Useful Phone Numbers

The Government is operating a business helpline which is available to individual businesses on 0300 456 3565.

HMRC Business Support Helpline – 0800 024 1222

HMRC have opened a dedicated helpline for businesses and the self-employed to answer queries or concerns regarding tax payments and finding solutions including:

    • agreeing an instalment arrangement
    • suspending debt collection proceedings
    • cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-helpline-to-support-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19

  

Employment Guidance

The EIF website has a range of guidances covering employment from HR specialists Ellis Whittam which you might find helpful.  These cover advice on redundancies to home working and include a sample risk assessment template.  You will find these at https://www.eventsindustryforum.co.uk/index.php/the-events-industry-forum/10-coronavirus-advice

There are also a number of useful points for guidance available from Government and other bodies, including:

Financial Support

Business Support

Link to information launched 23rd March

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-business-support-to-launch-from-today

Link to dedicated web site with support available for businesses

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

Furlough Leave

We have been receiving lots of enquiries about the Government support for paying wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).  This provides support by refunding employers 80% of the cost of wages for employees who are “furloughed”.  This unfamiliar word relates to being sent home without work and without pay whilst being retained as an employee.  As this is a variation to the employment contract it requires agreement from the employees but as the alternative is redundancy that is unlikely to be a problem.

If furloughed, employees cannot work for you whilst at home, and probably not for anyone else either, as they are still under contract to you.  If you are having to choose who to furlough you should use what would have been the redundancy selection criteria, and be careful not to discriminate against those with protected characteristics e.g. age, sex, religion, disability etc.  You do not have to top-up the 80% pay. If you can afford to, and if for example, the furloughed employee is a valued employee, you are permitted to pay the 20% shortfall.

There is a cap of £2,500 per month per person but it is not clear yet is whether the limit is 80% of £2,500 or whether the 80% is capped at £2,500.  Since you may be wanting to start putting people on furlough leave before the rules are entirely clear, I suggest erring on the side of caution and assuming the lower amount.  It is also not clear whether the 80% reimbursement has to include Employers NI contributions.  As far as we know so far there is nothing to stop business owners who are directors being furloughed, but this may be clarified.  I also suspect there will be some sort of anti-abuse rules to prevent suddenly inflated salaries being paid.

We attach a template for an agreement with your employees, which makes provision for adjustments to be made to payments if errors are made before the rules are clarified.  You will need to tailor this to suit your own circumstances.

We hope you find this summary helpful, and will update you as more information become available about how to claim the refund and what the likely timescale is.

Coronavirus WhatsApp Information Service

The Govt has started a Whatsapp information service get provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus out to as many people as possible. It will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting via a chatbot.

To use this free service, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-coronavirus-information-service-on-whatsapp

Collated Advice for Charity Sector

The Government has collated all the advice and support available to the Charity Sector together on one page. This includes sectors on guidance for workers, guidance on fundraising and funding opportunities and guidance on Volunteers

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-guidance-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-organisations#guidance-about-funding-and-fundraising

Government Plan to Tackle Loneliness

The Government has launched a new campaign to tackle loneliness caused by the current lock-down. This includes loneliness being priority category of £750 million charity funding package

Guaranteed, a £5 million boost for national loneliness organisations and guidance on supporting yourself and others safely. This is useful for businesses protecting the mental health of employees that they have had to furlough.

https://letstalkloneliness.co.uk/

Non-Governmental Coronavirus Advice

The Government has put together a couple of lists which are handy to have – the first is public bodies, organisations and charities have produced additional resources that may be useful to employers and employees. This includes organisations such as ACAS, Business in the Community and Companies House

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-support-for-business-from-outside-government

The second is a BEIS produced list of Trade and Business Organisations that are providing sector-specific advice on Coronavirus. It’s not particularly comprehensive but it’s a start.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-support-from-business-representative-organisations-and-trade-associations

Updated List of Relaxed Rules

The list of rules that have been relaxed to help businesses have been updated to include Companies House filings, Statutory Residence Test, Driver CPC requirements and navigation charges.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rules-that-have-been-relaxed-to-help-businesses-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

Government Webinars on Supporting Staff and the Self-Employed

The Government has updated it’s webpage on resources to help businesses to include webinars aimed at helping businesses understand the support available. Here are the links for topics that cover supporting and retaining staff and the self-employed – you can register to attend future webinars or watch recorded sessions

Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide

Please download The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide for Event Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Getting back to work

Coming back to work after Covid-19 May 2020
Return to Work Cleaning Checklist
Responding to a Positive Covid-19 test May 2020
iDISPLAY Thermometer Brochure
Fever screening control system

WHO

Please see attached WHO Mass gathering information.

Also link to information here
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/points-of-entry-and-mass-gatherings

Also a link to a WHO Risk Assessment template
https://www.who.int/who-documents-detail/mass-gathering-risk-assessment-covid-19-key-considerations

Key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19

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