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COVID-19: Book your booster vaccination ,  test regularly and follow new guidance

COVID-19 advice for business FAQs

Date updated: 8/04/2021

We've put together some answers to frequently asked questions on best practice.

A set of FAQs for businesses on Step 4 of the Roadmap is also available, alongside guidance for a range of settings, which includes reporting positive cases of COVID-19 within your workplace.

The government has published a briefing document on its Plan for Jobs, setting out the following schemes aimed at helping employers:

  • The Kickstart Scheme – The government will introduce a new scheme aimed at those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
  • Traineeships – the government will provide funding for employers to offer work experience to trainees aged 16 – 24 year olds, at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.
  • Apprenticeships – between 1 August 2020 and 30 September 2021, businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for each apprentice who is aged 25 and over.

Local guidance for a range of settings is available, as well as a set of FAQs for businesses.

Business Healthy, a Public Health-led City of London Corporation initiative, provides free support and signposting to City employers of all sizes and sectors, to help them to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce. A wide spectrum of topics are covered by Business Healthy, including mental health and physical wellbeing. 

Skills development

To support employers, City of London Corporation Skills Team have created a list of free resources that may help you and your staff during COVID-19. The list focuses on digital skills, how to best work from home and mental health resources.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

If you are an employer with a PAYE scheme, you can get support to continue paying part of your employees’ salary instead of making staff redundant. This is also known as putting them ‘on furlough’.

This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working because of coronavirus, but are being kept on the payroll. You can claim for the hours they have not worked.

The scheme is open until 30 September 2021.

The government will pay:

  • 80% of employees’ usual wages for hours they do not work, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, until the end of June
  • 70% of employees’ usual wages for hours they do not work, up to a maximum of £2187.50 per month, until the end of July
  • 60% of employees’ usual wages for hours they do not work, up to a maximum of £1875 per month, until the end of August and September

Check if you are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure

If you’re eligible, you:

  • may get 66% off your business rates bills for the rest of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) - up to a total value of £2 million

You will receive:

  • up to £2m if your business was required to close on 5 January 2021
  • up too £105,000 if your business was permitted to open on 5 January 2021

You’re eligible if your property is a:

  • shop
  • restaurant, café, bar or pub
  • cinema or live music venue
  • leisure or assembly property - for example, a sports club, a gym or a spa
  • hospitality property - for example, a hotel, a guest house or self-catering accommodation

Contact your local council if you think you’re eligible.

Statutory Sick Pay

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. 

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme is to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period.

You can get up to £10 million, but the actual amount offered will be at the discretion of participating lenders. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender, but you will still be responsible for your debt.

The scheme is open until 31 December 2021.

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is trading in the UK

You need to show that your business:

  • would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • has been adversely impacted by the pandemic
  • is not in collective insolvency proceedings (unless your business is in scope of the Northern Ireland Protocol in which case different eligibility rules may apply)

Businesses from any sector can apply, except:

  • banks, building societies, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

Find out if your business is eligible for the Recovery Loan Scheme

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

If you are an employer with a PAYE scheme, you can get support to continue paying part of your employees’ salary instead of making staff redundant. This is also known as putting them ‘on furlough’.

This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working because of coronavirus, but are being kept on the payroll. You can claim for the hours they have not worked.

The scheme is open until 30 September 2021.

The government will pay:

  • 80% of employees’ usual wages for hours they do not work, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, until the end of June
  • 70% of employees’ usual wages for hours they do not work, up to a maximum of £2187.50 per month, until the end of July
  • 60% of employees’ usual wages for hours they do not work, up to a maximum of £1875 per month, until the end of August and September

Check if you are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Statutory Sick Pay

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme is to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period.

You can get up to £10 million, but the actual amount offered will be at the discretion of participating lenders. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender, but you will still be responsible for your debt.

The scheme is open until 31 December 2021.

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is trading in the UK

You need to show that your business:

  • would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • has been adversely impacted by the pandemic
  • is not in collective insolvency proceedings (unless your business is in scope of the Northern Ireland Protocol in which case different eligibility rules may apply)

Businesses from any sector can apply, except:

  • banks, building societies, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

Find out if your business is eligible for the Recovery Loan Scheme

Governance & Reporting Guidance 

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have announced a series of actions to ease the governance and reporting burden on firms, including guidance for companies

Companies House has encouraged firms to file necessary documents with them online, and advised firms to apply for more time. Businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension to avoid penalties.

The Intellectual Property Office has said it will support rights applicants and their attorneys affected by coronavirus where possible. 

The Cabinet has announced relaxed procurement regulations.

The Competition and Markets Authority are relaxing regulations to allow retailers to work together more closely. 

Advice on financial requirements and auditing during coronavirus is available from the Financial Reporting Council.

The Chartered Governance Institute has published a new guidance note on AGMs and the impact of Covid-19.

If you feel that you can help the Government in dealing with the spread of this virus, there are a number of contacts we’re able to share with you. 

If you want to support relief efforts around COVID-19, we’ve pulled together some ways that you or your business can help.