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01 June 2020

Business Support Updater 1 June 2020


Key Updates Include

*****Wednesday 10 June deadline for registration for furlough of employees not having previously been on furlough for a full three-week period. After this date, employees who have not completed this period in full will not be eligible;

Introduction of tapering in Government contributions to furlough from 1 August;

Introduction of ‘Flexible Furlough’ from 1 July- Initial guidance attached and further guidance expected on 12 June;

Second Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant available from August, with the deadline for those eligible to claim the first grant on 13 July;

Deadline for closure of applications to the NI Micro-Business Hardship Fund Friday 12 June at 6pm;

Online portal to claim back statutory sick pay is live.


Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘Furlough Scheme’)

The UK Government has confirmed that changes are being made to the Furlough Scheme. These changes include an approaching deadline for registering new employees for furlough, the introduction of flexible furlough from 1 July and the tapering of government contributions from 1 August.

Key Deadline - 10 June for Registration for Furlough

There is an imminent deadline which is crucial to the future operation of furlough. The Government will be restricting the scheme to employers already using it and employees who have already been furloughed.

The Scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June, meaning only those employees who have completed a full three-week period of furlough prior to this date will be eligible for the scheme from 1 July onwards. Those who require to use the scheme should note that any employees who have not completed this period have to be furloughed by 10 June at the latest to be eligible to complete the three-week requirement.

Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims for the period up to 30 June. Also, it is important to note that the number of employees an employer can claim for in any claim period under the new arrangements from 1 July cannot exceed the maximum number they have claimed for under any previous claim using the current scheme. Also, claims which overlap calendar months will no longer be permitted from 1 July.

Members should study the available guidance and conditions in full carefully to plan ahead. Members can find the currently available details below:

Government factsheet here,

The Chancellor’s announcement is here

UK Government Guidance on the Scheme is here.


Introduction of Part-Time Furlough

The Government has announced that employers will be able to use the furlough scheme on a flexible basis from 1 July, one month earlier than was anticipated. Early guidance sets out that there will be a minimum period of furlough which must be claimed when operating under this flexible arrangement (one week) and employers should agree the new arrangement with their employees and record confirmation of this in writing. Further detailed guidance on flexible furlough is to be published by the Government on 12 June.

Again, members should carefully consult the guidance available fully:

The Government factsheet here,

The Chancellor’s announcement here

The UK Government guidance page here.


Summary Table of Tapering Arrangements - 1 June to 31 October

The Table below shows the rates available from Government for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work when using flexible furlough after 1 July.

Time Period (Inclusive)

Government Contribution

Employer Contribution

1 June to 31 July

Government to continue to pay 80% of salary up to £2,500, plus Employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

No employer contribution is required for this period.

 

1 August to 31 August

Government to pay 80% of salary up to £2,500.

 

Employer to pay Employer National Insurance and pension contributions

1 September- 30 September

Government to pay 70% of salary up to £2,187.50.

Employers to pay Employer National Insurance and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up the 80% of salary up to cap of £2,500

1 October to 31 October

Government to pay 60% of salary up to a cap of £1,875.

 

Employers to pay Employer National Insurance and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up the total of 80% salary up to cap of £2,500.

 


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (‘SEISS’)

Deadline to Claim the First Grant

The Government has announced that there is a deadline for those applying for the first SEISS grant of 13 July.

Introduction of the Second Grant

The Government has announced those eligible for the Scheme will be able claim a second and final grant. Applications will open in August and will apply the same eligibility criteria. The grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

The Government has set out that an applicant does not need to have claimed the first grant to receive the second grant. For example, the Chancellor’s statement notes the applicant may only have been adversely affected by COVID-19 in this later period. The Government has stated that further guidance on the second grant will be published on Friday 12 June.

Further information is available on the Government Factsheet here, the Chancellor’s announcement here and UK Government guidance here.


Deadline for Applications to Hardship Fund - 12 June

Micro-businesses (employing between 1 and 9 employees) who were not eligible for the £10K Small Business Support Grant Scheme may be eligible for the Hardship Fund.  Applications will close at 6pm on Friday 12 June.

A reminder of the full eligibility criteria and link to the applications portal can be found here.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

As indicated, the online applications portal for claiming back statutory sick pay is now live and can be found here. Government has updated the guidance to allow for a new claims period from 28 May 2020 where an employee has been informed by the NHS or public health authorities they have come into contact with someone with coronavirus. The Government guidance page for the scheme can be found here.  



Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

As indicated in the last Business Updater, members may be interested in the extension of the available loans to £200 million under the scheme and criteria available for the new facilities over £50 million. Further information can be found here.


Further Information

The above information and that contained in the updater of 21 May 20 will be built into an updated ninth edition of the business support information notice, which will be made available in the member’s section of the website. In addition, an updated business support grid featured in the latest edition of the Writ will be made available. The Society will continue to monitor developments and update members on the support measures available. It is important for members also to continue to monitor government guidance and keep pace with developments in the still fast-moving picture on business support.

For any queries in relation to business support, please contact frank.geddis@lawsoc-ni.org



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