Covid-19 Information

HERE TO HELP

We will do all we can to help you get through these challenging times.

Below you can access the latest Coronnoavirus-related news and updates which are relevant to employment agencies and our contractor community.

Accessing financial support

Whilst health and wellbeing are the priorities for us all right now, concerns about the financial impact of Coronavirus are, understandably, never far away.

Measures designed to combat the spread of the disease have financial consequences for us all.  As a result, the Government has introduced a series of measures to help business owners, contractors and self-employed people through this difficult period.  Here, we summarise what help is available and how you can access it.

Limited company (PSC) contractors

The Government has announced a package of measures designed to support limited companies and to reduce the need for redundancies.  However, help for directors of limited companies, including PSC contractors, is relatively restricted.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows directors to furlough themselves and receive a grant of 80% of the salary element of their pay. Importantly, this does not include dividends or bonuses which usually make up the majority of a director’s remuneration.

The grant is subject to tax and National Insurance, but the Employers’ National Insurance and Employers’ Pension Contribution can be claimed back.

Get help with cashflow

There are a number of financial support measures in place which limited company/PSC contractors can access.  These include the deferral of payments for VAT as well as self-assessment payments on account.

What does it mean to be furloughed?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme aims to help employers avoid the need to make their staff redundant by offering temporary leave, also known as ‘furloughing’.

When you’re furloughed, the Government will make a grant to cover 80% of your usual monthly wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.  The grant is subject to tax and National Insurance in the usual way, though the Employers’ National Insurance and any mandatory employers’ pension contribution elements can also be claimed back, if applicable.

The minimum furlough period is three consecutive weeks, though you can be furloughed several times whilst the scheme is available.  Whilst furloughed, you are not allowed to undertake any work or revenue-generating activity.

Help for Umbrella workers

We are pleased to report we are now able to make furlough payments of 80% of full average gross pay to umbrella employees (subject to the scheme cap of £2,500 per month).

 We are well aware of the importance of this issue to our umbrella customers and have acted as quickly as possible following clarification from HMRC on the rules relating to umbrella furlough payments.

We have put in place a straight-forward application process for people whose roles have been furloughed as a direct result of Coronavirus.  The deadline for initial claims covering March and April is 22nd May 2020 and continuing furlough eligibility will be checked monthly thereafter.

Please note that the Government’s rules mean that CJRS payments can be made to employees who were on our PAYE payroll and who had been paid by us on or before 19th March 2020.  As the job retention scheme has been put in place for those employees that are temporarily unable to work as a result of Coronavirus, you will need to provide details showing that you were on an assignment that was suspended or terminated as a result of Coronavirus.

Public sector organisations that use umbrella contractors have been issued with guidance from Government that says they can continue to process payments for contractors who are temporarily unable to work as a result of Coronavirus, as opposed to  using the job retention scheme.

 

Help for the self-employed

Help for self-employed people is available through the Self-employed Income Protection Scheme. It allows you to claim a grant equal to 80% of average self-employed profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month and is open to those with average profits of £50k or less.

To qualify, you must have filed a 2018/19 tax return – if you haven’t already done so you now have until April 23rd 2020.

There are also initiatives in place to ease cashflow, such as deferral your next self-assessment payment on account (which would be due in July).

SUMMARY OF ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PACKAGES

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Gives SMES accesss to immediate short-term overdraft or lending from a range of accredited banks and finance companies.  Only eligible to UK-based businesses with a turnover of less than £45million and will support loans of up to £5million.  Loans over £250k will need a personal guarantee but the Government will contribute 80% against this.

VAT payments deferred

Open to all UK businesses, any payment due for VAT between the period 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020 can be deferred until 31st March 2021. 

Deferrment of Self-Assessment payment on account

The second payment on account that would normally be due for payment by 31st July 2020 can be delayed until 31st January 2021. 

Business rates holiday

Business rates holidays are available for any business operating in the retail, leisure or hospitaliity sectors for the whole of the 2020/21 tax year.  Rate relief is applied automatically by the local council

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure

Cash grants are available for those businesses that operate in the Retail, Hospitality or Leisure sector.  Up to £25,000 is payable per property and £10,000 is available where the rateable value is less than £15,000. 

Increase to Universal Credit

Universal Credit has been increased for 12 months to help people on low incomes, or those who have no income as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

HOW WE ARE ENSURING BUSINESS-AS-USUAL

We believe the best way to support our contractors and agency partners is to ensure our service continues to operate as normally as possible.

Our teams are primarily based from home, in line with Government guidelines, but our services are operating as usual. We have increased capacity to ensure we can handle a higher volume of calls so you can be assured we continue to be available to you from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 12 noon on Saturdays.

We appreciate that the financial impact of Coronavirus will vary, so if you would like further information about any of the Government’s schemes, or to discuss your particular circumstances, please do get in touch with us.

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