The government are really testing us accountants - it seems like they wait til we've been in touch with all you guys about changed to the gov't support packages...and then go and bring out a whole new set of rules.
Naturally, since my last email just a few days ago - when I said I hoped I wouldn't need to write to you again, in the nicest possible way, it's all change!
And I've had a lot of people getting in touch (if you can keep it to office hours that would be lovely... 👍) asking about the "new, new" changes announced this week by the gov't.
Before you get too excited...we are expecting detailed guidance on 10th November. And then you need to give me a day or two to digest it. Otherwise I'll just send you a link to the same information I've got 😉
So this is my promise: when I have concrete information, I'll share it with you.
I plan to send out two separate emails, one for furlough and one for the self-employed and I'll make it clear from the subject which is which so you don't waste half your life reading something which doesn't apply to you.
That said, if you think it might apply to your boss, a friend, or anyone else then do send it on to them. We've decided to stop taking on new clients for the meantime so we can concentrate on our Covid support to as many people (clients and non-clients) as possible.
This short email is then just to outline very briefly the changes to the Furlough Scheme and the SEISS scheme. You may find this especially useful if you employ staff who you are considering making redundant at the end of November.
What's Happening With Furlough Now?
In last week's update, we said that the flexible furlough scheme has been extended to November. It's now been extended all the way to March 2021. 🙌
This is great news for employers, and staff, as it should ensure redundancies can be staved off for at least another 5 months.
The claim amount has also increased - it's now back up to 80% of unworked hours, although employers will not be reimbursed for pension or National Insurance contributions. And it's flexible, for those still working but on reduced hours.
Also, you DO NOT need to have claimed on the first round of furlough to apply this time.
DO NOT OVERLOOK Your Employment Contracts 🛑
Many (most?) people have so far overlooked the fact that you can't just decide to pay your employees 80% of their salary and tell them to stay at home. It would almost certainly be a breach of contract. You MUST have their agreement to the changes, and have this in writing.
I know this has been overlooked because so many of you have asked me, at the end of the month, "how much should we pay the staff who are on furlough". Nope!! You need to agree this with them BEFORE putting them on furlough. I'll work out what you can claim back - and hopefully the two will tally up.
If you're asking staff to take holiday whilst on furlough, they need to be paid their normal holiday pay, even if you can't claim it all back.
Otherwise, once furlough is over, I can see a whole cottage industry of HR lawyers encouraging staff to sue for 20% of "lost wages".
And I think they'll have a strong case. You have been warned!
If you'd like me to put you in touch with an HR professional, let me know. (If you've got Tax Investigation Insurance then you've already got access to the Croner HR team).
Have They Forgotten About the Self-Employed? 🙋♀️
Well this depends on your definition...but if you were eligible to claim the first Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (even if you didn't claim it) then you're eligible for round two.
As before, I'm afraid the newly self-employed have indeed been forgotten about.
The criteria are broadly the same about average earnings and the intention to trade once Covid is "over" (!?).
There will be a lump-sum grant based on 80% [NB: increase from the previously announced 55%] of your average earnings, capped at £7,500, to cover November-January, and a further grant to cover February-April, although no % has been set.
As with the furlough scheme, we don't know any more detail than that, e.g. how and when you can claim, when you'll get your money and, crucially, if your 2019/20 profits will be taken into account.
The above is by no means the full range of measures available, and it's not just employers and the self-employed who can benefit. However, as each person's financial position is different, please take the steps to book a Covid support call to talk about your business if you need help.
There's no charge for a chat. Book a call here.