Although the country is slowly starting to open up, many businesses and self-employed continue to feel the impact of the long lockdown. Certain restrictions still apply and those have an impact on how businesses can operate. This means the Government has continued to review and adjust its coronavirus response and new announcements regarding the big coronavirus schemes made in recent weeks.
Two major developments stand out and below you can find a summary of the second Self Employed Income Support Scheme that’s been introduced, as well as information on the extension to Statutory Sick Pay cover.
The second SEISS Grant – Available grants, eligibility and the application process
The Chancellor has announced that HMRC will extend the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for a further three months. Applications for the second grant will open in August, with HMRC set to announce further details on 12 June.
How much can you receive?
According to the initial information released, the grant will be payable at a level equivalent to 70% of the annual average monthly profits, which means the second SEISS grant will be less than its predecessor, which covers 80% of the annual average monthly profits. The grant will also be capped at £2,190 per month, which means the maximum payable amount will be £6,570.
The qualifying conditions for the second SEISS grant will remain the same as for the first grant. This would mean that traders who started their business on or after 6 April 2019 would still be ineligible for the second grant. HMRC has already confirmed that you do not have to claim the first SEISS grant to be eligible for the second instalment.
The application process
The second SEISS grant will require a new application, regardless of whether you applied for the first grant or not. Like with the first SEISS grant, you will need to confirm your business has been adversely affected by the coronavirus – this could be loss of customers or problems in the supply chain.
Please remember that the applications for the first SEISS grant are still open. You can apply until 13 July.
You can read more about the conditions, eligibility and the application process from our previous blog post on the SEISS grant.
The SSP cover extension – including ‘track and trace’ self-isolation into the scheme
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (CSSPRS) allows eligible employers to reclaim up to 14 days of SSP payments if their employees have been absent because of COVID-19. The specific SSP scheme was designed to meet the unique needs created by the coronavirus.
The basic Statutory Sick Pay would have only covered those who were sick with the virus. However, because of the requirement to self-isolate, even in cases where the person shows no symptoms, the Government had to introduce a way to cover certain exceptional situations and help businesses with the financial cost. The rebate scheme has so far covered employees who have been absent due to:
- COVID-19 related sickness
We recently outlined the way the scheme works. You can find the post here with information about eligibility and the application process.
The regulations have now been extended further to work along the new ‘track and trace’ procedures. The system, which has different names depending on which nation of the UK you are in, will require people to self-isolate if they are traced to have been in contact with a person with coronavirus – even if they don’t show symptoms. The ‘track and trace’ procedures are called:
- NHS Test and Trace in England
- Test, Trace, Protect in Wales
- Test and Protect in Scotland
- Test, Trace and Protect in Northern Ireland
Individuals who are traced will be contacted by the relevant authority, depending on which nation the person is in, and asked to self-isolate for the required period. This means they can’t attend work during this time.
For employers, the important thing to note is that those employees, who have been traced and are self-isolating, are entitled to be considered for SSP. The employee simply has to meet the other conditions to be eligible for the scheme and you need to ask the employee to provide you with proof of the tracing – i.e. a notification from the relevant authority regarding it.
Furthermore, traced individuals won’t have to serve the three waiting days so usual waiting days are ignored for SSP. Employers can recover SSP paid for the first 14 days even in the cases of tracing.
However, you can only recover the first 14 days in one coronavirus absence. The same employee cannot have more than one period of 14 days recovered through the scheme.
To recap, the SSP is now available for the first 14 days in COVID-19 related employee absence due to:
- Track and trace required self-isolation
The portal to apply for SSP cover is now open and you can apply for the scheme here.
Getting help with the SEISS grants and SSP rebate scheme
The past months have not been easy for small businesses and the self-employed. The economic impact of the virus has been felt across industries and businesses are struggling – while different measures have been taken to help with the financial costs, navigating these different coronavirus schemes is not easy.
At Devonshire Green, we have a long history in helping small businesses deal with their finances. If you want to talk about the coronavirus schemes and get help with your second SEISS grant or the SSP extension, we can help you understand how to make the most out of the schemes. Contact us today and let’s make sure your business gets back on track!