COVID-19/Coronavirus Updates and Resources
Business Support and Guidance
The UK Government announced a package of temporary measures to support business, households, and self-employed workers. This includes:
- a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments
- a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses
- 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
Update January 2021:
- Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000, after the Government’s announcement that these businesses will be closed until at least February 2021 in order to help control the virus.
- A £594 million discretionary fund was also made available to support other impacted businesses.
- More information is available here.
Below you can find detailed information on what these packages contain, eligibility, and how to apply:
- Guidance for Employees, including:
- Information on Statutory Sick Pay, being furloughed, claiming Universal Credit, or support for rent costs
- Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed to support key industries during COVID-19
- Guidance for Business, including:
- VAT deferral for payments due up to 30 June
- The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate will allow SMEs to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay paid for absence due to COVID-19
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, through which all UK employers with PAYE will be able to access support to continue paying their employees’ salary.
- The official portal to claim wages through the Job Retention Scheme is now online here.
- From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time, while still being able to claim CJRS grants for the hours not worked.
- Click here for details about what you will need to apply and official guidance on the process.
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will help businesses access bank lending and overdrafts. For loans up to £5 million, the Government is providing a guarantee for each loan.
- The Covid Corporate Financing Facility will help larger companies by providing working capital to pay short term liabilities such as suppliers and wages.
- The Coronavirus Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The scheme is due to launch in May.
- Innovate UK grants for developing innovative tools to improve resilience for critical industries
- Business Support Campaign: Coronavirus Emergency measures to support your business and protect jobs
The US Government introduced sweeping legislation to combat the economic damage from the pandemic and support citizens, businesses, hospitals, and more. The CARES Act authorised more than $2 trillion to this effect, which includes:
- Grants of up to $10,000 for emergency funding to cover immediate costs
- Loans of up to $10 million per business through the Small Business Authority (SBA)
- Six months of payments covered for small businesses already using SBA loans
- Deferral of the employer portion of payments of certain payroll taxes
- Modification of Net Operating Loss deductions
- Business Interest Deduction increased from 30% to 50%
Below you can find information on how to access these funds, as well as further guidance.
- Kaiser Family Foundation Dashboard: State data and policy actions to address Coronavirus
- This regularly-updated data tool provides state-level information on social distancing measures adopted, health policy actions, tester and provider capacity, cases, and more.
The UK Government has made a commitment to deliver 100.000 COVID-19 tests a day by the end of April. For this purpose, it has put out guidance on what is needed and how companies can support, available here.
VAT payments will be deferred for 3 months, until the 30th of June 2020. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period.
Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st. The scheme will be open for claim submissions in the week commencing 20 April and will remain open until October. The employer can choose to fund the differences between the grant and an employee’s salary but does not have to. More information on the Job Retention Scheme is available here.
On Thursday 23rd April 2020, HM Revenue and Customs updated its guidance directed to both employers and employees on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Hudson McKenzie have provided more information for employers and employees here.
Employers have until 10 June to furlough an employee for the first time, as the Job Retention Scheme will be closed to new entrants from 30 June.
This scheme enables SMEs to apply for a loan, up to £5m, with the government providing a guarantee of 80% on each loan and with no interest due for the first twelve months. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank. CBILS is now open for applications. A quick eligibility checklist is available here, and a step by step guide on how to apply is available here.
The UK government is temporarily increasing the Business Rates discount to all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England to 100% for 2020-21, irrespective of rateable value. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible. The temporary discount will automatically apply to your next bill in April 2020. For more information on eligibility, click here.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can be reclaimed for sickness absence due to COVID-19 and is payable from day one of sickness absence. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020. Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19. More information available here.
On Monday 27th April 2020, HM Revenue & Customs published guidance documents for employers on how to calculate employees’ statutory pay for specific employees who have recently been furloughed.
The following employees will now be paid based on their usual earnings, not the furlough rate:
- Workers taking paid maternity leave
- Workers taking paid paternity leave
- Workers taking paid shared parental leave
- Workers taking paid adoption leave
- Workers taking paid parental bereavement leave
Further information and key points to consider available via Hudson McKenzie – here.
The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses, and established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak.
- The Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.
- EIDL Loan Advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.
- SBA Express Bridge Loans enable small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
- SBA Debt Relief will provide a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Paycheck Protection Program is available to all companies with majority operations in the US. If one or more of your company’s owners is not a US citizen or domiciled in the US, the company still qualifies. More information on the PPP is available here.
On Wednesday 29th April 2020, the Home Secretary Priti Patel notified the public that visa extensions will automatically be conferred on overseas front-line health and care workers.
Who is eligible for a visa extension?
Frontline workers with visas due to expire prior to 1st October 2020 will qualify to receive an automatic 1-year extension to their visa stay.
Front line workers who are eligible include midwives, radiographers, social workers, pharmacists, those working in the NHS and the independent sector. This will also apply to their families.
When does this policy come into effect?
This announcement will be effective immediately and applies to all visas which expire between 31st March 2020 and 1st October 2020.
More information is available through our friends at Hudson McKenzie – click here.
UPDATE: The UK Government has announced new rules in place for entering or returning to the UK, beginning with 8 June. From that date, inbound travellers will:
- need to provide journey and contact details upon arrival.
- be required to self-isolate for the first 14 days in the UK.
More official guidance is available here.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people travelling abroad to return to the UK now, if commercial flights are still available. This advice was published on 23 March and takes effect immediately.
International travel is becoming very limited as air routes close, land borders close and new restrictions are put in place that prevent flights from leaving.
If you are already abroad, or are planning essential travel – make sure you read the US Department of State’s Foreign Travel Advisories
- Travel to the United States from the United Kingdom is currently not possible for most British citizens, due to a restriction imposed by the US Government. You can check the entry requirements for the US here.
- US citizens and permanent resident of the USA, their close family members and certain other limited categories of visas holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt and will still be able to enter the USA, subject to normal entry requirements. They are advised to self-quarantine for 2 weeks.
- the US Government will not permit entry to the USA of any non-US nationals, including British nationals, who have visited (or are resident in) the Schengen Area countries 14 days or less prior to their travel to the USA.
If you are a US Citizen currently in the UK:
The U.S. Mission to the United Kingdom has suspended routine consular services. For emergency American Citizens Services, including emergency passports, please visit our website for additional information at https://uk.usembassy.gov/.
In addition, on the 22 June 2020, a new US executive order imposed immigration restrictions, suspending the distribution of temporary worker visas up to 31 December 2020. This applies to individuals on H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1, and L-2 visas who are currently outside the US and do not have the visa stamp to re-enter the country.
The transatlantic business community is playing a vital role in combating the coronavirus pandemic, from working to develop treatments and vaccines, to manufacturing protective equipment, and providing practical guidance to support customers, employees, and the wider community.
Learn more about how BAB’s members are helping during this pandemic in our We Say Thank You campaign.
Business Resources in a Time of Remote Working
- 4 tips to help you stay cyber secure while working from home – CQR
- Business restructuring and COVID-19 – Infinite Global
- Coronavirus Immigration Update – Fragomen
- Practical guidance hub – Blick Rothenberg
- Free Online Concerts – London Symphony Orchestra
- Global legal and tax guidance hub – Alliott Group
- Latest Changes for Those Affected by Travel Restrictions – Hudson McKenzie