We have collated information, support, and guidance to help manage the impact of COVID-19 for your business and your employees.
The NI Executive published its 5 Step ‘Roadmap to Recovery‘which will allow us all to understand the measures and checks needed prior to a relaxation of current legislation.
You can stay up to to date with government and national health service information at the links below:
- UK Gov’t Advice for NI Employers
- UK Gov’t Guidance
- Public Health Agency
- Health and Safety Executive
- Cyber Security
Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity management will help you identify those parts of your organisation you can’t afford to lose, and plan how to maintain them when incidents occur.
The Gov.uk toolkit will help you prepare a plan you can tailor to suit your business.
Business Continuity Resources
- Information on managing a remote team
- Willis & Co Risk Assessment Template
- Willis & Co HR Guide Return to Work
- Cashflow Support Guide
Industry specific updates
Hospitality & Tourism
For Business: Loans, Grants & Rebates
Any employer will be eligible to get grant for those who are furloughed to keep them on.
- Up to 80% of wages up to £2,500 threshold per month.
- Back dated to 1st March and will be open until 31st October 2020
- Part-Time flexible furlough will be implemented to support busineses reopening (info here)
Furlough advice from Labour Relations Agency
Business Support Grant Scheme
Small Business Support Grant of £10,000 will be provided to all small businesses who are eligible in the folowing criteria.
- Rental properties or NAV under £1,590 and below
- NAV £14,999 and below
Tourism, Retail and Hospitality Grants of £25,000 will be made available for busineses with a NAV between £15,000 up to £51,000
NI Micro-business Hardship Fund has been established to support around 40,000 buisneses across Northern Ireland who are currently unable to avail of the £10k and £25k Grant schemes.
- Hardship Fund grant will be up to £10,000 for businesses which pay business rates on premises and up to £5,000 for those that do not pay business rates
- To be eligible, businesses must have experienced a reduction in turnover in excess of 40% since March 1, 2020 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic or associated government restrictions
An online eligbility checker can be found here
Small and Micro Business ‘Bounceback’ Loans
A 100% government backed loan scheme for small business.
- Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
- loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- The scheme has been extended so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19
- Useful Video for filling in the paperwork can be found here
- Full list of CBIL Scheme providers can be found here
Rent / Landlord Arrangements
Ban on eviction for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.
- Commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction
- Measures support ongoing conversations between landlords and tenants about voluntary arrangements
- Latest measure builds on the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced
For Business: Filing, Tax & Rates
The Government will will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
HMRC TAX HELPLINE
HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC on 08000 0159 559
For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:
- agreeing an installment arrangement
- suspending debt collection proceedings
- cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
The helpline number is 0800 0159 559
If Covid-19 has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension. This must be done before the filing deadline.
Companies that have already extended their filing deadline, or shortened their accounting reference period, may not be eligible for an extension.
NI wide measures have been implemented for a Rates ‘holiday between April-July across all business sectors.
Targeted 100% Rate Relief has now been implmented until March 31st 2021 for Tourism, Hospitality and Retail businesses
Read the full info here
Still missing out ?
- Hardship Rate Relief is there for those most in need.
- Payment Plans are available with Land & Property Services
Freelancers & Self Employed
A big question mark remains over the self-employed. Whilst a best fit scenario was never going to be achieved; the chancellor has brought in some measures with regards uplifting Universal Credit and access to Universal credit.
- Self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
- Self-Assessment payments deferred until Jan 2021
- Remove the minimum floor – thus allowing access to SSP through U/C
- Increase U/C £1000/annum
- Increase working tax credits £100/annum
Are you eligible ? Find out here
The Universal Credit standard allowance will increase by£1,000 a year for the next 12 month.
If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit and/or New Style Employment & Support Allowance.
Anyone self-isolating who is self-employed can apply for Universal Credit or new-style Employment & Support Allowance.
You can also apply for these if you are prevented from working because of a risk to public health.
If you are in a crisis situation you can apply for financial help by contacting the Department’s Finance Support service on 0800 587 2750 (Freephone) or 0800 587 2751 (textphone for customers with hearing difficulties).
If claiming Universal Credit you can also apply for a Universal Credit Contingency Fund grant by contacting the Finance Support service and choosing option 2.
It looks like the UK will be dealing with coronavirus for a lot of this year and there’s still a lot of uncertainty about where we’ll end up. The more you can do now to plan ahead will save you time and energy – and importantly, money– when you might not be feeling at your best.
Other useful information and contacts:
- Government advice for employees
- AdviceNI Benefits Helpline: 0808 802 0020
- Money/Debt Helpline: 0800 028 1881
- Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
- Lunchtime Learning – CQ BIDs Digital marketing talks covering everything from social media, blogging, and SEO; to Google analytics and Mailchimp
- The Skills Toolkit – Digital and numeracy skills are amongst those that are most sought after by employers, and can help you progress in work and boost your job prospects
- Training Matchmaker – A collated list of free online courses
- The Open University – A diverse range of courses and modules for you to upskill
- Facebook Business HUB – Facebook has unveiled a hefty range of mastering FB for your business
- MOZ Academy – 30 days free online marketing courses : use the code “wegotthis” at the checkout.
- Google Marketing Platform – Marketing 101
- Google Digital Garage – dip your toes into upskilling and learning something new
- Google Ads for Small Business – ad credits for Small & Medium size businesses
- Eximo Academics – join CQ Lunchtime Learning host Andi Jarvis in his network of all things marketing and daily updates…