There are many places to obtain more detailed information. Here are a few local sites and some practical information which may be of help during this crisis.
Please see our Facebook page too for up to date bulletins re: Covid 19.
Cleverdons Accountants have again very kindly provided us with the following update summary in the light of Government announcements yesterday, 26th March.
Some guidelines regarding rules, income and claims whether you are an employee or an employer:
Covid-19 Update – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
There were two big announcements from the government yesterday. We will email you separately about the support for the self employed.
The detail for this was released last night Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Some speculation had been correct in terms of how the scheme will work but we prefer to rely on the Government announcements as these are factual.
There is a lot of information here so we have summarised the main points.
Who can claim?
- Any UK organisation with employees
- You must have started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020
- You must have a UK bank account
What can you claim?
- You will receive a grant from HMRC to cover the lower of 80% of an employees regular wage or £2,500
- Plus associated employer national insurance
- Plus minimum auto enrollment employer pension contributions on the subsidised wage
- Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included
- More guidance from HMRC is to follow on how to calculate the claims for employer national insurance and the pension contributions
- You cannot claim for dividends paid to a shareholder who is also an employee/director
How do you calculate the claim for full time or part time employees?
- Their salary at 28 February should be used to calculate the 80%
- Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included
How do you calculate the claim when the employees pay varies?
- If the employee has been employed for a full 12 months prior to the claim, you can claim for the higher of:
- The same month’s earnings from the previous year
- The average monthly earnings for 2019/20
- If they have been employed for less than a year then you claim for an average of their monthly earnings since they started work
- You then work out the employers national insurance and AE pension contributions that you are entitled to claim
Which employees can you claim for?
- Employees on your payroll at 28 February 2020
- This includes employees on any type of contract including employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
- Employees made redundant since 28 February 2020 if they are rehired
- Only employees that are on furlough – they must not do any work for you while on furlough
- Only employees that you have written to confirming that they have been furloughed (you must keep a record of this)
- The furlough period for each employee must be a minimum of three weeks.
- Directors are not specifically excluded in this guidance, but the rules of “must not be working” still apply
Which employees can you not claim for?
- An employee continuing to work for you
- An employee working on reduced hours or for reduced pay
- Employees hired after 28 February 2020
- Employees on unpaid leave unless they were placed on unpaid leave after 28 February 2020
What should you pay the employee?
- The lower of 80% of their regular wage or £2500 per month
- You can choose to top up an employee’s salary but you do not have to
What about employees on SSP?
- Employees on sick leave or self-isolating should get SSP
- They can be furloughed at the send of the SSP
- Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough
What about employees on Maternity leave or paternity pay?
- Normal rules apply
If the employee has more than one job?
- Each job is separate
- The cap applies to each employer individually
What about National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW)?
- This only applies for the hours they are working
- It does not apply to furloughed workers even if the 80% of their salary would be below NLW or NMW based on their usual working hours
- However see training section below
If the employee does volunteer work or training?
- An employee can take part in training or volunteer work as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for you
- If workers are required to complete online training whilst furloughed, they must be paid at least the NLW or NMW, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised
Public sector organisations
- If you receive public funding for staff costs and that funding is continuing, HMRC expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion and not furlough them
- This also applies to non-public sector employers who received public funding for staff costs
How to do you claim?
- HMRC expect the portal to be up and running by the end of April
- To claim you will need:
- ePAYE reference number
- The number of employees being furloughed
- The claim period (start and end date)
- Amount claimed (minimum length of furloughing is 3 weeks)
- Your bank account number
HMRC retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim so you will need to make sure you keep detailed records to support your claim.
HMRC also say that employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way. This is important.
There is now a dedicated helpline for residents who are vulnerable and are self-isolating or social shielding in line with NHS Advice.
It has been set up to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our community, who are unable to go outside to buy supplies, are helped to get the things they need.
Residents should call: 01843 577 330
The helpline will be open 9am to 5pm every day including weekends.
Our good friends from Cleverdons Accountants have shared the following information and useful links with us re: any financial questions you may have.
Thank You to them for their advice and signposting.
If you are self employed
You are able to claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria.
To support you with the economic impact of the outbreak, and allow you to follow government guidance on self-isolation and social distancing, HMRC have said that from 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak.
New claimants will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.
Here is the link to apply for Universal Credit
We are expecting more assistance for the self employed to be announced later today.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
We are still awaiting details from HMRC as to how their portal will work and what information is required to establish the 80% figure that will be reimbursed for furloughed workers.
Until then there is not much we can add to the inevitable question of “how will this work?”
Please remember that this will only apply to employees who have stopped working. It will not apply to workers that are on reduced hours.
Please remember that you must still submit your VAT returns to HMRC. This is a payment deferral measure only.
Although HMRC have said no action is needed, we recommend that you cancel any direct debit instruction you have with HMRC for VAT – just in case!
You will of course need to remember to set it up again.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
We don’t yet know the response of Banks and other lenders yet, but they may well wish to see accounts before lending regardless of the Government guarantee. Please ensure that your records are kept up to date and budget for the fact that you may need accounts prepared.
Government press conferences
These are daily at about 5.00pm each day. We think they are worth watching at least for the advice and explanations from the medical experts.
For those of you who would like them, here are the links to the official government sites:
- Government action plan
- Guidance on social distancing and stay at home
- Travel advice
- Support for businesses
- Tax helpline to support businesses who are concerned about paying their taxes
- Guide for employees, employers and businesses
- NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Broadstairs & St Peter’s
To keep up to date with local initiatives, access support or volunteer:
Broadstairs & St Peter’s Town Council are also collating social media posts on their facebook page
Thanet Coronavirus Assistance Facebook
For anyone who is self-isolating - Information from TDC regarding safe waste here :
Guidelines for Social Distancing