing Small Business Rate Relief scheme if they have one property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less or one/multiple properties with a value between £12,001 to £51,000.
Find out more about the business rates support here.
COVID-19 Corporate Funding Facility
Under the COVID-19 Corporate Funding Facility, the Bank of England will buy short-term debts from larger companies affected by short-term funding.
Find out more here.
HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
The HMRC Time To Pay scheme provides support for businesses struggling to make tax payments as a result of the virus, including instalment arrangements, suspended debt collection proceedings, and cancel penalties and interest.
Access the scheme by calling 0800 024 1222. The helpline is open from Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm, and Saturday 8 am to 4 pm.
Businesses have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 until a later date.
More information on how to defer your VAT payment is here.
Commercial tenants who cannot make rent payments owing to COVID-19 are protected from eviction up until 30 June. This may be extended.
Support for employees affected by COVID-19
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme enables you to receive 80% of your salary from the government, up to £2,500 per month, if you both agree you cannot work, and you were on the PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.
If you were on PAYE payroll on 28 February but have since left your employer, you could still be eligible for furlough if they agree to put you back onto payroll.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you cannot work because you are self-isolating due to coronavirus and have self-isolated for at least four days, you can claim SSP for every day you’re in isolation.
SSP is currently £94.25 per week for up to 28 weeks and is paid directly by your employer.
Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
Those eligible for Employment Support Allowance can claim ESA from the first day of isolation, rather than the eighth.
More information can be found here.
The government has increased the standard allowance of Universal Credit and removed the minimum income floor – increasing access for unemployed workers or those on low incomes.
We sincerely hope that you’re affected as little as possible by the pandemic, and life quickly returns to normal. In the meantime, keep safe, stay positive and get in touch if you need a chat.