Here to Help: Coronavirus (COVID-19) & paying employees

coronavirus (covid-19) & paying employees
By Anthony Wolny | 24th March 2020 | 14 min read

Measures announced by the government affecting employee’s pay.

On 20 March 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government is going to cover up to 80% of the current wage level of employees that would otherwise have been laid off during the Coronavirus pandemic, provided they are kept on the employer’s payroll.

An employee that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis will be designated as a “furloughed” worker

There will be a ceiling of £2,500 a month on salaries to which this applies.

Employers can still top up salaries above this level if they choose to.

The new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will apply to all employers and will be backdated for those who have been unable to work since 1st March 2020.

To find out how much you can claim, check out HMRC's Furlough Calculator here.

The Scheme is expected to last for at least 3 months, will likely be extended, and is part of the Government's measures to protect jobs at the present time. We await much of the detail of how this Scheme will work in practice.

HMRC will be setting up an online portal on which employers will submit information about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings and other details which are still to be confirmed. HMRC hopes to be able to make the first grants under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme within weeks and they are aiming to have the portal up and running before the end of April.

For information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and other initiatives to support businesses such as VAT deferral, see covid-19-support-for-businesses

In the meantime, it is encouraging those who may face short term cash flow problems to consider if they qualify for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

See coronavirus business Interruption loan scheme

Removal of SSP waiting days & Refund of Statutory Sick Pay

1) SSP will be available from day 1 instead of day 4 for eligible employees. Payroll SSP rules will not support this initiative. Employer’s will have to override the SSP calculated value in payroll.


2) Businesses can reclaim SSP paid to employees for up to 2 weeks sickness absence due to COVID-19.

Eligible for small and medium-sized businesses and employers with a workforce of <250 employees.

HMRC are consulting with stakeholders on how businesses will reclaim SSP paid in relation to COVID-19.

IR35 in the private sector will be delayed until April 2021 to help businesses and contractors

Off-payroll working rules, which were introduced in the public sector in April 2019 and were due to be implemented in the private sector in April 2020, have been delayed until April 2021.