Updates and FAQ
on the Coronavirus - COVID-19

Standing strong as a group versus COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken the world by storm and caused unpredictable and unfathomable consequences. As we all face the challenges posed by the virus, it is more important now than ever that we are prepared and united. Throughout Europe and the rest of the world, Coronavirus is wreaking economic havoc and we cannot predict how long or how intensely the effects will last. On this page, you will find answers to some Frequently Asked Questions as well as regular updates on the circumstances. 

Latest update on
the Coronavirus

Ireland31 March 2020

FAQ on Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme

The following Revenue document describes the operation of the Transitional phase of the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

 
 
31 March 2020
Designing a coronavirus crisis/contingency plan

Now more than ever, it is important for businesses to have a crisis/contingency plan in place to avoid going into panic mode or being in denial about your financial situation. A crisis or contingency plan is a great resource to have so that you can have a clear picture of your existing situation and allows you to take back control through actions you can take.

Read more »

Ireland31 March 2020
Help feed the heroes campaign

Supporting Ireland's healthcare teams: "Feed the heroes" is a group of volunteers connecting the dots between frontline workers, donors, and Ireland's food industry.

Ireland31 March 2020
Interactive map: Covid-19 cases in your area

Interactive map of Covid-19 cases in Ireland.

United Kingdom31 March 2020
No time for complacency, says NHS England

"Now is not the time to be complacent," NHS England medical director Stephen Powis has warned at the government's latest coronavirus press conference.

Prof Powis said "every one of us" had a part to play if the UK was to keep the death toll under 20,000. Business Secretary Alok Sharma also announced changes to insolvency rules and the NHS supply chain.

Read more »

31 March 2020
Tips and tricks to host the perfect online meeting

Online meeting and webinars have been around for many years. Not too many people, however, had to organise and/or host an online meeting themselves, until now!

In this short presentation, we share a few tips and tricks that help you host the ‘perfect’ online meeting with your team or client.

United Kingdom31 March 2020
Unused holiday leave can be carried over for next two years

Workers who don’t take all of their holidays because of the coronavirus crisis will be allowed to carry them over into the next two years, the Government has announced.

Most employees are entitled to 28 days’ annual leave including bank holidays, most of which cannot be carried between years, meaning any unused days will be lost.

Employers also face financial penalties for failing to ensure staff take their statutory entitlement in any one year. But under new regulations announced on Friday, workers will be allowed to carry up to four weeks of unused holidays into the next two leave years.

Ireland30 March 2020
Revenue – Important customer notice

In response to the additional restrictive measures aimed at suppressing the transmission of COVID-19, announced by the Government on 27 March 2020, Revenue has issued the following customer notice.

30 March 2020
What does economic history tell us about pandemics?

There are two things to be said at the outset about the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The first is that it developed with astonishing speed from the something that we eyed with curiosity when it emerged in significant scale in China just a few weeks ago, to the public health emergency faced by most countries in the world now.

The second is that it has brought a response from governments and central banks that dwarf what was done during the global financial crisis and which, if they are not temporary, will change permanently the way economies work.

Read more »

Ireland30 March 2020
Further update concerning the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

This is a further update concerning the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme in light of the publication of Revenue guidelines regarding their approach to employer’s eligibility for the scheme and the examination of supporting proofs.

Key Principle

Revenue’s administration of the COVID-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will operate largely on a self-assessment basis and a declaration by the employer concerned.  Revenue expects businesses to be able to produce relevant supporting documentation when requested to do so, in any follow-up verification by Revenue.

Read more »

United Kingdom30 March 2020
Furlough FAQ’s

To help answer the most frequently asked questions regarding furlough during the pandemic.

Including:

- Who is eligible to claim from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
- Is there a minimum amount of time I need to furlough for?
- What happens if an employee does not want to go on furlough?

Read more »

United Kingdom30 March 2020
Guidance For Employers On The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme:

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1st March 2020.

HMRC expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Employers can use a portal to claim 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual 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. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28th February 2020.

Read more »

United Kingdom30 March 2020
Self-employment Income Support Scheme

This scheme is open to self-employed individuals or a member of a partnership (I can only assume that this also includes LLP members – but care if the salaried member rules are in point) and have lost income due to the coronavirus. This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

Read more »

United Kingdom27 March 2020
Cashflow – Keeping the cash flowing

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to grow it is vital that business owners think about how they need to manage and/or change business strategies in order to mitigate for any impacts which might occur as a result. 

Many business owners will have, at some time, completed a Business Plan. The time is right to take this out of the drawer, dust it off, and to see what needs to be done to protect the business from any downturn in sales or impact on cash flows as a direct result of COVID-19.

Read more »

United Kingdom27 March 2020
Support for millions of self-employed individuals

Rishi Sunak announces world-leading scheme to support the UK’s self-employed affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Key elements
The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment.

Read more »

United Kingdom27 March 2020
Further businesses and premises to close

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolationstaying at home and away from others, and asked that schools only remain open for those children who absolutely need to attend. 

Read more»

Ireland27 March 2020
People urged not to leave their homes

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Health, Simon Harris, have issued strict guidelines for people to stay at home from midnight tonight (Friday).

The main rule is to STAY AT HOME. The only times you can leave your home are:

·     to travel to or from work if you are providing an essential service. The full list of essential services is available here.

·     to shop for food

·     to collect medical prescriptions and medical supplies and attend medical appointments

·     to carry out vital services like caring (including family carers)

·     for brief individual exercise - within 2 kilometres of your house. (You can bring children but must keep 2 metres away from others for social distancing)

·     for farming

Ireland26 March 2020
FAQ on Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

On 24 March 2020 the Government announced new measures to provide financial support to Irish workers affected by the Covid-19 crisis. As part of these measures, Revenue will operate a Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. The scheme, enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer. 

This document covers the Frequently Asked Questions on: Operation of the Transitional phase of the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. 

Download the PDF »

United Kingdom26 March 2020
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update

Please note: This guidance is still incomplete and the government need to issue further briefing notes on the detail. 

Under the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme 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 payroll, otherwise described as “furloughed workers”. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1ST March and is initially open for 3 months but will be extended if necessary. 

All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme will be eligible – this includes the public sector, Local Authorities and Charities. 

Read more »

26 March 2020
New Self-employment Income Support Scheme

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.

Read more »

United Kingdom26 March 2020
Guidance on business support grant funding

This guidance sets out details of eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). Details This guidance sets out details and eligibility criteria for: the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) It informs local authorities about the operation and delivery of the 2 funding schemes. The guidance applies to England only. 

Read more »

26 March 2020
UK: Guides for managing business finance

Whilst the Government have announced a business finance support package, it is unlikely to be accessible for several days (the loans via the banks) or weeks (the grants via the Local Authorities).

Not all businesses will meet the criteria for them. There may be more to come from the Government, but in the meantime business owners need to act now, today. When they are available, contact centres will be short on resources, as banks and local authorities are likely to be at lower staff levels, so the funds may not arrive quickly. However, there are many things business owners can do to take the pressure off themselves. 

  1. Getting Organised 
  2. Contacting your suppliers/lenders 
  3. Knowing your numbers going forward 
  4. Accessing finance 
United Kingdom25 March 2020
‘Avoid using microwave to get faster internet’

Offices, factories and schools across the UK have shut to manage the spread of the coronavirus. With the government now telling the nation to "stay at home", millions are logging on to work and keep themselves entertained during the lockdown.

But that has put pressure on broadband providers, with BT's Openreach reporting a 20% surge in internet use. To keep speeds up, media watchdog Ofcom has compiled a list of tips to get the most from your internet.

The national information campaign is backed by government and the telecoms industry. "Right now we need people to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives," said Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden.

"Reliable internet speeds will be crucial so we can work from home where possible, stay connected with our families and keep up to date with the latest health information," he said. 'Don't use the microwave'

Read the whole story »

Ireland25 March 2020
‘Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme’

The Government also announced new measures to provide financial support to Irish workers affected by the Covid-19 crisis. As part of these measures, Revenue will operate a Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.The scheme, enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer. The scheme will run for 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.

The operation of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will be available to employers who keep employees on the payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning employers can retain links with employees for when business picks up after the crisis.

Employers are encouraged to facilitate employees by operating the scheme, by retaining employees on their books and by making best efforts to maintain a significant, or 100% income, for the period of the scheme.

Ireland24 March 2020
Great response “Be on Call for Ireland” – Over 60,000 Registered

To date the HSE have had a huge response, over 60,000 registered online, for our COVID-19 recruitment drive. 

At present, the HSE are particularly focused on recruiting health care professionals who are not providing health care in any health care setting already and are available to work immediately. This is the group we are contacting with first and interviews have already started on doctors and nurses in this category. 

This clearly highlights the support that the people of Ireland have for our health services at this critical juncture for which we are truly grateful. 

Find more information on this initiative here »

United Kingdom24 March 2020
Stay at home – strict new measures

Boris Johnson has outlined strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people unless they are from the same household. 

He said people should leave home only to exercise once a day, travel to and from work where "absolutely necessary", shop for essential items and to fulfil any medical or care needs. 

He also ordered the immediate closure of shops selling non-essential goods. 

Read more »

United Kingdom24 March 2020
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) Is Now Available Through Participating Lenders

CBILS is a new scheme, announced by The Chancellor at Budget 2020, that can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow. CBILS supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance.

The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt. Overview of the scheme.

24 March 2020
Furlough Letters for 80% reimbursement from HMRC

An employee furlough refers to a temporary leave or modification of normal working hours for a specific amount of time. It’s a leave of absence given to an employee with the promise that they will still have their job once the leave is over. Employee furloughs are becoming common practice in both public and private-sector organisations. There are numerous reasons why employers implement a furlough employee policy, such as plant shutdowns, seasonal work, company reorganizations and reduced demand due to COVID-19. 

Don’t rush into implementing an employee furlough policy without talking to your lawyer or HR specialist first.

21 March 2020
A package of measures

On Saturday 21ST the Chancellor set out a package of measures to support public services, people and businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The package of measures to support businesses includes:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • A Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure 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
  • HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

We will keep you informed about the details of each of these packages and how to apply. Be safe and stay strong!

Ireland20 March 2020
Working From Home Tax Relief

For those of you who have been asked to work from home as a result of Covid 19, there is a special tax relief you are eligible for from Revenue – The e-worker Tax Relief.

This tax relief means people working from home are entitled to be paid €3.20 a day by their employer to cover heating, electricity and broadband.

As this payment is tax-free, it means Employers won't be deducting PAYE, PRSI or USC from that amount. Any claims made may need to be supported with evidence in the form of receipts and possibly a letter from the Employer stating that you do, in fact, work from home and that they do not reimburse you for these expenses.

20 March 2020
Quick update on the news (March 20th)

The Chancellor is set to announce an employment and wage subsidy package to try to protect millions of jobs, with many firms warning of collapse. 

Letters are being sent to more than 65,000 retired doctors and nurses in England and Wales asking them to return to the NHS to help tackle the outbreak. 

The government has pledged to ensure that all hospitals have enough protective gear and ventilators. A list of key workers whose children will still be able to go to school after they shut later has been published. 

A list of key workers whose children will still be able to go to school after they shut later has been published. 

Train operators will gradually reduce services from Monday.

19 March 2020
Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees:

The Government will pass legislation shortly to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

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.

Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.

Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force.

We will keep you fully informed of any developments on when the repayment mechanism for employers will be finalised.

United Kingdom18 March 2020
Are you a manufacturing business that could switch production?

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking for organisations who can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the United Kingdom as part of the Government's response to COVID-19. BEIS has asked organisations and partners that might be interested to complete the form. 

The webform link for companies to register their interest https://ventilator.herokuapp.com/ It includes such items as air compressors, pumps, valves, electronics, industrial automation components, power, motors, tubing, fittings, sensors, filters and more.

16 March 2020
Construction site advice

There are 2 helpful websites that give information on construction with COVID-19.

https://www.ceca.co.uk/ - This is the Civil Engineering Contractors Association – If you scroll down on their homepage they have blogs covering; The impact on Construction and COVID-19 guidance for employers and businesses.

https://builduk.org/ - This is Build UK 

Here is Build UK’s latest statement on coronavirus - https://builduk.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Coronavirus-17-March-2020.pdf

Ireland17 March 2020
Posters for the workplace in Ireland

Use these posters and videos in workplaces and communities to raise awareness about preventing the spread of coronavirus. With posters on symptoms.

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/

Ireland15 March 2020
Revenue publishes guidance on Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme

Revenue has published details of the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, which it is operating on behalf of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP).

Existing employees that have been temporarily laid off due to COVID-19, and not ceased on the employer’s payroll, can receive a single amount of €203 weekly, via their employer. This will be refunded to the employer if the terms of the scheme are met. This will mean that workers retain their link with their employer and there is no need for them to personally submit a jobseeker's claim.

Read all the details: https://www.revenue.ie/en/news/articles/employer-covid-19-refund-scheme.aspx

 
 

How to: Stay connected and share files during the pandemic

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Coronavirus

The government is providing many benefits in an attempt to support businesses; these include: allowing SME’s a statutory sick pay relief package, providing retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses a 12-month business rates holiday, providing grant funding, and increasing lending in order to support liquidity among large businesses.

See this webpage for the most recent information from the UK government.

See this webpage for the most recent information from the Irish government.

All businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work from home whenever possible. At this time, all citizens are encouraged to follow social distancing protocols, meaning that in-person work should be avoided. Additionally, employees from vulnerable groups (such as the elderly and immune-compromised) should be strongly advised to remain home.

You and your managerial staff should be well versed in the signs of the virus. New, continuous coughs and high temperatures are often tell-tale signs and should be regarded as important indicators of disease. Should one of your employees show these symptoms, they should be sent home and told to follow Stay At Home guidance.

Any employee who is sick or following stay at home advice are eligible to receive statutory sick pay pack (SSP) and should not be punished in any way for their illness. Make sure your management staff are clear on processes relating to sickness reporting and sick pay.

In the case that an employee has a dependant who requires their assistance during illness, the employee is entitled to time off. Cases include caring for children due to school closures, or caring for sick children. There is no legal obligation to provide pay during this time, but some employers may wish to offer pay depending on their workplace policy and contract terms.

Some basic implementations can greatly help reduce the spread of Coronavirus in your office. Ensure that employees have access to paper tissues and handwashing stations, and that they are encouraged to use them. Make sure that you or your cleaning staff clean and disinfect all surfaces that are touched often, and that all staff understand the implications of the situation and their responsibilities.

You can learn more from this site for the UK, for Ireland you can visit this site

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Daily advice and support

There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus affects us all, both personally and in business. What can you do to deal with the situation and its consequences? 

Sign up for our special update to receive daily advice and support on how to guide your business through this challenging time.