COVID-19: People and Remote Working

COVID-19: PEOPLE

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, 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 pay employers a grant worth 80% of an employee’s usual wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until the end of October, new flexibility will be introduced from July to get employees back to work and boost economy.

From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them – and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

From August 2020, the level of government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. That means that for June and July the government will continue to pay 80% of people’s salaries. In the following months, businesses will be asked to contribute a modest share, but crucially individuals will continue to receive that 80% of salary covering the time they are unable to work. Detailed information about government contributions month by month can be viewed here.

You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020.This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020. Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough.

To be eligible for the subsidy, when on furlough, an employee can not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation. This includes providing services or generating revenue. While on furlough, the employee’s wage will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions.

This scheme is only for employees on agency contracts who are not working.

If an employee is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for this scheme and you will have to continue paying the employee through your payroll and pay their salary subject to the terms of the employment contract you agreed.

HMRC have created a a portal to access the scheme. which can be accessed here.   

A step-by-step guide for employers on how to use the scheme is here

You’ll need to provide the following to make a claim:

  1. The bank account number and sort code you’d like HMRC to use when we pay your claim.
  2. The name and phone number of the person in your business for HMRC to call with any questions.
  3. Your Self-Assessment UTR (Unique Tax Reference), Company UTR or CRN (Company Registration Number).
  4. The name, employee number and National Insurance number for each of your furloughed employees.
  5. The total amount being claimed for all employees and the total furlough period.

If you use an agent who is authorised to act for you for PAYE purposes, they will be able to make a claim on your behalf, so please speak to them now.
However, if you use a file-only agent (files your RTI return but doesn’t act for you in other matters), they won’t be able to make a claim for you and you’ll need the information listed above from them to make the claim yourself.

More information for employees is available here.

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

Self Employment Support

Several 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.

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. 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

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.

HMRC are asking self-employed people to use their online checker which will quickly confirm whether they are eligible and will give customers a specific date from which they can make a claim. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by the beginning of June 2020. For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

FAQs about this scheme can be viewed here.

Further information about the scheme can be viewed here.

The video below will help you use the SEISS online eligibility checker.

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.

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: Remote Working

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. 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?

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

How can I learn more about data and data analytics?

The Practicalities of Curating Useful Data – Hatree Centre (Free – 1 hour) link
04/06/2020 13:00 – 14:00
This webinar will guide you through the data engineering approaches used to help businesses collate and clean suitable data, as an enabler for novel analytical approaches.  #Data #Data Analytics

2) Resources and Training for People Working from Home

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.

How do I find out more about data and data analytics?

The practicalities of curating useful data – Hartree Centre (Free – 1 hour) link
04/06/2020 13:00-14:00
This webinar will guide you through the data engineering approaches used to help businesses collate and clean suitable data, as an enabler for novel analytical approaches. #Big data #Data analytics

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. 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.

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.

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