The government continues to announce and modify a range of measures designed to help businesses and individuals adversely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. On 20 May the government launched its Future Fund package, which aims to support start-up businesses not eligible for other COVID-19 rescue measures.
Meanwhile, temporary changes have been made to the Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme as a result of the pandemic. The changes affect individuals who are on furlough; those unable to work or who are working less as a result of the lockdown; individuals who are self-employed; and those deemed to be an essential worker.
Government launches Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
On 26 May the government launched its Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, which allows employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rebate scheme was initially announced at the 2020 Budget as part of a package of support measures designed to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. It will allow small and medium-sized employers to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.
Employers are eligible if they have a Pay as You Earn (PAYE) payroll scheme that was created and started before 28 February 2020 and they had fewer than 250 employees before the same date. The repayment will cover up to two weeks of SSP and is payable if an employee is unable to work because they have COVID-19 or if they are self-isolating.
Employers will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. More information on the rebate scheme can be found here.
Meanwhile, the government increased the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) from £50 million to £200 million. The loans are available to large businesses affected by COVID-19 from 26 May.
Additionally, on 13 May Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of October. Mr Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500. However, the Chancellor said companies will need to start sharing the cost of the scheme from August.
We understand that this is an ever-changing situation, and we will endeavour to keep you up to date on the latest announcements.
Government makes temporary changes to Tax-Free Childcare scheme
The government has made temporary changes to its TFC scheme as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The temporary changes to the eligibility criteria for TFC and the 30 hours free childcare scheme are designed to help families during the COVID-19 lockdown. The changes affect individuals who are on furlough; those unable to work or who are working less as a result of the lockdown; individuals who are self-employed; and those deemed to be an essential worker.
Workers who have been furloughed are advised to apply for TFC (or reconfirm if they already have a childcare account) if their wage is at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 16 hours a week and below the normal minimum income requirement, but they would normally expect to meet the income requirement.
Those who are unable to work or who are working less should apply if they're getting sick pay or SSP; taking unpaid leave to care for others, such as children; or if they're living with someone with COVID-19.
The self-employed should apply if they are continuing to work and their earnings are above the minimum earnings requirement; not able to get work because of COVID-19; and if they're not eligible for self-employed income support but would expect to earn at least the minimum income requirement.
Essential workers who have missed the 31 March reconfirmation or application deadline for 30 hours free childcare should apply or reconfirm if they already have a childcare account