Updated: Mar 17
Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employers
In the Budget (11 March 2020) the Chancellor announced a package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised.
What support is available to you as an employer
> Small and medium-sized businesses and employers can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
o this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
o employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
o employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
o employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
o the eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
o the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP
> All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. These businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline from 11 March 2020 for advice and support. To ensure ongoing support, HMRC have made a further 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms and individuals when needed.
> If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
How to advise and support your employees affected by COVID-19
> Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will now be available for eligible individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who are unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with Government advice. This is in addition to the change announced by the Prime Minister that SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals.
> People who choose to self-isolate for COVID-19 will no longer have to contact NHS 111 or the local GP. Further details will be confirmed shortly.
> Those who are not eligible for SSP, for example the self-employed or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week 9 (£120 from 6 April 2020), can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance:
o for the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support
o people will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre if they are advised to self-isolate
o contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating in line with advice from Day 1 of sickness, rather than Day 8.
Avoid the spread of the Coronavirus
Recognise the symptoms
> A cough
> A high temperature
> Shortness of breath
> Wash our hands with soap and water often
> Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
> Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
> Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
> Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
> DO NOT touch your
without clean hands!
Prepared by Towers + Gornall March 2020