There were a number of measures introduced in the budget to try to protect businesses and employees against the impact of Coronavirus. Here’s our run down of some of the key points…
Sick Pay and Covid-19
It was confirmed in the budget that statutory sick pay will be available to individuals self-isolating due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Sick pay will be available from the first day of absence as opposed to day four.
Significantly, the Chancellor also announced that small businesses employing less than 250 employees will be eligible to receive a rebate from the government for statutory sick pay. This is limited to 14 days SSP per employee and the Government claims that £2 billion has been set aside to fund this. It’s estimated that this will benefit 2 million businesses.
The Chancellor announced that the Government will make it quicker and easier for the self-employed and those working in the gig economy to access benefits.
We await further specific details on this but it was announced that contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) can now be claimed from day one, rather than day eight.
The Government will also remove the minimum income floor for universal credit and people will no longer be required to physically attend a job centre but can instead go online or access the service by phone.
As expected, the Government confirmed that the changes to the IR35 rules will take effect from 6 April 2020.
You can read more about the changes to the IR35 rules here.
- The thresholds for which employees and the self-employed pay National Insurance Contributions will increase from £8,632 to £9,500 in April 2020.
- The Government will increase the Employment Allowance from £3,000 to £4,000. They estimate that this could mean that 65,000 business will no longer have to pay NIC at all, with the change benefitting some half a million businesses in total.
- The Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) Scheme will be reviewed as the Government wants to ensure that it provides support for companies with high growth in recruiting in new talent. We await more details.
- Business rates for leisure, retail and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will be abolished for this year only.
- Pubs in England with a rateable value below £100,000 will have their business rates discounted by £5,000 for this year only.