COVID-19: People and Remote Working

This page provides information on support available for businesses to help employees, including self-employed (Covid-19: People) and digital tools and online support materials to help with remote working and digital skills development (Covid-19: Digital Skills Online Resources and Support).

COVID-19: PEOPLE

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until the end of October.

Claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19). From 1 July , employers have been able to bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked. From this date, only employees that you have successfully claimed a previous grant for will be eligible for more grants under the scheme. This means they must have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March and 30 June 2020. For the minimum 3 consecutive week period to be completed by 30 June, the last day an employee could have started furlough for the first time was 10 June. This may differ if you have an employee returning from statutory parental leave. View the guidance here.

  • From 1 August 2020, you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages.
  • Calculate how much you have to pay your furloughed employees for hours on furlough, how much you can claim for employer NICs and pension contributions and how much you can claim back. Find out more
  • Steps to take before calculating your claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Find out more
  • Examples to help you calculate your employee’s wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions. Find out more

HMRC have stated:

What you need to do now

  • start your flexible furloughing of employees from 1‌‌ July onwards. You can decide the hours and shift patterns they work to suit the needs of your business – you’ll pay their wages for the time they’re in work and can apply for a job retention scheme grant to cover any of their usual hours they are still furloughed for. You can still keep employees on full furlough if you need to
  • claim for periods ending on or before 30‌‌ June, by 31‌‌ J‌ul‌y – this is the last date you can make those claims
  • claim for further furlough periods as needed – the first time you will be able to make a claim for days in July will be 1‌‌ July.

HMRC have published further details on the Job Retention Bonus. Businesses will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January next year. The eligibility criteria for it are:
o employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021
o employees must earn at least £520 (the National Insurance lower earnings limit) a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January
o those who were furloughed and had a claim submitted after the 10 June (when the CJRS closed to new entrants), because they were returning from paternal leave or time serving as a military reservist will also be eligible for the bonus as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria
o employers will also be eligible for employee transfers protected under TUPE legislation, provided they have been continuously employed and meet the other eligibility criteria and the new employer has also submitted a CJRS claim for that employee

Find out more here

Self Employment Support

Several other initiatives have been introduced to support those who are self-employed.

If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

Your business may also be eligible to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. In May it was announced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended – with those eligible able to claim a second and final grant capped at £6,570

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000.

To be eligible for the scheme you must meet all the criteria below:

  • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
  • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership.
  • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment.
  • This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
    Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

Guidance on how different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme can be viewed here

Details of the second grant from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are:

  • This scheme is being extended, meaning that a claim can be made for a second and final grant in August 2020.
  • To make a claim for the second grant you will have to confirm your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020.
  • It will be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.
  • You can claim for the second and final grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant.

Deferral of Self-Assessment Payment

The Self- Assessment payment on account, that is ordinarily due to be paid to HMRC by 31 July 2020 may now be deferred until January 2021.

If you are due to make a self- assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020 then you are eligible for the deferment. The deferment is intended to assist self-assessment taxpayers, including those who are self-employed, who are suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus.

The deferment is optional and any persons still able to pay their second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020 should still do so.

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment of your July 2020 payment on account until January 2021.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

A new online service launched on 26 May for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees, the government announced.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was announced at Budget as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

This scheme will allow small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Employers can make their claims through an online service.

Apprenticeships

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is implementing new measures, until further notice, to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way if they need to, or to break and resume an apprenticeship later when that becomes possible.

This includes:

• Further information on calculating wages for furloughed apprentices
• Additional content on flexibilities of end-point assessment
• Flexibilities for English and Maths functional skills for Intermediate (level 2) apprentices
• Flexibilities on qualification certification

This guidance can be viewed here

Construction Talent Retention Scheme

The Talent Retention Scheme will launch later this month. Designed to retain and secure essential talent in the sector, this new online portal will support the redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy, allowing them to be temporarily loaned between businesses. Over 500,000 left the industry during the last recession, creating a mass skills shortage, which will only become more acute due to EU Exit and post Covid19 effects. The Talent Retention Scheme will help to stop that.

The scheme has two aims:

1. Facilitate talent matching and employee loans on a temporary basis between business
2. Supply re-deployment of staff at risk of redundancy from other sectors, given the overlapping competencies.

The system will be fully featured and free to use, with funding secured until April 2021, and is based on a proven model in the aerospace and automotive sectors which balances redundancies in companies with recruitment needs in others. It will be open to apprentices, self-employed workers, and direct employees, as well as giving displaced workers from other sectors a route to new employment within construction.

More information can be found here 

 

Employee Health and Wellbeing

As an employer you have responsibilities for your employee’s health and wellbeing, during this time the nature of these responsibilities may be different. Some useful resources to assist you with managing employee health and wellbeing are shown below.

Business in the Community have created a range of toolkits for employers to support employee health and wellbeing through COVID-19.

Pension guidance

The pensions regulator have created guidance for businesses on automatic enrolment and DC pension contributions. View the guidance  here

Increased amounts of Universal Credit

You can view the latest guidance related to universal credit for those who are self-employed and impacted by coronavirus here.

Covid-19: Digital Skills Online Resources and Support

The Cheshire and Warrington Digital Skills Partnership is raising awareness of some of the digital tools and online support materials that may help in the short term during these business-critical times. The following online resources and training are freely available to help local residents including business leaders, people working on site or from home and teachers and trainers.

The training is designed to develop the digital skills that will become critical over the coming months as we all respond to and start to recover from the Coronavirus.

This initial guidance is focussed on developing the essential digital skills needed to live and work remotely, including to develop a website and sell online, stay safe and access public services.

If you identify other training needs that might have a cost associated with them then if you are a business based in Cheshire and Warrington then funding for up to 40% of the cost of the training may be available to you, small businesses may be eligible for 100% funding. More details can be found at http://candwgrowthhub.co.uk/accelerate/ or contact mark.shepherd@871candwep.co.uk or richard.corley@871candwep.co.uk to find out more.

In addition, the LEP has invested £4.6 million in specialist equipment to support the development of digital and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills. These projects are still at the early stages of development but you might want to access them in order to help you develop your skills, further details can be found here.

The Pledge team have collated a selection of resources to help young people explore their career interests and personal development. further details can be found here – Pledge Resources.

1) Resources and Training for Business Leaders

How can I get my business online?

Digital Boost – Digital Boost (Free) link
Digital Boost has been created to provide free digital advice for small businesses and charities impacted by coronavirus, provided by expert volunteers. The platform hosts a community of digital experts, who will offer one-to-one digital support to small businesses and charities free of charge to help them improve their digital capability to grow and prosper. Digitalboost.org.uk is on a mission to help small businesses and charities get the essential digital skills they need and by extension more customers and revenue streams through online channels.   Digital Boost is accepting support requests from small businesses and charitable organisations needing help and at https://www.digitalboost.org.uk/

Get a Business Online – Google Digital Garage (Free – 3 hours) link
Find out how to build a digital presence, sell to customers online, and stay safe from hackers.
#Starting a business online #Digital presence #e-commerce #keeping safe

How can I move my staff to using online meetings?

How to Embrace Remote Work – (Free) link #Tips and Best Practice #Communication and Collaboration #Digital Tools Needed #Creating a Company Culture

Working from Home Course – Learning Nexus (Free – 25 mins) link #Best Practices #Coping Strategies #Good Mental Health

Remote Working Advice Toolkit – Ethical IT business Cosmic (Free) link
# Remote working advice #support #successful collaborative working practices.

What tools can I use to enable my organisation and staff to work online?

Google Tools and Resources to Help Small Businesses Stay Connected – Google (Free) link
#stay connected #productivity #remote working #challenges #limited wifi #family commitments

Resources include:

  • Six tips for better video calls when working from home – read
  • Connect and collaborate from anywhere with digital tools – learn
  • Plan an effective meeting – learn
  • Update your Google My Business page to reflect changes to opening hours and more – check
  • If you haven’t got access to collaborative work tools, see GSuite – find out more

Google Hangouts Meet and Google Classroom
Free access to “advanced” features for Hangouts Meet (link) to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally until 1/07/2020. Includes hosting meetings up to 250 participants, live stream up to 100,000 view and record and save to Google Drive.

Microsoft Resources – Teams – Microsoft (Free) link to features In response to the need for employees to work from home, Microsoft is offering a free 6-month trial of its Office 365 E1 license link for customers who do not already have access to Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and Microsoft 365. This includes access to Microsoft Teams to enable collaboration and communication, as well as various productivity tools.

Zoom – Zoom (Free) link
Free version of Zoom that enables video conferencing (unlimited 121’s and 40 min limit on group calls) and chat function

How can I stay safe online?

Home working; Preparing your organisation and staff – National Cyber Security Centre (Free) link #cyber security #home working #scam e-mails

How can I sell more products online?

Promote a business with online advertising – Google Digital Garage (Free – 3 hours) link Discover the online tools you can use to promote a business online, create your marketing strategy, and attract the right customers.
#Marketing strategy #e-mail marketing #video #display ads

 

2) Resources and Training for People Working from Home

How can I develop my Digital and Numeracy Skills?

The Department for Education, with support from DCMS, has recently launched The Skills Toolkit, a new online platform providing easy access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses. The Skills Toolkit is open to everyone, whether they are furloughed, out of work, or just keen to learn a new skill. Since its launch on 28 April there have been more than 416,000 views of the platform and 136,000 courses started.

Tips for working remotely including wellbeing

Working from Home Course – Learning Nexus (Free – 25 mins) link #Best Practices #Coping Strategies #Good Mental Health

How do I keep safe online?

Being safe online – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link ** Learn some simple steps to use the internet safely, spot scams and keep safe on social media.

Keeping your personal data safe – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link ** Learn how to use passwords to keep your online information safe, and how to control who sees your personal information.

Keeping your device safe – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link ** Discover how to protect your device and information on it from threats like viruses, save a backup and use screen locks.

3) Resources and Training for People Working on Site

If you identify other training needs that might have a cost associated with them then if you are a business based in Cheshire and Warrington then funding for up to 40% of the cost of the training may be available to you, small businesses may be eligible for 100% funding. More details can be found at http://candwgrowthhub.co.uk/accelerate/ or contact mark.shepherd@871candwep.co.uk or richard.corley@871candwep.co.uk to find out more.

4) Resources and Training for Local Residents

How do I keep safe online?

Being safe online – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link ** Learn some simple steps to use the internet safely, spot scams and keep safe on social media.

Keeping your personal data safe – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link ** Learn how to use passwords to keep your online information safe, and how to control who sees your personal information.

Keeping your device safe – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link ** Discover how to protect your device and information on it from threats like viruses, save a backup and use screen locks.

How can I access public services online?

Using public services online – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link **
Understand what public services are available online, how use the GOV.UK government website and find local council services.

The NHS website: a how to guide – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link **
Understand how to make the most of the NHS website to find advice and local health services like GPs and hospitals online.

GP services online: a how to guide – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link **  Learn how to find and register with your local GP surgery, apply for repeat prescriptions and look up health records online.

Universal Credit: a how to guide – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link **
Learn about Universal Credit, how to make a claim online and what information you will need in order to do this.

Video Calling – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link **
Learn how you can see people when chatting to them on the internet by making video calls.

How can I improve my wellbeing when working online?

Managing your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak – Mental Health UK (Free) link Information and tips for managing your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak (also known as COVID-19).

Intro to digital wellbeing – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Google Digital Garage (Free – 1 hour) link ***
Learn how to develop and maintain healthy tech habits.

Socialising Online – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Google Digital Garage (Free – 25 mins) link ***
Learn how to use social networks like Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ to connect with people and share things online.

Video Calling – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link **
Learn how you can see people when chatting to them on the internet by making video calls.

Working from Home Course – Learning Nexus (Free – 25 mins) link #Best Practices #Coping Strategies #Good Mental Health

How can I bank online?

Online and mobile banking – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link **
Learn how to do internet banking using either a computer, tablet or mobile phone, and how to keep track of your money.

Make money work – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link **
Learn about basic money management online, including how to make the most of your money, make a budget and manage loans.

Online shopping – BT Skills for Tomorrow / Learn My Way (free – 25 mins) link **
Learn how to shop online, compare prices, use secure payment methods and understand your rights when buying online.

How can I develop my Digital and Numeracy Skills?

The Department for Education, with support from DCMS, has recently launched The Skills Toolkit, a new online platform providing easy access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses. The Skills Toolkit is open to everyone, whether they are furloughed, out of work, or just keen to learn a new skill. Since its launch on 28 April there have been more than 416,000 views of the platform and 136,000 courses started.

5) Resources and Training for Teachers and Trainers

How can I teach remotely using Office 365?

Delivering Lessons When Schools and Colleges are Closed using Microsoft Office 365 – Tablet Academy (Free) link #teaching #Microsoft #Teams

How can I teach remotely using G Suite (Google)?

Delivering Lessons When Schools and Colleges are Closed using Google G Suite – Tablet Academy (Free) link #teaching #Google #Classroom

Are there any resources for activities to develop digital skills?

Spark Penketh Primary at Home Schedule of Digital Skills Activities – Made.Digital (Free) link In light of Covid-19 and not being able to deliver face to face sessions the Made.Digital Local Growth Fund Project based in Warrington have put together a programme a digital skills activity for every day up to the end of August. #Digital Skills

Spark Penketh Secondary at Home Schedule of Digital Skills Activities – Made.Digital (Free) link In light of Covid-19 and not being able to deliver face to face sessions the Made.Digital Local Growth Fund Project based in Warrington have put together a programme a digital skills activity for every day up to the end of August. #Digital Skills

iDEA (Free) link Short online courses in digital, enterprise and employability skills. As mini subjects are completed you move through your Bronze, Silver and Gold awards, similar to the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. #Digital #Enterprise #Employability #Coding #Blockchain #Social Media

Tech We Can – (Free) link Online lesson plans now available for parents and carers teaching at home.

Are there any resources to help with teaching maths?

Sparx Maths Virtual Classroom – Sparx (Free) link To support teachers and learners throughout this period, we have built Sparx Maths Virtual Classroom for Key Stage 3 and GCSE and are offering it free of charge to any school that has to close as a result of the virus. #maths

Are there any resources to help with home schooling?

Pledge Resources – Use this time to help young people explore their career ideas. Visit the Pledge Network page link for links to free resources.

GOV.UKOnline education resources for home learning (Free) link 
Online educational resources for schools and parents to help children to learn at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The resources covered are English, maths, science, P.E., wellbeing, special educational needs and disability (SEND) and tips for parents.

Tech We Can – (Free) link Online lesson plans now available for parents and carers teaching at home.

STEM Mode In: On Lockdown with the Stemettes – STEMettes (Free) link A series of weekly online events including dgital and STEM focussed tutorials.

** You’ll need to create a free Learn My Way account first
*** You’ll need to register with or create a free Google account first