COVID-19 UDATE

30/06/2020
  • Job Retention Scheme- Furloughed Employees
  • Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
  • Statutory Sick Pay Claims Due to Coronavirus

Hi All, in these trying and uncertain times it is good to know the government are helping us to get through it with the various schemes they have in place.

There are three schemes that are helping us get through it and keep our businesses running and I will give a brief overview of each one-

Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

For claims starting on or after 1 August, employers will no longer be able to claim a grant for the statutory minimum automatic enrolment employer contributions – from this date, they will need to pay for their own pension contributions and National Insurance contributions for all staff. Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will still be able to claim the lower of 80% of staff wages or £2,500 a month, reducing to the lower of 70% or £2,187.50 a month in September and the lower of 60% or £1,875 in October, with the scheme closing on 31st October.

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The scheme currently allows you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total. If you’re eligible and your business has been adversely affected you must make your claim for the first grant on or before 13 July 2020.

This scheme is being extended. If you’re eligible for the second and final grant, and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020 you’ll be able to make a claim in August 2020. You can claim for the second grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. 

How the grant works

If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.

The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.

HMRC will work out if you are eligible and how much grant you may get.

Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Who can use the scheme?  You can use the scheme as an employer if:

  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:

  • an isolation note from NHS 111 - if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • the NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends)

We will let you know when the scheme will end.

What you can claim

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks SSP starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have coronavirus symptoms
  • are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks

From 8 June 2020, the majority of people entering or returning to the UK will be required to quarantine for 14 days. If an employee is unable to work during this period, they will not qualify for SSP unless they also meet one of the above criteria.

You can make more than one claim per employee, but you cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total.

You can claim from the first qualifying day your employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after:

  • 13 March 2020 - if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • 16 April 2020 - if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus
  • 28 May 2020 - if your employee has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus

A ‘qualifying day’ is a day an employee usually works on. The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

Use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay your employees. You can only claim back 2 weeks of SSP.

Records you must keep

You must keep records of SSP that you’ve paid and want to claim back from HMRC. You must keep the following records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment for your claim:

  • the dates the employee was off sick
  • which of those dates were qualifying days
  • the reason they said they were off work - if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms or they were shielding
  • the employee’s National Insurance number

You can choose how you keep records of your employees’ sickness absence. HMRC may need to see these records if there’s a dispute over payment of SSP.

You’ll need to print or save your state aid declaration (from your claim summary) and keep this until 31 December 2024.

if you are unsure what to do next and need advice please contact us on 01485 534948 or email at james@jamesjohnsonltd.co.uk or book an free consultation through our website.

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