We’ve received this useful round-up from the Office for Product Safety and Standards (part of the Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy department) team. It says:

Among the measures announced by the Chancellor to support businesses are:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Government has published guidance for businesses and workers on how to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

Guidance for Employers – www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Guidance for Employees – www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

The Government has published guidance for businesses subject to further social distancing measures, including the list of businesses and other venues that must close, and guidance for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

The government is calling for:

  • New technology to support people who are isolating – £500,000 of funding is available for technology companies who come up with digital support solutions for people who need to stay at home because of coronavirus. For more information visit techforce19.uk.
  • Ventilator supply – the government is looking for businesses who can support the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the UK. Specification of the minimally clinically acceptable ventilator is now available.

We welcome information from businesses on impacts across supply, demand and labour markets, actions to address these impacts, and any gaps in the government response from your perspective. Please send your intelligence to intel@beis.gov.uk. We are aware that individual company information may be commercially sensitive, and it will be treated accordingly.

ACAS is working closely with Government Departments and other partners to provide advice and support for employers and employees on the challenges surrounding CV19.

Acas’ practical information on coronavirus is reviewed daily to give access to the most recent updates and common-sense advice. It contains detailed info on social distancing and vulnerable workers, updates on working from home, school closures, mental health, lay-offs and short-time working, as well as advice for employers who have to close workplaces temporarily.

In addition to the daily updates, we also have some additional live support designed to help your people at this difficult time.

Live Twitter Q&A session – every Friday 10.30am. You can see last week’s live Q&A here.
If you have questions or concerns about time off work, pay, remote working and what steps you can take to reduce the spread of the virus, join Acas experts this Friday to chat live on Twitter.  Send your questions in advance to @acasorguk #AskAcas.

Coronavirus webinar for employers – Multiple dates are available. Register here to attend. This free webinar will provide practical advice for employers to help manage the impact of Coronavirus in the workplace. It includes advice on effective ways of communicating with employees; how to handle staff self-isolating, time off, and pay; how to alter working hours or close businesses temporarily; and best practice guidance on remote working and the use of technology.

Finally, to help get personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser to NHS staff as quickly as possible, Business Secretary Alok Sharma is easing administrative requirements and barriers to imports of these essential products, without compromising on their safety. If any business has queries around approvals for PPE equipment, like face masks/gowns/visors etc, this forms part of the conformity assessment process and you should speak to the relevant notified body.