With coronavirus (Covid-19), we find ourselves continuously assessing how this may affect our own organisations, the way in which we operate, and what we can do to help our members. Here, you will helpful and up to date information, guidance and advice on the coronavirus to facilitate this.
The Government have issued specific information for employers and businesses on providing advice on Coronavirus in their online guidance for employees, employers and businesses.
To support businesses that remain open during this period in England, the Government has published additional guidance to assist employers, businesses and their staff in staying open safely during the outbreak. For specific settings please refer to the sector specific guidance.
The UK Government is also supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. The Business Support website helps businesses find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the support measures that are available. This website will continue to be updated as information becomes available. Some aspects of business support are devolved and specific information for businesses in Northern Ireland, Walesand Scotland is also available. All the pages are being updated regularly as necessary.
If you have a query that isn’t covered by the information provided, you can contact the Business Support Helpline on Tel. 0300 456 3565. This is a rapidly moving situation, and the Government’s guidance on coronavirus is being updated on a regular basis.
The Government are also issuing regular bulletins with updates, guidance and advice for employers and businesses on Covid-19. To subscribe to these, click here.
During the 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced details about a new Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 13th March 2020. This scheme allows small and medium sized employers with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees from day 1 of sick leave. HMRC has published new online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.
HMRC are delivering a programme of webinars on the measures to support employers, people and self-employed individuals through this period of disruption. You can watch a video of the recorded webinar on the HMRC YouTube channel Coronavirus (COVID-19): helping employers to support employees. You can also register to attend a free webinar to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus by registering here.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open for applications. Employers can claim online for a grant for 80% of their furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month. Click here for further details and to make a claim.
To receive payment by 30 April, applications should have been received by close of business on 22 April as it can take 6 working days from making an application to receive the money. Please keep a note or print-out of claim reference numbers as you won’t receive a confirmation SMS or email.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have created a Coronavirus Business Support Blog to help business get the support they need to help with the impact of coronavirus. This blog contains additional information and resources, including:
• Case studies from businesses who have or will be accessing government support
• Posts from different people across government and business
For all the latest up to date government guidance on coronavirus support for businesses, please visit the coronavirus pages on GOV.UK.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is open for applications. It has now been extended so trade associations can now apply. Click here for more information on this.
A new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) is also open for applications. More information on accessing this can be found here.
A new Bounce Back Loans scheme, just announced by the Chancellor, will allow businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. The scheme is due to be launched on 4th May. Further information on this is available here.
The Government has also issued guidance for the public on mental health and well-being during the coronavirus outbreak and this can be found here.
If you have any questions around apprenticeships, then further information is available here.
If you are all now working from home and your premises are vacated for the forseeable future, there may be some implications for your insurance policies. There may also be some implications on your cover for valuable IT equipment if it is no longer kept on your premises. The ABI have published some insurance guidance for businesses here, but do check your policies or speak to your insurance provider to ensure you are fully covered.
The British Chambers of Commerce have a Coronavirus Support Hub here.
CBI also have some useful resources available on their website here. They are hosting the latest guidance, external resources and a member FAQ document that is collated and updated on a daily basis and taken from their members’ input. In addition, they are running daily webinars on Coronavirus which are free to all. Register via their Coronavirus hub to take part in these.
Employers can join a free ACAS webinar ‘Coronavirus – an advisory webinar for employers’ which will provide advice for employers to help manage the impact of coronavirus in the workplace. It includes:-
• steps that can help reduce the spread of the virus
• effective ways of communicating with employees
• self-isolating, time off, sickness certification and sick pay
• altering working hours, shift patterns and working arrangements
• remote working and the use of technology
Businesses can find out more and register to attend them here.
Can you or your members offer coronavirus support?
The UK Government is looking for businesses who can offer support in the multiple areas and has set up an online tool where businesses can register. TAF partners, Barley House Agency, have started to manufacture disposable visors for example. To find the list of areas and to offer your or your members’ support please click here.
Share the impact coronavirus is having on your organisation
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To make sure you’re acting appropriately, do keep abreast of the guidance and take action on any recommendations and regulations which affect your organisation.