Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 29

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 29

13 May 2020

Remember that you can raise any issues with us and we will try to help.

Workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible. Where work can only be done in the workplace, then businesses in those permitted sectors can re-open, providing they can follow the latest guidance to protect their workforce and customers (see FPC update no. 28 for more details).

These ‘back to work’ guidelines apply to those in essential retail like:

  • supermarkets
  • those in construction and manufacturing
  • those working in labs and research facilities
  • those administering takeaways and deliveries at restaurants and cafes
  • tradesmen, cleaners and others who work in people’s homes
  • those who are facilitating trade or transport goods

In addition, from today garden centres are permitted to re-open in England. This follows their re-opening in Wales on 11 May.

Non-essential retail, restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centres will remain closed.
They will re-open in a phased manner provided it is safe to do so, with the intention for this to happen in phases from 1 June. The Government will issue further guidance shortly on the approach that will be taken to phasing, including which businesses will be covered in each phase and the timeframes involved.

Future restrictions at the UK border (excluding France and Ireland)
More guidance is expected at the end of this week with regard to the quarantine measures for people entering the UK and their implementation. We have been lobbying to ensure that workers in our industry, including seasonal workers; hauliers; and those providing specialist services in the food and drink supply chain will be exempt from the 14 day self-isolation requirement. We will provide more information when it is available.

Job Retention Scheme– next steps
The Coronavirus Job Retention scheme will be extended for four months until the end of October – click HERE.

The scheme will be extended in full until the end of July. After July more flexibility will be introduced to the scheme, allowing employers to move out of it in a measured way that protects people’s incomes and helps support furloughed employees as they return to work. This will run for three months from August through to the end of October. During this period, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part time, contributing more to paying employees’ wages while still receiving support from the scheme.

These measures will continue across all regions and sectors in the UK economy. More detail on this are expected by the end of May.

Updates to scheme guidance and online service
HMRC has made some changes to the guidance and online service following feedback. One change to support customers to submit claims correctly includes adding a save and return option. This allows customers to return to a partially completed claim, rather than having to do it all in one go.

Employers should:

  • Read the guidance (click) before they apply. There’s a step-by-step guide to applying and a calculator.
  • Check their employees are eligible, by looking at the guidance (click) on GOV.UK.
  • Check their calculations each time they submit a claim in case any details have changed.
  • Only submit one claim per period – they can’t submit another claim for overlapping periods. This means that in each claim, they should include all furloughed employees paid during that period.
  • Include all furloughed employees in their claim. If they have missing National Insurance numbers for employees, their employer should try to find them so it doesn’t delay their claim. If an employee doesn’t have a National Insurance number yet, their employer should contact HMRC (click) in order to complete their claim.
  • Double check all the information in the claim before they submit it, including bank details.

HMRC is working on a process to allow employers to amend errors in submitted claims. In the meantime, employers should not amend their next claim to reflect any errors that they may have made in a previous one, as this could delay payment. If HMRC spots an error then, where possible, it will contact employers or their agent to correct the claim.

There are two recorded webinars about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on the YouTube channel (click) which provide an overview of the scheme, and a detailed explanation about how to make a claim.

After a claim for a grant has been submitted through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers should check if they need to report payments (click) on the PAYE Real Time Information system. This will depend on whether they are using the grant to pay wages or to reimburse wages that they have already paid.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
This scheme is now open to applications – click HERE.
If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) check if you're eligible to claim the grant.

New guidance for Tax Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare
HMRC has published new guidance for parents applying for, or already receiving, Tax-Free Childcare and/or 30 Hours Free childcare during the Coronavirus Pandemic – click HERE.

To help make sure critical workers can continue to access the childcare they need to enable them to work, even if their circumstances have changed during coronavirus, some temporary changes have been made.

This guidance explains how the changes may affect parents who are: on furlough; not able to work or are working less; self-employed and critical workers earning more.

Advice about scams
HMRC has launched a radio advert and social media campaign as criminals try to take advantage of the package of measures (click) announced by the Government to support people and businesses affected by coronavirus.

Mimicking government communications, one of the new scams says that it has ‘identified you as a candidate for the Key Worker Rebate’. More than 70 Coronavirus-related financial scams have been detected and HMRC has asked Internet Service Providers to take down over 400 web pages associated with these scams.

Check GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact (click) and how to avoid and report scams (click).

Suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should reported by sending them to: Texts should be sent to 60599.

If you have any issues and queries please contact us.

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