Update on measures for employers in light of Coronavirus
The Government has announced a number of measures to assist employers during this period with the aim to protect jobs as far as possible. We have been providing regular updates on these as they have been announced and will continue to provide further details as these are announced.
The key measures in summary are as follows:
Statutory Sick Pay during Self-Isolation
Under normal Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”) rules, an employee is not paid for the first three days of absence, but new rules mean if an employee is off due to self-isolating, they will receive SSP from day one. Employees will still need to earn at least £118 each week to qualify for the SSP payment. To make it easier for employees to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home, HMRC are developing an alternative form of evidence to the fit note which will shortly be available through the NHS website.
Repayment of SSP
Small and medium sized businesses will be able to have the SSP for employees who are off work due to coronavirus repaid in full although the mechanism for this is not yet in place.
Job Retention Scheme
One of the most important measures introduced is the Job Retention Scheme which allows employers to furlough staff if the employer has had to close due to coronavirus or there is no work for the employee as a result of coronavirus. The government will reimburse furloughed employees’ gross salary up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer national insurance and employer basic pension costs. Please see our FAQs on this topic.
Expenses for working from home
Where employees incur additional costs for working from home it is possible for the employer to reimburse the employees for such costs. This has normally been reserved for those working under home working contracts but HMRC have confirmed this can apply for all those working from home due to coronavirus. Employees need to retain details of the additional costs they have incurred or a general allowance of £6 per week can be paid (rate increased from £4 per week from 1st April).
Time to pay helpline
A special helpline has been established to assist in time to pay arrangements if you are unable to make your payments as normal due to coronavirus. You can contact HMRC on 0800 024 1222.
Businesses with contractors who may have been affected by the changes to be introduced will be relieved to know that these have now been deferred until April 2021.
Reporting deadlines unchanged!
Whilst the financial measures above are certainly helpful it is important to note that there have been no changes to the reporting deadlines for end of year employment returns.
- 5th April 2020 The final full payment submission (“FPS”) for 2019-20 should be filed on or before and the employer payment summary (“EPS”) by 19th April.
- 5th July 2020. If you wish to apply for the first time for a PSA arrangement so that the business meets the tax and national insurance costs on certain expenses the application must be made by 5th July. If you had a PSA arrangement for an earlier year this will continue for 2019-20. Whilst there is no statutory deadline for filing PSA calculations HMRC request that these are submitted as soon as possible after the tax year end.
- 6th July 2020. Employers are required to submit a form P11D and P11D(b) to HMRC by 6 July 2020 detailing any benefits in kind provided and certain expenses payments made to or on behalf of directors and most employees. No P11ds are required where you have registered to payroll the benefits but a P11D(b) will still be required to report any Class 1A NIC payable.
- 6th July 2020. Any company which has EMI options or who have issued shares or non-qualifying options to employees in the year will also need to file the appropriate returns for these schemes. Please note that if you have filed a return in the past you will be required to file a return for 2019-20 as well unless the scheme has been closed with HMRC. Failure to report can lead to automatic penalties.
- 19th July 2020. The business will need to pay Class 1A National Insurance on any benefits provided and the payment will be due by 19 July 2020.
- 19th October 2020. Final payment date for tax and national insurance due under a PSA (22nd October for electronic payments).
There are penalties for the late filing of any of these forms, in addition to further penalties and interest on any late payments. Whilst it may be more difficult to collate the necessary information in the current circumstances it is important these are not overlooked.
For more information
For more information on anything raised in this update, please contact us on: