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Covid-19 – Impact on Business

At Donoghue & Co, we want to keep you up to date as much as possible in these uncertain times with the Coronavirus, but the below is subject to substantial change based on the UK and Scottish Government updates.

Announced in the UK Budget, Statutory Sick Pay will be payable from Day 1 instead of Day 4 if an employee is Self-Isolating for potential/suspected Coronavirus. The UK Government has announced this will be reimbursed to UK businesses for the first 14-day period for each employee. This only applies to small companies, generally under 250 employees. How this will be claimed (Via your monthly/quarterly payroll payment to HMRC or reclaim via a specialist form we assume) is so far unclear. These claims will be retrospective to the 13th of March 2020 onwards. We have no time scale as to when this will be implemented, so this may take a period of time before businesses are able to claim.

Please see the following link for further information:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

As noted in the link above, there will be a small business grant of (up to) £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief. It appears the local authority will contact you in this regard.

The £25,000 grant to retail, hospitality & leisure businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 & £51,000 appears to only be for English businesses. The Scottish Government may follow suit, however this isn’t guaranteed at this time.

https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/

Furthermore, a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be available to receive applications, which is backed by the UK Government, available from next week. Please see the following link for details, which is being updated frequently.

Also, please note the Chancellor has also announced a 3-month break for mortgage payments, please contact your mortgage provider for further information.

Should a lock-down happen, as is currently happening in European countries at the moment, ACAS have provided basic guidance on what should happen with your employees’ wages. See the link below for further information:

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

A brief summary is below:

  • If an employee does not want to go to work, they can take the time off as holidays or unpaid leave.
  • If an employee is Self-Isolating, they will be due sick pay as per business policies & their contract.
  • If the business has someone at work with Coronavirus, the business does not need to close, but should follow cleaning advice.
  • If a business needs to temporarily close, unless otherwise specified in their contract or agreed, the employees should be paid as normal. Employers can force their employees to take holiday pay during this period, but only with double the amount of time notice (For example, 5 days holiday = 10 days’ notice before holiday commences).

As for employees, no real packages have yet been announced, however we have been advised there may be some information in the next week or so by the Chancellor. For clients who we are expecting to come into ourselves, we do plan on remaining in the office for as long as we are allowed, or we also have the option of working from home. We can operate a “drop off” scenario for paperwork if our clients feel this may be the best option to avoid the potential spread of the virus. We are more than happy to discuss any needs or concerns our clients may have.

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