The situation in relation to Coronavirus is rapidly evolving and things are changing every day. We find ourselves asking the same questions as many of you, at this time all we can do is share with you what we know when we know it.
“We have seen a significant increase to calls and emails to the office around all this uncertainty, we still have our normal workload to complete, tax end of year and a disbursed workforce due to some having to self-isolate, therefore we ask if you would kindly review the below information to take the strain off our staff resources to ensure we can meet your payroll deadlines”.
- ACAS Guidance for Employers & Employees
- Gov Coronavirus Response
- Gov Guidance for Employers
- Gov Support for Employers
- CIPP News & Coronavirus Payroll Updates
- UC Coronavirus and Claiming Benefits
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Detailed Guidance
SSP – Statutory Sick Pay
It was announced that SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) will be payable from day 1 where an employee is advised to self-isolate whether they display symptoms or not. Employers with less than 250 employees as at 28 February 2020 will be able to reclaim 2 weeks’ SSP paid to an employee. This became effective from the 13th March 2020.
If an employee does not qualify for SSP, then they may be able to claim Universal Credit.
Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note; Employees can now obtain an isolation note here: https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/.
The Impact Of Changes On Payroll
SSP has not been reclaimable by any employer for many years now and there is no current facility to be able to reclaim any SSP payment via payroll/RTI at this time. The government is working with employers, payroll software and other stakeholders over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.
Employers should be prepared to fund the SSP payments themselves for the interim.
Most payroll software will not allow SSP to be paid from day one; a manual payment/override will have to suffice until software updates are released.
We suspect that SSP will be reclaimed by deducting the amounts paid from your future PAYE payments made to HMRC, however, until that time you must pay the full amount of PAYE due to HMRC on time.
Time to Pay
If you are having difficulty in paying your PAYE due to Coronavirus you must contact HMRC dedicated helpline to arrange a payment plan on 0800 015 9559.
You have to pay interest if you pay late. You may avoid penalties by contacting HMRC as soon as possible.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
On the 26th March 2020, the wording has changed on the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which now states what we have also been told by the HMRC employers helpline in that, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant.
At 8:47 PM HMRC released the following detailed guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.