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Returning to Work during COVID-19

May 21, 2020 by JSO

Returning to work during COVID-19

Many businesses are now returning to work under the guidance issued by the Government during COVID-19.  It is important to recognise the need to provide a safe working environment for your employees and visitors and some guidelines have been developed for the practical steps that business owners need to take.

 

  1. Take all reasonable steps that you can to help people work from home; if this is not practical and your business is in one of those that are allowed to open, the Government message is “go to work”.

 

  1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment; employers with more than 50 employees are expected to publish their protocols on their website.

 

  1. Look to see how you can maintain 2 metres social distancing which may necessitate staggering work times, creating one way pathways, changing desk layouts in the office and seating arrangements in rooms where employees can take their breaks and opening up more entrances and exits if practical.

 

  1. In areas where employees cannot be 2 metres apart, manage risk by using barriers, ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other and creating alternative working shift patterns.

 

  1. Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying particular attention to certain areas such as door handles, shared keyboards, etc. Employers should provide handwashing areas or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

 

Please see the link to a PDF copy of a notice which should be displayed to show both employees and visitors that the business has followed the guidelines.

staying-covid-19-secure

There is also a link to the Government site with information for specific types of business below:

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Finally, the pandemic has affected all of us in many different ways and  those already living with depression may be struggling; please follow the link below which has information on guarding mental health specifically at the present time:

Coronavirus: Guidance for Better Mental Health

 

 

Coronavirus Update – Bounce Back Loan

April 28, 2020 by JSO

Coronavirus Update – Bounce Back Loans

 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a further measure to help small and medium sized businesses who have been negatively affected by COVID-19 and need to borrow between £2000 and £50000.

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.

The existing CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) is still available for larger loans but some smaller businesses have been unable to meet the criteria for this.

The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.  Loan terms will be up to 6 years. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.  Please note, that this is a loan, not a grant,  and will have to be repaid unless the borrower becomes insolvent.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not in financial difficulties on 31 December 2019

Who cannot apply

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

Please note that, for Limited companies, you will not be able to use these funds to pay dividends unless you have the retained profits allowing  you do so.

The online system for application is expected to be available from 4th May.  Please see the link below as this will updated once the system goes live.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme update 06-04-2020

April 6, 2020 by JSO

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – update 06/04/2020

 

Please see below the latest updated information regarding the above.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

You will notice that the information says that you need an online PAYE account.  Please wait before applying for this at present if you do not already have one.  We have an online PAYE account as an agent for our employers and this enables us to file the payroll returns on your behalf.  It is not yet clear whether we will be able to use this account to make the Job Retention Scheme claim on your behalf and we will advise further once the full information is available, but we do need to be able to continue to file your returns.

In the meantime, it is very important that you keep us updated if you need to start any of your employees on furlough leave this month before we process your payroll.  For payrolls which remain the same each month so we do not await your instructions, we will start processing on April 16th, so please advise before this date. If you are not sure whether you will need to furlough any employees after this date, but before the end of the month, please email us to ask that we delay processing of your payroll.

This is all of the information that we have at this time.  Thank you for emailing any requests or instructions rather than calling the office, where we only have one member of staff working on the tasks that cannot be completed at home.

Thank you for your patience.

 

All content provided in this blog is for information purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

COVID-19 – VAT and Job Retention Scheme

March 27, 2020 by JSO

COVID-19 Updates – VAT and Job Retention Scheme

 

Please see below information and links to more updated information:

VAT

The Chancellor announced a VAT payments deferral on 20 March to support businesses with cashflow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means that all businesses with a UK VAT registration have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June. Businesses have until 31 March 2021 to pay any VAT deferred as a result of this announcement.

Businesses do not need to inform HMRC if they wish to defer payment. They can opt in to the deferral simply by not making VAT payments due in this period.

Businesses who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. This can be done online if they’re registered for online banking. They should do so in sufficient time so that HMRC does not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of their VAT return.

Should they wish, businesses can continue to make payments as normal during the deferral period. HMRC will also continue to pay repayment claims as normal. Businesses must continue to submit VAT returns as normal.

For more information please go to GOV.UK and search “Deferral of VAT payment”.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

 Please see below further information received today:

The government is committed to doing whatever it takes to support businesses and individuals through the Coronavirus pandemic. On 20 March as part of these efforts the Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

This funding will be open to all employers with a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, including charities. Employers can apply for grants of 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage, provided they keep the worker employed. The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020, if applicable.

HMRC have been working night and day to develop this scheme, and we can now confirm that we have been able to publish further details of the scheme on GOV‌.UK. We are aiming to have the scheme up and running by the end of April 2020. More detailed guidance will be published in due course and please be assured we will advise you when the scheme is open.

Guidance for employers is available on GOV.UK. You may also find the guidance for employees helpful.

We recommend you view the guidance which will be updated as the scheme is further developed, and in line with any further government announcements.

All content provided in this blog is for information purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

COVID-19 Update – 27th March 2020

March 27, 2020 by JSO

COVID-19 Update – 27th March 2020

 

Please find below the latest information received this morning from HMRC.  This has details of help available for the self-employed plus links to other help available for businesses.

We strongly recommend that everyone takes advantage of all available help and encourages employees to do the same through mortgage holidays etc.

We still have no further details on how the Job Retention Scheme will work, but will update you as soon as we have further information.

The Chancellor, this evening, announced a new Self-employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

GOV‌.UK has further details about who is eligible for the scheme and how it will work.

Self-employed people do not need to get in touch with HMRC as the scheme isn’t yet open for applications. HMRC will contact eligible customers by the beginning of June, inviting them to apply.

Unfortunately, we are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. If someone gets in touch claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond.

HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for these details.

The government has also introduced the following help for the self-employed:

We will continue to share the most up to date information directly with you as it becomes available.

All content provided in this blog is for information purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Furlough Leave

March 24, 2020 by JSO

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme & Furlough Leave

 

Just an update on the Job Retention Scheme and Furlough Leave which is developing through the course of this challenging time and will hopefully be available shortly.

Again all the latest information is available from the link below for employers:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

As it stands, this is what we currently know about this scheme and we will of course update you all as and when new information becomes available.

Who is Eligible?

It is available to all UK businesses with a PAYE scheme including public sector, local authorities and charities, regardless of the size of the company.

How can the scheme be accessed?

  • You will need to designate all affected employees (those that would otherwise have been made redundant) as ‘furloughed workers’. This means that these workers cannot undertake any work for the employer that has furloughed them, however they will remain employed by the company.

 

  • All employees should be notified if they have been marked as furlough and agreement by the employee may be required.

 

 

  • It is important to note that the ability to apply for the scheme remains subject to existing employment laws and employee contracts. An employer can place employees on furlough leave if employee contracts contain a layoff or short term clause. If there is no clause in place, agreement from the employee will be required. Just Simply Organised can help with this.

 

  • HMRC must be notified of all employees that have been furloughed and their earnings. This will be done via an online portal. The portal is currently not live but we will be notified when this can be accessed.

 

  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of employees wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per worker per month. Those employees on zero hours contracts can use monthly pay in February as a benchmark.

 

  • These employment costs will be backdated to 1st March 2020, running for 3 months, how this will be worked out will clarified at a later date.

 

  • The employer may choose to top-up the remaining 20% of the employees salary if they feel they are able to. If the employer cannot top the remaining 20% up the employees wage slip will shop a 20% deduction in wages. This is where it is prudent to check contracts and gain agreement from the employee as 20% reduction in their salary is a change in the terms and conditions of their employment.

 

It is uncertain when this scheme will be fully operational and therefore when employers will be reimbursed although government information has stated that it hopes to get some services running in a number of weeks. That said the government has directed businesses to seek help from a short term business loan to support cash flow in the interim or deferring VAT and income tax payments. This information can be found from the government link within this blog.

Please be assured that as soon as more information comes to light we will update you all and hopefully provide some clarity on the situation.  Please email lyn@justsimplyorganised.co.uk with any queries as we are working from home so cannot take any calls.

Stay safe and our best wishes to you all.

 

 

All content provided in this blog is for information purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

COVID-19 update

March 23, 2020 by JSO

COVID-19 Update

 

Following the Chancellor’s announcement on Friday, please see the link below to the current help available for employers:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

You will find information  and links here on various possible loans and grants that will be available to employers, plus information on furloughing staff (the ability to do this is dependent on your staff contracts*), paying SSP etc.  Not all mechanisms are in place as yet, but they will be as soon as HMRC are able to facilitate them.

*With regards to staff contracts, you must have a short time working or lay-off clause in place; if you do not, please contact us as we can help with this.

VAT and payroll returns still have to be filed within the usual HMRC deadlines; there are proposals to help employers with deferment of payment etc. but we would strongly advise that if you can pay, you do so to avoid problems later in the year, as there will come a time when we will all have to catch up.  HMRC have also brought back their Time To Pay options, but bear in mind that you will be asked to pay by DD at intervals determined by HMRC.

During these difficult times we are staggering our working hours at the JSO offices, so there may only be one person on site as others are working from home.  We ask that where you can, you email your usual account handler rather than calling and we will get back to you as soon as we can and will call you if necessary, so please ensure that your contact numbers are included in the email.

Rest assured, we will do our utmost to continue to maintain our service for all of our clients, but we are very mindful of the government advice and the safety of our staff is our priority.  We will of course update you as soon as we have further information.

Let us all work together so that we all stay safe.  Our best wishes to you all.

 

All content provided in this blog is for information purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

Paying SSP during the COVID-19 outbreak

March 20, 2020 by JSO

Paying Statutory Sick Pay during the COVID-19 outbreak

 We do hope that all of our clients and their employees remain well but please find below a few key points which you may find helpful:

For employees who have to self-isolate due to Coronavirus, the government has announced that SSP is payable if employees are required to self-isolate with effect from 13th March 2020.  It is important to note that employees must provide the relevant form, which can be found at NHS111 online:

https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/

They must not visit or request this from their GP surgery or call NHS111.

Until the government has passed the emergency legislation which will enable SSP to be paid from Day 1 of a period of illness due to Coronavirus or self-isolation, the current rules regarding SSP remain that payment will start from Day 4.

Once the legislation has been passed, SSP might be able to be claimed retrospectively from Day 1.

The system for reclaiming any SSP that you have to pay for employees diagnosed with or self-isolating due to Coronavirus is not yet in place, but you will be able to make the claim once this is established if you have less than 250 employees.

You will not be able to pay SSP and claim it back for an employee who chooses to stay at home rather than having sought government advice and has the isolation note as above.

SSP will continue to be paid from Day 4 as before for illnesses other than Coronavirus.

Please visit the current guidelines if you need further information:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

 https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

 

 

All content provided in this blog is for information purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

Difficult Times

March 16, 2020 by JSO

Just to update all of our clients on the measures in place to continue our business at Just Simply Organised in the event that restrictions are put in place by the government due to Coronavirus. We will continue to follow the government and NHS advice.

All employees at JSO are set up so that they can undertake much of their work from home in the event that this becomes necessary.  Filing VAT and PAYE returns with HMRC from home is not so straightforward, so we would anticipate that these two areas would be the last to be moved to homeworking, should it become necessary.

This is, of course, a very busy time for us being the end of the financial year so payroll year ends will need to be filed and P60s issued to employees.   Letting us have your payroll information as soon as you are able, preferably at least 48 hours before you wish to pay employees, while still ensuring that you have included everything for the year, will be helpful.

Please also respond to any bookkeeping queries as soon as you are able, especially if it is the month for filing your VAT return.  This will ensure that we can file with HMRC within their strict deadlines, which we have no current indication will be relaxed at this time.

If you plan to visit our offices to drop off or collect work, we ask that you call first to book a time so that we can guarantee that no more than one of you is here at any one time.  Please do not be offended if we ask you to place your work at the hatch and we follow the recommended distancing guide, we all need to use common sense during this difficult time.  We love to see you all but do have a number of family members who are in the “more vulnerable” categories.

Please be assured that have put in place as many contingency plans as we can, so that your work can be processed as usual and also bear with us if some things take a little longer than usual.

Wishing you all good health.

National Minimum Wage Increase and Employment Law Changes

March 6, 2020 by JSO

National Minimum Wage Increase and Employment Law Changes – April 2020

 The National Living Wage and Minimum Wage rates are set to rise in April 2020. Just Simply Organised can implement the new rates when we process the April payroll for all hourly paid employees, but it is important that all employers check that the monthly pay for any employees who receive a salary is meeting the new rate criteria.

The new rates to put in place are:

Employees aged 25 and over                  £8.72 per hour (National Living Wage)

Employees aged 21 and over                  £8.20 per hour

Employees aged 18-20                             £6.45 per hour

Employees aged 16-17                             £4.55 per hour

Apprentices*                                                £4.15 per hour

*The apprentice rate applies to apprentices aged 16-18 or those aged 19 and over who are in their first year of apprenticeship.

Please note that it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the correct rate is applied to all employees, whether hourly paid or salaried.

 This rate increase could see more of your employees eligible for the Auto-Enrolment (Workplace) Pension, so please contact us for advice if necessary.

Parental Bereavement Leave

 From April 2020, parents who lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy, will be entitled to two weeks’ leave, with a new statutory payment being introduced in line with the current payments for Statutory Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, etc.  Contact Just Simply Organised for more information on this.

 

Coronavirus – Statutory Sick Pay

 To date, the only information that we have received on this is on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/sick-pay-from-day-one-for-those-affected-by-coronavirus

We will keep you updated as soon as we hear anything further.

 

Just Simply Organised continue to work with our employers to ensure that their payroll keeps up with ever-changing payroll legislation.  Do contact us directly if you have any queries at all.

 

All content provided in this blog is for information purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

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