As the global Covid-19 pandemic advances and Government advisories are released daily we here at Kershen Fairfax Ltd want to reassure you that whilst these are serious and worrying times we are here to support you. We believe this message is a little different from the other messages you have read recently from large corporations, in as much as, you know us personally and we know you. So as individuals and a small business ourselves we truly understand the concerns you currently have. We are here to offer advice, perspective and positivity to get us through these difficult times and out the other side.
An integral part of our business is to have contingency plans in place and these have now been actioned to ensure that we will continue to provide you with the level of service you expect from us at all times, and especially now.
In addition to the services we provide to you we have taken steps to safeguard the welfare of our staff and with effect from today they are working remotely with full access to our network and switchboard. Should you wish to send any paperwork it will be dealt with on a daily basis, however, we strongly urge you to e-mail papers and information and to settle our fees via online banking rather than sending cheques wherever possible.
We have cancelled all planned face to face meetings and instead will be offering conference calls and Skype meetings in their place.
Many of you have been raising similar questions with us. Accordingly, please see below information with our current advice related to these queries and generally based on current advisories and information available as of today.
If you have any queries then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Government advice for businesses and employers
- Employees who follow advice to stay at home and who cannot work as a result are entitled to SSP (even if they are not sick themselves). Medical evidence is not needed for the first 7 days, after which time employers may use their discretion as to the evidence they require if the employee is remaining at home. Employers are being strongly encouraged to use their discretion at this time.
- If an employee needs time off to care for someone, they are entitled to take such time off, if they are caring for a child or dependant. There is no statutory right to pay for this absence, but employers may offer pay depending on contracts or workplace policy.
- Sick pay is payable from Day 1 as the three-day waiting period will be removed.
- Sick pay refund for small employers (less than 250 employees) will be available covering up to two weeks SSP for each eligible employee. The repayment mechanism will be set up in the coming months, this refund is therefore not immediately available.
- Those not eligible for sick pay including those earning less than £118 per week or self-employed are able to claim Universal Credit and other State benefits may become available.
- If you operate in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors (all businesses) there will be a rates holiday for 2020/21.
- If you operate in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors (small businesses operating from premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000) a grant of £25,000 will be provided. This is intended to help with the cost of business disruption and payment of rent.
- If you are already receiving Small Business Rate Relief (rateable value less than £15,000 – all businesses) a grant of £10,000 will be provided.
- Local authorities will be dealing with this automatically from 20th March 2020 and will contact you directly.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- All small and medium sized businesses (turnover less than £41m) will be able to apply, but there are eligibility criteria.
- The Scheme is being administered by the British Business Bank and loan facilities will range from £1,000 to £1.2m with repayment terms between three months and ten years.
- The first six months of the loan will be interest free.
- The Scheme is expected to be available from the 23rd March 2020.
Tax payments to HMRC
- There is a dedicated helpline to call if you wish to discuss payment difficulties. Whilst the helpline has been set up especially in response to the coronavirus there are no special payment plans in place at this time. Any negotiations would follow and need to adhere to the current “Time to Pay” arrangements.
Filings with Companies House
- There are currently no changes to the statutory deadlines for filing documents with Companies House.
- As has always been the case an application can be made to extend the period for filing annual accounts, but your appeal must meet the “unplanned events” criteria.
Filings with HMRC
- There are currently no changes to the deadlines for PAYE, VAT and Corporation Tax Returns. In the event of being unable to meet the deadlines, it is recommended that HMRC are contacted before the due date and advised of the situation and the circumstances.