Coronavirus had a significant impact on businesses and employees. We put together a range of resources to help business. The Covid Pandemic has been around for many years now and the details below were only relevant during lockdown and the lockdown has now finished.
Impact on your Business
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Omicron and small business – what are the rules? – Small Business UK
Working from home
The Government has recommended people work from home “if they can” from Monday, December 13 in a bid to slow the spread of omicron in workplaces. Employers are “encouraged to use the rest of this week to discuss working arrangements with their employees”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at yesterday’s Downing Street press conference. However, working from home is guidance only and not a legal requirement.
Face masks will become compulsory in most indoor venues from December 10, such as cinemas and theatres, but not in pubs, bars or restaurants.
The Department of Work and Pensions have launched a new Kickstart online communications toolkit
The Kickstart Scheme makes up part of the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ skills and employment programmes, which also include Apprenticeships, T Levels and Traineeships. The Kickstart Scheme offers six-month jobs for young people aged 16 to 24 years old who are currently claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment.
Prime Minister sets out autumn and winter Covid plan
he Prime Minister has set out the government’s plan to manage Covid throughout autumn and winter. See here
Facing up to post-pandemic demands in transformation
Digital leaders in the public sector have found a breathing space in the response to Covid-19 and there is a strong sense that things will not go back to how they were before. See here
Changes to Covid restrictions from 19th July
The Government has set out plans to lift the remaining Covid restrictions in England. If approved on 12 July, the following will change in England from 19 July:
Social distancing/face coverings
- no limits on social contact
- 1m-plus rule removed (except in some settings, such as ports of entry and medical settings)
- no legal requirements for face coverings (although their use will still be advised in hospitals, healthcare settings and enclosed, crowded public spaces).
- nightclubs permitted to reopen
- capacity caps on businesses will be lifted
- hospitality businesses will no longer be required to provide table service only
- no limits on numbers at weddings and funerals
- no restrictions on communal worship and singing
- no limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events
- no legal requirements for Covid certificates for any venue or event.
- it is no longer necessary for people to be instructed to work from home, therefore employers can start to plan a return to workplaces
- ‘working safely’ guidance will be updated to provide examples of sensible precautions that employers can take to reduce risk in their workplaces
- businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to come to work, and should make sure that workers and customers who feel unwell do not attend the setting.
What will life after ‘Freedom Day’ look like for employers?
Subject to a final review, from 19 July 2021, the following changes will take place in England:
• there will be no requirement to socially distance;
• face masks will no longer be mandatory in public places;
• all businesses that have been shut will be allowed to open;
• there will be no limit on the number of people you can meet; and
• people will be encouraged to return to the workplace instead of working from home.
‘Freedom Day’ will, in effect, mean that there will be no government-imposed restrictions placed on employers. Instead, the laws we have all lived with for the last 16 months will be replaced with mere guidance. This means that, in practice, it will be for employers to decide what Coronavirus-related measures are appropriate to implement in the workplace.
Employers have a duty of care in respect of the health and safety of their employees, visitors and the public, so they will still have to have regard to the dangers of COVID-19 within their health and safety risk assessments. Measures we expect to see at many workplaces in line with government guidance include:
• continued use of facemasks, especially in sectors that have a high degree of contact with the public;
• increased provision of PPE (relative to the position prior to the pandemic), including hand sanitiser and face masks;
• a move towards a hybrid working model to reduce the number of people in the workplace;
• greater use of ‘no jab, no job’ employment contracts;
• continued social distancing in confined spaces such as lifts, taxis, meeting rooms, etc.;
• changes to the workplace lay-out to provide for increased ventilation, socially-distanced working and plexiglass screens/dividers; and
• regular lateral flow testing of staff.
Perhaps the most contentious issues we foresee for employers relate to the recall of staff into the workplace. Some employees have (understandably) become very used to working from home and, confident that they can do their job remotely, have no desire to return to the workplace.
In this situation employers would be best advised to meaningfully engage with the employee’s objections before simply demanding that the employee get back to work. If no accommodation can be achieved and there is nothing preventing the employee from returning to work, then disciplinary action for failure to follow a reasonable instruction may be an option.
Some employees (especially the clinically vulnerable) will not feel safe returning to work due to the threat of COVID-19. This situation must be handled with care because employees have a legal right not to be subjected to a detriment if they remove themselves from the workplace in circumstances where they reasonably perceive serious danger associated with them remaining in the workplace.
In such a circumstance the employer needs to satisfy itself that it has discharged its duty of care and that its premises are COVID-secure to allay the concerns of the employee in question. If this still does not satisfy the employee and they simply refuse to return, then termination of the contract of employment can be considered. However, this is not a step to be taken lightly as any dismissal related to an employee’s health and safety concerns will almost certainly invite a claim in the employment tribunal.
The Governments Covid-19 Recovery Strategy
The 50 page document published by the government on 11th May can be viewed and downloaded here
Staying alert and safe (social distancing) View Here
How to wear and make a cloth face covering View Here
Which businesses should remain closed View here
Working safely during coronavirus
Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic including supporting the Mental Health and wellbeing of people View here.
High street Support
From Monday 17 May, pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be able to:
- serve groups of 6 people or 2 households indoors
- serve groups of up to 30 people outdoors
- provide indoor entertainment
Check if you’re eligible for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs
The Christmas Support Payment (CSP) supports wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions. View here
View and Download the most up-to-date advice on our Covid-19 business support here: PDF Business Support Interventions for Covid-19 – At A Glance 11/01/2021
View previous Covid-19 webinars
If you missed our webinars the first time round, you can catch up here.
Financial Support for businesses
Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England that have been impacted by Omicron are now able to access grants of up to £6,000 as a one-off support payment from their local authority. Grants will be awarded per premises depending on rateable value. Other businesses that have been affected, such as those that supply the hospitality and leisure sectors as well as personal care services, are able to apply for grants from their local council. Businesses are encouraged to apply to their council for grant funding which will be administered over the coming weeks.
£1 billion in support for businesses most impacted by Omicron across the UK
Additional support will be available for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced today (21 December). View here
Chancellor announces £4.6bn of business support grants in lockdown
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors impacted by the lockdown can receive a one off grant of up to £9,000. Read more
COVID-19 support is available to businesses. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed.Use the checker tool to find out what COVID-19 financial support is available for you or see a list of financial support measures for businesses
Changes to the Furlough Scheme
From 1 July 2021, the amount the Government contributes towards unworked hours for workers on furlough has changed. Between 1 November 2020 and 30 June 2021, the Government contributed 80% for unworked hours (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month). From 1 July 2021, the Government’s contribution reduced from 80% to 70% and it will reduce again in August to 60%. Employers will need to top up the 10% and 20% respectively to ensure any workers who are furloughed receive at least 80% of their normal pay (or £2,500, whichever is lower). Subject to any contractual arrangement to the contrary, it is up to the employer to decide if they would like to cover the full difference between the amount contributed by the Government and the employee’s normal salary. This will remain the case until furlough ends on 30 September 2021. View here
Business Growth Grant – Contingency Planning & Crisis Management Advice and Consultancy Grant from the HEY LEP Growth Hub
Grants to cover 40% of the cost of working with a specialist/advisor/consultant to help mitigate the business operations impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your business, of projects totalling £2,500 to £12,500. Available to SMEs with less than 250 FTE staff and
≤€50 million turnover only. An application form, last set of company accounts, a bank statement and one written quote for the required goods/service are needed. Growth Hub Advisor support available to complete the application and collate supporting documentation. Grants will be offered within 5 working days of receipt of application.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Finance for Growth Grant – Supporting access to Financial Advice & Consultancy From the HEY LEP Growth hub
Grants to cover 40% of the cost of working with a specialist/advisor/consultant to help mitigate the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your business, of projects totalling £2,500 to £24,999. Available to SMEs with less than 250 FTE staff and ≤€50 million turnover only. An application form, last set of company accounts, a bank statement and one written quote for the required goods/service are needed. Growth Hub Advisor available to complete the application and collate supporting documentation. Grants will be offered within 5 working days of receipt
Email: Business.Investment@hullcc.gov.uk for more information.
Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)
The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) supports businesses that have been required to close due to temporary COVID-19 local lockdown restrictions imposed by the government. View here
HMRC Covid-19 financial support videos.
HMRC have a number of videos on Youtube giving details of all the financial support schemes. View here
Coronavirus business financial support Toolkits
The Government have launched tools to help businesses find coronavirus financial support. The support finders will show which loans, tax relief and cash grants a business can access.
View here and here
Support for businesses paying tax From HMRC
Businesses in financial distress/with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis.
Dedicated Covid-19 Helpline: 0800 0159 559 and further guidance is available from here
Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), the Yorkshire-based responsible finance provider has received an increased allocation of CBILS guarantee to help SMEs deal with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. BEF welcomes applications Here
Local Authority Grants for Retail , Leisure and Hospitality sector
Under the January new lockdown rules new Grants of up to £9,000 will be made available to retail, leisure and hospitality businesses that occupy a commercial property with a rateable value. The grants will be administered by local authorities and will be made on a one-off “top-up” basis to businesses that have had to close during the January 2021 national lockdown. The grants will be allocated to closed businesses as follows:
. £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
. £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
. £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
Any business which is legally required to close, and which cannot operate effectively remotely, is eligible. The Governments full details here.
Applications will be made available on your Local Authority websites below once they have received guidance from the Government.
Local Authority Additional Restrictions Grants
These are discretionary grants that can be paid to businesses forced to close which do not have a business rates account and are therefore ineligible for the LRSG or those businesses that are not required to close but have been severely impacted.
Information on how to apply can be found at your local Authority:
Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) for Closed Businesses.
The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG-Closed) supports businesses that have been required to close due to temporary COVID-19 local lockdown restrictions imposed by the government.
Eligible businesses are entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 14 day period they are closed. Information on how to apply can be found at your local Authority:
East Riding CC
View and Download the Business Rates Grants in the Guidance PDF file here Business Rate Guidance
Coronavirus Community Grant Fund Two Ridings Community Fund From Hull CC and East Riding CC
Grants of up to £10,000 to deal with emerging issues in the community as a result of the continuing threat of coronavirus. Must be a voluntary organisation, community group, small charity or other not for profit organisation View here
HM Treasury and the Bank of England Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF)
CCFF will provide additional help to firms to bridge through Covid 19-related disruption to their cash flows. View here
Deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Temporary changes to the VAT payments due was initially between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 but it has now been extended to help businesses manage their cash flow. View here
Deferral of Self-Assessment TAX payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can delay making your second payment on account. You’ll not be charged interest or penalties as long as you pay before 31 January 2021. View here
Innovate UK COVID-19 Financial support
One year on, Innovate UK has delivered a £750 million investment to support thousands of companies to survive and thrive through COVID-19.
Job Support Scheme (JSS)
The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped. The scheme was due to open 1st November 2020 but has been postponed.
Job Restart Scheme
The Restart scheme will give Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for at least 12 months enhanced support to find jobs in their local area. View here
Job Entry Targeted Support scheme
Is providing six months of personalised support for people who have been unable to find work within the first 3 months of unemployment.
Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to Covid Restrictions
The government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the Chancellor announced today, 9 October.
Job Retention scheme calculator
Calculate how much you can claim here
Job Retention scheme template
Employers can now also download a template if you’re claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme here
Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back
Find out how to pay all or some of your grant back if you’ve overclaimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. View here
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Refund for SMEs Administered via HMRC
Refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID19. View here
New package to support and enforce self-isolation
People will be required by law to self-isolate from 28 September, supported by payment of £500 for those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result .
Trade Credit Insurance
Trade Credit Insurance, which provides essential cover to hundreds of thousands of business-to-business transactions, will receive up to £10 billion of government guarantees.The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme, which has been agreed following extensive discussions with the insurance sector, will see the vast majority of Trade Credit Insurance coverage maintained across the UK.The guarantees will support supply chains and help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to trade with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment.The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and available to insurers operating in the UK market. View here
Community business support
Power to Change, is an independent trust that supports community businesses in England, is launching up to £12 million of emergency support to provide both immediate and medium-term help for community businesses facing a loss of trading income during the coronavirus crisis.
Coronavirus Community Support Fund
The Government has funding for small and medium sized charities and social enterprises to help maintain and enhance services for vulnerable people affected by the pandemic . View here
Manufacturing Growth Programme
SME manufacturers across England have been given a £6.5m funding boost to help them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and address key barriers to growth View here
Emergency Funding Package – Grants for Arts Organisations
Arts Council England are making £160 million of emergency funding available for those organisations and individuals who will need it during this crisis, and have also changed the funding requirements for
individuals and organisations currently in receipt of their funding.
The Government have a package of measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. View here
Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme
The Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network scheme aim to enhance resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19, and enable SMEs to develop their potential for future growth and productivity. View here
Support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations
Who are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors. View here
HMRC have planned a number of webinars to help businesses with the impact of coronavirus on your busininess. You can view existing webinars and register for new webinars here.
Support for Employers and Employees from Jobcentre Plus
A range of advice to help your business overcome challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find advice on next steps and the best ways to support your staff. View here
Employees showing mild viral symptoms – possibly coronavirus. What should I do?
Anyone who shows certain symptoms should stay at home for 10 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas. This means employees should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 10 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.
Employees showing mild viral symptoms – possibly coronavirus. What should I do?
The most common symptoms of coronavirus are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/ or a high temperature. Public Health England have updated their guidance.
Government advice here
COVID-19: guidance for employees
This covers help with issues including, Staying at home,working from home and sick pay. View here
Free childcare offers to continue during coronavirus closures
Funding for the government’s early years entitlements will continue during any periods of nursery, preschool or childminder closures, or where children cannot attend due to coronavirus. View here
The Prime Minister reassured that businesses affected by the recommendation of the Government to avoid hospitality and leisure venues will be covered of the impact of lost trade under their insurances policies.
Protection for commercial rental tenants
Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. View here
Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19
Businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19. View here
Coronavirus guidance for Companies House customers
Companies House has robust plans in place to maintain services for their customers. View here
Trade Associations Support
Business representative Organisations are providing Coronavirus(Covid-19) related support for specific sectors. View here
Coronavirus guidance for the charity sector
Guidance to help with running your charity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.View here
Guidance for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations
Information and advice for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus outbreak.View here
Private organisations Guidance
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Covid-19 Business Guidance
The FSB have some support for businesses relating to the virus.
The CBI Covid-19 Business Guidance
The CBI have some support for businesses relating to the virus
RSM UK Covid-19 Business Guidance
RSM UK is a leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services to middle market leaders, globally. download their coronavirus guidance PDF file 2020 Budget Practical steps
MAKEuk Covid-19 Business Guidance
Makeuk are the manufacturers Organisation, they have guidance for the impact of coronavirus on manufacturers. View here.
Reach plc Covid-19 Business Guidance
Reach plc, the UK’s biggest commercial national and regional news media publisher launched a new initiative aimed at supporting the UK’s local business community throughout the COVID-19 crisis. View here
Acas Covid-19 Business Guidance
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service have guidance for employers and employees. View here
CompanyDebt Covid-19 Business Guidance
Company Debt provides business rescue and insolvency services to large, medium and small businesses View Here
Real Business Rescue – Business Support
An organisation who provide support via free, specialist advice designed to help keep businesses afloat, particularly in this current climate.
The Money Advice Service
The organisation provides free financial support for businesses and the self employed. View here
Help for your business including:
Which route is for you – liquidation or administration?
Closing your limited company due to Covid-19
What are the current Covid-19 Wrongful Trading rules?
Covid-19 is having an impact on the food sector with many parts of the industry struggling to find members of staff for more details View here
The Education and Skills Funding Agency has issued the following advice about the Apprenticeship programs response to Covid-19 View here
How Digital Technology can help businesses deal with Covid19.
Businesses across the globe are putting new policies and approaches in place to continue operating and to keep people safe amidst the Covid19 pandemic. This article provides a few pointers on how businesses can use digital technology to deal with Covid19.
Chances are that most businesses will require more people to work from home. This presents four immediate challenges:
- Do employees and partners have access to the relevant hardware? This includes, laptops, and smart phones. If not, you will need to look to supply the appropriate hardware to effected employees.
- Do employees have access to the right applications and information from their hardware? Can they access software and information over the cloud, through applications like Google or Microsoft 365 or do they have to be on a physical network?
- Do your employees have good enough broadband connectivity? Remember that there could be other people working from home as well as a few kids gaming online due to a school closure. Are you able to upgrade broadband for them or cover the cost of upgrading?
- Having more people working remotely presents security challenges – this article on Cybersecurity for small businesses will provide some pointers.
Continuing conversations and collaboration:
Conversations are an important by-product of collocation, they lead to ideas, coordination and effective team spirit. Email is not the place to try to facilitate conversations. A few easy to implement ideas include:
- Utilise technology and apps that people already have and are familiar with such as WhatsApp. Set up team groups so that they can share ideas, insights, ask questions and have a quick face-to-face video call.
- Use collaboration tools such as Slack or Trello to communicate, coordinate and collaborate on projects.
- Use video conferencing and the web to facilitate training and events. Several technology companies such as Google and Microsoft are making advanced features available to businesses for free as part of their wider response to the Covid19 pandemic.
- When introducing these new applications people must be clear on which applications are to be used and for which purpose, the types of information that can and cannot be shared and stored.
Continuing to deliver your products and services:
- Consider which physical touchpoints could be replaced with digital touchpoints? How can you use video conferencing, chatbots, automation to service customers?
- Remember that using digital technology to communicate with customers doesn’t have to come at the cost of a personal experience.
- Are there any innovations, could you use Augmented Reality to better demonstrate your products or deliver training and events?
Monitor measure and control:
One of the major issues that leaders have with remote working is the loss of visibility and control. Just seeing that people are sat at their desks provides some tangible comfort. Introducing or making better use of existing Enterprise Resource Planning or Customer Relationship Management software can help to provide better visibility of what’s going on across the business and how well its resources are performing across the customer journey.
Our Digital Technology Experts are here to help
Businesses in the HEY LEP area can access valuable expertise from our team of Digital Technology Experts. To speak to one of the team call 01482 686 700 or email email@example.com or click here for more information.
Smashed Crab Studio Ltd (Microsoft silver Partners)
Has some IT support for businesses with 5 Tasks for Business Owners During Downtime.
Digital Skills Toolkit
The Governments Skills Toolkit provides a range of free, high quality digital & numeracy courses, which could benefit both your employees & your business at no cost to you. View here
National Cyber Security Centre
The National Cyber Security Centre has issued new guidance for businesses that are moving operations online. It covers home working and video conferencing, suggesting questions that you should be asking your IT provider. View here
Growth Hub Business Advisor
If you are looking for some support for your Hull or East Yorkshire business then please contact one of our Business Advisors. You can find the contact details for the advisors in your region here
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