Dedicated Covid19 website for guidance and support

In these uncertain times we wanted to contact all our clients to let you know we are here to offer support and guidance over the next few months.

With a vast amount of rapidly changing guidance information available, we are really pleased to now be able to offer to you a link to a website  for our clients featuring C19 support, news and tools:

You can rely on us to help with Government Grants and other support to help you and your business survive.

Please see the tools and resources we have developed to help which are updated regularly.

We will continue to complete your accounts, VAT, payroll and tax returns in a timely manner.

Together we will get through this. Keep safe and stay healthy.

Coronavirus support for the self employed – update 9.4.20

The self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) was announced on 26 March, and now we have more details of how this scheme will work in practice. Details below:

Coronavirus support for the self employed – update 9.4.20

Coronavirus government support update

Currently, most of the questions being asked of us are in respect of the support available for employees.  Whilst the guidance provided by the Government has been updated, there is still a lot we do not know and are probably not going to get black and white answers to, for all situations. However, I thought it would be useful to share some of the frequently asked questions to help you.  There are 3 documents covering 48 questions, but I would suggest you start on the most recent, Q31-48, as some of the earlier ones have now been superseded.

Please note, at the moment it is still not possible to actually make the claim.

I’ve also attached a slightly updated Furlough agreement – this should be signed by both you as employer and the employee who is being put on Furlough and retained for your records.  

One of the points that has come out of the recent guidance is that to apply for the recovery of the Furlough payment you will need to have an online HMRC PAYE account.  Many of you already have this in place, as you would require it for VAT but you may not have PAYE attached to it, especially if Liric have been your payroll agents.  We will send out a separate email with the relevant information on how to apply for this, or to attach PAYE to an existing account.

The link to the Government guidance on the CJRS is

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) FAQ’s Q1-12 as at 30.3.20

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) FAQ’s Q13-30 as at 31.3.20

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) FAQ’s Q31-48 as at 6.4.20

Useful websites

Furlough Leave Agreement – updated 8.4.20

Directors and Furlough – update 30.3.20

There is one question we have been asked more than any other by directors since the furloughing
guidelines were issued…

Can I furlough myself?

We would like to share our updated thoughts on this subject and why you don’t have to (completely)
make your mind up just yet.

Download the PDF with more information below:

Furlough Leave Agreement

Download the leave template below:

Furlough Leave Agreement – Word Document

Coronorvirus Self-Employment Support Scheme update


Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced measures to support the self-employed and partnerships.

The scheme is called the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme (CSEISS). Please read more below.

Coronarvirus Self-Employment Support Scheme update

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Details

The government has published further details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (otherwise known as the Furlough Scheme).

It is unclear whether HMRC intends to rely on this guidance only, or whether there will be actual legislation. 

The full guidance is here:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

You need to read it; this summary is not going to be enough.

Here are the key points, some of which had not previously been announced:-

  • the scheme is open to all UK employers that had a PAYE scheme in place on 28 February 2020
  • any organisation with employees can apply, including charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities; however, the government does not expect public sector employers to use it as long as central government continues funding wage costs in the normal way.  With agency employees, the scheme is only available for agency employees who are not working.
  • employers can reclaim up to 80% of wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month, plus (not including) the associated employer NICs and minimum autoenrolment pension contributions on that wage.  Fees, commissions and bonuses are not included.
  • an employer can choose to top up to 100%, but does not have to (subject to employment law and renegotiating any contractual entitlements)
  • for employees whose pay varies, the employer can claim for the higher of (i) the same month’s earning from the previous year (eg earnings from March 2019); or (ii) average monthly earnings in the 2019-20 tax year
  • individuals are only entitled to the minimum wage for the hours they work.  So if they are furloughed and do not work, and 80% of their normal earnings would take them below the minimum wage based on their normal working hours, they still only receive 80% as they are not working.  However, they are entitled to be paid NMW for any time spent training.
  • to be eligible, the employee must have been on the payroll on 28 February 2020.  If they were hired later, they are not eligible.  Anybody who was on the payroll on 28 Feb and has since been made redundant can be rehired and put on the scheme
  • furlough leave must be taken in minimum blocks of three weeks to be eligible for funding
  • there is nothing in the guidance which prohibits rotating furlough leave amongst employees, provided each employee is off for a period of at least three weeks
  • the employee must not be working at all.  If they work for even an hour (presumably during their entire three week furlough period), they are not eligible.  However, they are able to undertake training and do volunteer work, provided they do not provide services to or make any money for their employer.
  • when agreeing changes in hours (and acceptance of 80% pay), assuming the contract does not already allow for that, normal employment law applies.  The employer must be careful not to discriminate in deciding who to offer furlough too.  My view is that prioritising vulnerable workers is unlikely to be discrimination, as prioritising the over 70s (direct age discrim against those under 70) is almost certainly justifiable, and those who do not suffer from serious health conditions are not a protected class.
  • employees on sickpay or self-isolating cannot be furloughed, but can be furloughed afterwards.  Employees who are shielding can be placed on furlough.
  • employees on maternity (or similar) leave can continue to draw SMP (or similar) payments.  The guidance does not prohibit women on maternity leave agreeing to return to work early and then being furloughed, or electing to change to shared parental leave and then being furloughed.
  • employers can only claim once every three weeks, ie they cannot get weekly reimbursement.  Claims can be backdated to 1 March 2020.

The government will issue further guidance on the mechanics of claiming the payment in due course.  It says it expects the scheme will be up and running by the end of April.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Details

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Attached is some general information about the scheme. The advice is to go to approach your own bank initially. My Barclays manager has shared with me  the minimum information that would be required to proceed with a request – see below. Clearly this will require some assistance from us if you wish to proceed with an application.  

The  huge advantage that we will have to pull the necessary information together for those of you who use our Xero or other cloud based platform for your book keeping, is that we can see your numbers, they are up to date and we can link these into other tools we have to generate the reports to show the impact a downturn in trade may have, what additional funding is required and also project forward to prepare the necessary forecasts required – so please get in touch with us if you require our help in this.

The last 2 years trading accounts, with management accounts for 2019 if 2019 full accounts are not available

All Key Directors to complete as “statement of assets and liabilities and expenditure” documemnt

Explain what the key impacts of Coronavirus have been, not just ‘Coronavirus’ but some specifics e.g. loss of clients walking through the door, forced shutdown, staff sickness.

What are your largest costs currently e.g. staffing costs, business premises costs, stock and or/other debt costs and what are you doing/done to reduce these?

Does you have up to date cash flow forecasts? Please send these to me even if basic.

When the Pandemic is resolved, how long do they believe it will take to start recovery? What challenges will you face e.g. future loss of contracts/staff availability?

What changes is your business making in the short and longer term to help drive business performance back to either pre virus levels or beyond?


Coronavirus Job retention scheme

If you have employees who would otherwise be laid off during this crisis, you may want to take advantage of the Coronavirus Job retention scheme.  As yet there is no detailed guidance published on this – hopefully it will come out very soon. We have understandably received a large number of enquiries about how this might work and so this email is designed as an overview of what we know now, and some interpretation which I have gleaned from other professionals. I hope this helps you.  Also attached is some suggested wording for an agreement for an affected employee.

Furlough Leave Agreement

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme