Wheelers Words

Stay up to date with all the latest accounting, tax and company news on our Wheelers Words blog posts.

Jun 1, 2020

Wheelers Words: Latest updates on COVID-19 Support

Over the last week or so we have seen various announcements which have made changes to the support for businesses. We have outlined the main changes below, but it should also be noted that the loan and grant schemes are still in place and remain unchanged for those who are eligible to claim.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

On Friday the Chancellor announced a variety of changes to the scheme which allow for part time working but also a reduction in the amount that can be claimed back by employers.

The changes in amount to reclaim are as follows:

  • From 1st August only 80% of Gross pay (as previously) can be reclaimed, the employer will not be able to claim back employers’ pension and National Insurance contributions
  • From 1st September only 70% of Gross pay can be reclaimed with the employer paying the other 10% and employers’ pension and National Insurance contributions
  • From 1st October this will reduce to 60% of Gross pay, with the employer paying the other 20% and employers’ pension and National Insurance contributions

From 1st July employees can return part time ‘flexible furloughing’, with the employer paying for the worked hours at the normal rate and HMRC paying 80% (reducing from 1st August) of their salary on the furloughed days. In order to qualify they must be on furlough by 10th June (ie 3 weeks before the 1st July). It is essential that letters showing the date of furlough are in place and signed in case of inspection. Further guidance on calculations is expected in the coming weeks.

Additional claim points:

  • Claim periods from 1st July can no longer overlap calendar months.
  • Employers can make a claim for a minimum period of week (more frequent claims will not be allowed)
  • Employers will be asked to report the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period
  • The number of employees an employer can claim for in any claim period cannot exceed the maximum number they have claimed for under any previous claim under the current CJRS.

Covid -19 Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme

HMRC opened the portal for SSP reclaims relating to Covid -19 on Tuesday 26th May. The claim is made in the same way as the Corona Job Virus Retention scheme. After you login there is a separate link to the SSP claim form.

The eligibility for claims has not changed, you can use the scheme as an employer if:

  • You are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • You have a payroll scheme in place before 28 February 2020
  • You have fewer than 250 employees at 28 February 2020.

There is no need to have a doctor note in place but you can ask for the NHS isolation note or NHS/GP letter notifying that the employee is at high risk.

The repayment covers up to 2 weeks SSP, starting from the first day (no waiting days required) if the employee:

  • Has coronavirus symptoms
  • Self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • Has a letter to self-isolate or is at high risk.

The weekly rate is currently £95.85 (£94.25 before 6 April 2020).

Records must be kept for 3 years including the reason the employee was off work.

Self-employed income support scheme extended

The chancellor extended the scheme for self employed people in a similar way to the furlough scheme for employees. Self-employed people affected by the virus are eligible for a second and final payment of up to £6,750 (down from £7,500) in August.

A claim must be made using the personal tax account in the same way as the first one was made. You do not need to have made a claim for the first grant to be eligible for the second one. HMRC make the calculation for you and the eligibility criteria remain the same.

Update from Wheelers

The office is still working from home with all calls to our landline being diverted to a mobile number. In the next couple of weeks, we are starting to take some steps to return some of our staff back to the office and a partial reopening of our reception. Details of this will come in the next few days but we are anticipating that our reception area will be open 9.00 – 1.00 from Monday 8th June.