Last month TFL launched a briefing for businesses to assist the planning and preparations for returning to work. The briefing brings together Government advice on returning to work, their travel guidance and the work TFL are doing to support London.
Find out more here https://tfl.gov.uk/campaign/restart
The NHS Test and Trace service forms a central part of the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care sector. Once launched, this service will also play a vital role in providing an early warning if COVID-19 activity is increasing locally, regionally or nationally. This information will then be used to inform the Government’s approach to stop the spread of the virus. Here is the full document Test and Trace workplace guidance
From RBKC’s Economic Development Team
We have now launched a COVID-19 Business Interruption Fund to support RBKC businesses and self-employed that fall through the gaps of the various measures announced by Government. This discretionary fund has a link on the Council's RBKC COVID 19 BUSINESS PORTAL, Details below.
The Council has set up a fund which will allow smaller, private enterprises in the borough, with either fewer than 20 employees or a turnover of less than £2 million, access to a grant of up to £5,000. This emergency fund is only open to those who have experienced disruption to trading and income due to the Coronavirus and have not been able to source working capital from any other Government support scheme to cover essential business costs.
We will also expect any applicant to demonstrate what they’ve done to mitigate the various impacts themselves which is not just other Government schemes.
To Apply for the Business Interruption Fund, businesses will need one of the following documents:
A copy of the business' accounts
A copy of your tax self-assessment for the previous two years
If started recently, a copy of your most recent management accounts or trading summary showing turnover figures.
Businesses will also need:
A copy of the most recent bank statement for your business, showing the name, address and account details (we need this to be able to pay any grant awarded to you) - the transaction details can be redacted.
One form of identity documentation for the named applicant (driver's licence, passport).
Small but important note: The size of the fund is £500,000. That would for example provide 100 successful applicants with maximum £5k.
This was our First Tuesday Question & Answer Event with our expert panel; Graham Hart, Head of Economic Development at RBK&C Council, Robert Moore, Managing Partner at Bright Graham Murray Accountants, and Anthony Wilcox, Partner - Employment Law at TWM Solicitors.
Members and guests put questions to our expert panel about business support during the COVID-19 crisis. The event was chaired by Michael Stone, our Chairman.
RBK&C - the businesses for SBRR will have been identified off the current register and contact attempted. The portal includes a form for registering and also a dedicated email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Access to this information is included on the portal at www.rbkc.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19
Anthony Wilcox TWM Solicitors for help re the Staff Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) Tel: 01483 752 784 Email: Anthony.Wilcox@TWMSolicitors.com
Bright Graham Murray Accountants for help re HMRC and business loans please contact Andrew Boyd Tel:07375 072091 Email: AndrewBoyd@bgm.co.uk
Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on people and businesses in the UK and abroad.
Over the last few days the government has announced a number of measures to help and support UK business and I set out below a summary of the main measures you need to be aware of.
Job Retention Scheme
An employee may be furloughed (laid-off) and remain on the payroll, with the government paying 80% of the employee’s salary up to a cap of £2,500 a month for 3 months. Both the employee and employer must agree the furloughed status. Under the arrangement employees would be paid as normal with tax and national insurance deductions, and the employer will make a separate claim to HMRC for reimbursement. During the furlough period the employee should not carry out work duties.
Statutory Sick Pay
Where an employee is off work due to Coronavirus, they can be paid Statutory Sick Pay for up to 2 weeks and which the employer can reclaim from HMRC.
Small Business Rates
If your business qualifies for small business rates relief, then you can apply for a £10,000 grant from your local council.
Retail. Hospitality and Leisure Businesses
Are exempt from business rates for the 2020-21 tax year, and are eligible for a cash grant of up to £25,000 depending on the rateable value of their business property.
All VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 are postponed until the end of the current tax year in March 2021. The postponement is automatic and no claim is required.
PAYE and Pension Payments
Are due to be paid as normal.
Income Tax Payments
The 31 July 2020 self assessment tax payment has been postponed to 31 January 2021.
Business Loan Guarantee Scheme
If you borrow money from a bank, the government will pay the first 12 months interest on the loan together with any arrangement fees, and guarantee 80% of the debt to the bank in the event of default.
If you have any outstanding tax liabilities you can agree time to pay with HMRC by telephoning 0800 0159 559.
If you require further detailed information on the above measures then please do not hesitate to contact the Chamber, by email to Nicola@KCCCLondon.org, or refer to the government advice at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
The Kensington & Chelsea Chamber of Commerce has been supporting businesses for over 50 years and will continue for many years to come.
Please stay safe and healthy.
Michael Stone, Chairman
Laying off employees means that the employer provides employees with no work (and no pay) for a period while retaining them as employees; short-time working means providing employees with less work (and less pay) for a period while retaining them as employees. These are temporary solution to the problem of no or less work. However, if employees are laid-off or put on short-time working in circumstances where the employer does not have the contractual right to do so then the employer will be in fundamental breach of contract entitling the employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal.
A better option is likely to be the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will pay employees' salaries of up to £2,500 a calendar month as long as they are kept on the payroll.
On 20 March 2020, the government announced new measures to help employees.
Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has said:
- Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or non-profit - will be eligible for the scheme;
- Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off;
- Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month – that’s above the median income;
- Employers can top up salaries further if they choose to;
- Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary;
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open initially for at least three months - and the scheme will be extended if necessary;
- The first grants should be paid within weeks and they are aiming to get it done before the end of April.
The Government website advice for employees states:
If your employer cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19, they may be able to access support to continue paying part of your wage, to avoid redundancies.
If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off.
To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them while you are furloughed. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to.
If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.
We intend for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to run for at least 3 months from 1 March 2020, but will extend if necessary.
The Government website advice for employers states:
You will need to:
- designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
- submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.
- This scheme covers businesses in any sector; and
- The scheme will apply in respect of all employees on PAYE, including those on zero-hours contracts.
If you need any further advice from an Employment Lawyer please contact; Claire Fountain, Partner at TWM Solicitors LLP Telephone: 07773 233147