Furlough Scheme Extension and other Support

Coronavirus, Payroll, Sole Trader,

Following on from yesterday’s quick video, here are the details around the extension to the Furlough Scheme, and other support that was announced on Saturday.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Also known as the Furlough Scheme, this has been extended until December, as follows:

  • The grant will revert to the August levels, with the Government covering the costs of 80% of the salary that employees do not work, up to a maximum of £2,500.
  • Employers will need to pay the National Insurance contributions and pension contributions that apply to the hours the employee is not working.
  • Businesses will be able to claim in advance of making payments to employees, although there will be a short period where that won’t be possible while the system is amended. Once that has been completed, claims can be made in advance of payments to employees, as previously.
  • Flexible furloughing, as well as full time furloughing of staff is possible.
  • Employees must have been included on an RTI submission to HMRC prior to midnight on the 30th October 2020 to qualify for the scheme. They can be on any type of contract. As before, the amended working arrangements must be agreed between employer and employer. Claims will need to be for a minimum period of seven days. Employers can top-up employee salary if they choose to do so.

The Job Support Scheme, originally due to start on the 1st November, will be suspended until the Furlough Scheme ends.

Business Grants

These will be available for businesses in England that are forced to close either by local or national restrictions. Different rules will apply in the Devolved constituencies.

Grants are calculated for each 2 week period you remain closed, and are based on rateable value as follows:

    • up to £15,000 the grant is £667 every 2 weeks
    • between £15,001 and £50,999 £1,000 every 2 weeks
    • above £51,000 should receive a grant of £1,500 every 2 weeks

Mortgage Holidays

As we mentioned previously, these were due to end on the 31st October 2020.

  • If you have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday, you can apply for a six month holiday.
  • If you have already started a mortgage payment holiday you will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on your credit file.

The FCA will announce further information in due course. Contact your mortgage provider to find out more or to apply.

Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

As part of the Winter Plan, two additional grants were announced. The first, being the third overall, was to be 40% of profits for the 3 months and to apply to the period from 1st November, with a fourth grant to follow for an unannounced amount.

We’re hopeful that there may be more news to come on this, given that the Furlough Scheme has been extended, and the SEISS scheme was designed to provide a similar level of support for the self employed to those in employment.

As soon as we hear anything, we’ll let you know.

 

As ever, we’re here to provide as much support as we can to our clients. As any circumstances change, there is always going to be confusion, frustration and disappointment. It’s a natural human reaction but you need to put that aside and there are some things you can do:

  1. Check that you have your cash flow under control. Update your model looking forwards to see what that looks like through the new lockdown period and beyond.
  2. Think back to the first lockdown, earlier in the year. We discussed using that as a plan in advance of any second national or local lockdown. If you did that, then you’re ahead of the curve on a plan to learn from that earlier experience and apply the lessons this time.
  3. Communicate with your customers. Let them know if you’re closing, or what will be different during the lockdown period. Tell them how you can help them. Use any methods you can to keep in touch with helpful content that may help them, or support them. If you can’t help them during lockdown, make plans as to how you can do so once you can reopen. It’s a much shorter period this time, but it’s still vital to maintain the relationships that you have in place so that you can come out of lockdown in a strong position.

If we can help at all, please get in touch. In the meantime, we’ll keep you updated with any further guidance that comes out.

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