COVID Update

We are continuing to be faced with the difficulties of the pandemic and support is constantly being reviewed and extended. Below we have identified some of the recent updates however, many of the other support schemes which have been available throughout the pandemic have been updated and extended.

Self Employed Income Support Scheme

We have already been made aware that the self-employment income support will have a fourth grant opening in March which will cover the months of February to April and can be applied for in the same way as you have done for the previous grants. Although the grant does not need to be repaid if you are eligible, it will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance and must be reported on your 2020/21 self-assessment tax return.

Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was previously expected to cease and be replaced by the Job Support Scheme however it has now been extended until 30 April 2021. You can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020 providing you were making PAYE RTI Submissions to HMRC, even if you had not previously submitted a claim in a previous period.

You can claim for 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. As before, the employer is required to pay for employer National Insurance Contributions and pension costs. Employees can be flexi-furloughed, where you are able to offer them work for a proportion of their usual hours and for the hours not worked, they would be eligible for furlough. Alternatively, employees can be fully furloughed in which case they cannot undertake any work for you until their furlough ends.

Statutory Sick Pay for COVID-19

If your employee is unable to work due to coronavirus, they are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in the following circumstances:

  • They are self-isolating due to:
    • They or someone they live with has symptoms or has tested positive
    • Having been notified by NHS that they have been in contact with someone with coronavirus
    • Someone in their support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive
    • Being advised by a healthcare professional to self-isolate before going to hospital
  • Living or working in an area with restrictions in place
  • They have been advised to shield

However, employees are not eligible for SSP if they are self-isolating after entering/returning to the UK.

The day on which SSP will begin will be dependent on the reason for which your employee is unable to work and the number of days which they are required to isolate or unable to work. SSP is currently payable at a rate of £95.85 per week which, under normal circumstances, is not reclaimable from HMRC however HMRC have made an allowance that employers can reclaim up to two weeks of SSP per employee if it is coronavirus related.

If you have an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 the important message is to ensure that NHS Track and Trace have been informed. They will notify any employees/contacts who are required to self-isolate but otherwise other employees should remain working unless they are required to self-isolate for another reason.

If you feel that you should be eligible for some support through this period, please do get in contact.

Written by Alice Chapple ACCA ACIPP

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