Business Update 11 covers the following:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Revised
- Self Employment Income Support Scheme
- Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
- Increased Risk of Fraud
- Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans
- Working from Home
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Revised
Changes to the CJRS will apply a month earlier than expected effective 1 July. The underlying intention is to support businesses to start sending staff back to work - in particular by introducing some flexibility by allowing part-time working. Further details are expected around 12 June but here is a summary of what we know at the moment:
- Employers will only be able to claim going forward if they have previously claimed under the pre 1 July scheme (CJRS V1).
- Employees must have been furloughed under the current scheme to be eligible to be included in a claim under the revised scheme CJRS V2. This means that any new period of furlough (minimum 3 week period) must have started by 10 June to be complete when the current scheme ends on 30 June and so ensure that the employee remains eligible from 1 July.
- For July, the CJRS grant will be available on the same basis as now being the lesser of 80% of pay and £2,500 per furloughed employee.
- From 1 August onwards, the scheme will no longer cover the cost of employers’ National Insurance or pension contributions.
- The government’s contribution to the scheme will then be as follows:
- August - the CJRS will pay 80% of wages
- September - the CJRS will pay 70% of wages
- October - the CJRS will pay 60% of wages
- November onwards - the CJRS will end with effect from 31.10.20.
- Part-time working
- Employees who were previously furloughed will be able to return to work on a part-time basis.
- Employers will be required to pay the cost in respect of the time that the employee is working. Any grant payment will be restricted by reference to the cost of the furloughed hours.
- Employers will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in the claim period in order to calculate the amount of the grant.
- A new minimum reporting period of 1 week will apply from 1 August.
- There will be a maximum limit on the number of staff who can be included in a claim. This will be based on the maximum staff ever included in a single claim under CJRS V1.
Self Employment Income Support Scheme
The SEISS has been extended to cover a second period, June to August.
The second grant covers 70% of trading profits up a maximum of £6,750 over a 3 month period (previously 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 over a 3 month period).
Applications for the second grant will be made in August. Applications for the first grant close on 13 July.
Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme. Click Here for additional details.
Increased Risk of Fraud
Rather depressingly there are some that are seeking to use COVID-19 as an opportunity to expand their range of criminal activity. The ICAEW have recently published a list of examples including:
- An increase in the number of new companies registered on Companies House with either COVID-19 or Coronavirus in the title.
- Individuals impersonating the government, or HMRC, notifying the victim that they were due a rebate and requesting bank details to enable the payment.
- Targeting the elderly. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau have received over 500 reports with approx. losses of £1.6m.
- Using scare-tactics to pressurise investors to move their investments.
- Bogus companies purporting to sell faces masks, hand sanitiser and other PPE but once the payment is made, the company disappears.
- On-line fraudsters sending phishing emails targeting unsuspecting businesses claiming to be from HMRC chief executive, Jim Harra.
- Fraudsters impersonating high street banks to persuade their victims to transfer funds to a new account following a ‘security breach’ and a change to normal procedures as a result of COVID-19.
- Bogus emails asking for a donation to tackle COVID-19, normally pretending to be from a charity assisting vulnerable people during the outbreak.
No doubt there will be other variations on these themes. Please be extra vigilant.
Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans
In our experience the process for applying for a bounce back loan is relatively straightforward. As at 24 May, 608,069 bounce back loan facilities (out of 769,137 applications) had been approved according to published government figures.
The scheme is being administered by the British Business Bank and is currently open until 4 November. Click Here for their website.
Please contact us if you would to discuss this or the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) in the context of your own specific circumstances.
Working from Home
Further to the recent announcements by the Prime Minister, our good friends at The Legal Partners have prepared a very useful Homeworking Pack containing guidance for employers who will be extending the period during which their employees will continue to be working from home. Click here to access it.