Updated 26 May 2020 - Updated return to work guidance, changes to the job retention scheme and statutory sick pay

Introduction

Developments surrounding COVID-19 are changing by the day. While this situation is ongoing, PIPA will provide guidance from its partners and reliable third-party sources as best it can.

Here, we have collated information on the current situation to help those in the industry find what they need to know as easily as possible. This page will continue to be updated.

Click here to see an updated calendar with key dates.

Guidance on returning to work

The UK Government has issued sector specific guidance following a TV address by the Prime Minister on Sunday 10 May. Of that guidance, the following are of most relevance to our industry:

  • Construction and other outdoor work - click here to read more
  • Factories, plants and warehouses - click here to find out more
  • Offices and contact centres - click here to find out more
  • Other people's homes - click here to find out more
  • Vehicles - click here to find out more

The guidance was updated on 25 May 2020. Click here to find out more.

We appreciate that not every home nation is adopting the same principles or time frame.

Insurance advice

GM Imber & Sons has given insurance advice on a live question and answer session with Magic Air Inflatables. Click here to watch the session.

Extension of inspection dates

At this stage PIPA will not be submitting a proposal to the HSE for inspection expiry dates to be extended.

We would urge Operators who have PIPA-tested equipment to contact their IB to discuss organising their inspection(s). If your IB is unable to make the necessary arrangements then you can find another IB here.

Government support hub

A new tool which helps businesses find the support which is most relevant to them has gone live on the Government's website. It tells you what financial support is on offer to your business, how to claim for wages through the job retention scheme and how the self-employed can apply for grants.

The Government says it will update the tool on a regular base to reflect the latest information and support on offer.

Bounce back loans

Small businesses will be eligible for ‘bounce back loans’ worth up to 25% of the company’s turnover, up to a maximum loan of £50,000.

The Government will pay the interest on the loan for the first 12 months and they will also guarantee 100% of the loans.

The loans should reach businesses within 24 hours of approval. Click here for more information.

Self-employed income support scheme

The self-employed support scheme is now open and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by 25th May, or within six working days of completing a claim.

In order to make a claim you will need the following information:

  • Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) - if you do not have this you can find it here
  • National Insurance number
  • Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility online
  • An account number and sort code for the bank account you want the grant paid into

There is further guidance available on how HMRC will calculate payments here.

Business rates holiday

A business rates holiday will be introduced for the retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Further enquiries should be directed to your local authority. You can check your rates and if you are eligible here.

Grants

Any business receiving small business rate relief (SBRR) will automatically get a £10,000 grant (likely to be early April), irrespective of any other criteria.

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will receive a £25,000 grant. Further enquiries should be directed to your local authority.

Time to pay

Businesses can arrange to delay paying taxes by contacting HMRC. Click here for more information.

Statutory sick pay

The online service you’ll use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now live.

Businesses with fewer than 250 members of staff will be refunded the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay (SSP) per employee. The current rate of SSP is £94.25 per week.

This will apply for a period of eight months. Further legislation means SSP will need to be paid from the first day of sickness absence. If homeworking during self-isolation, full pay will need to be maintained.

Click here to find out more.

Furloughed workers

Employers are being encouraged to furlough their employees, rather than lay them off through redundancy, and use the job retention scheme.

On 12 May it was announced that the job retention scheme would be extended until the end of October. The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July before changes are made from the start of August. You can find out more here.

To claim, employers must send information to HMRC about employees that have been furloughed, and their earnings, through a new online portal which went live on 20 April. You can access the portal here.

On 20 May 2020, the Government's Treasury Department issued a revised Direction to HMRC instructing them on how to interpret and apply the rules of the scheme. A few important changes have been made and you can find out more here.

Loans

Loans of up to £5 million for small and medium enterprises are available to UK businesses which have an annual turnover of less than £45 million.

The scheme is open to applications via major banks now. On 2 April, the Government announced changes to the scheme which means government-backed loans will not longer be limited to small businesses which have been refused a commercial loan from their bank. However, no limit has been put on the interest rates banks can charge for loans.

Furthermore, banks are now banned from asking business owners to guarantee loans with their own savings or property when borrowing up to £250,000.

VAT

If you’re a UK VAT registered business and have a payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you can defer the payment until a later date or pay it as usual. You must still submit your VAT return.

If you decide to defer your payment you have until 31 March 2021 to pay, but you do not need to tell HMRC that you are deferring payment. However, if you pay by direct debit, make sure you contact your bank to cancel your payment. More information is available here.

HMRC has also set-up a phoneline to support businesses during this time. Call 08000 241222 between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

© 2020 PIPA