The impact of coronavirus is so wide-ranging that it is likely to have a considerable impact upon the operations of virtually every business, whether through staff absences, loss of business, supply chain problems or travel restrictions.
To help you ensure that your business is resilient to the crisis and ready to bounce back stronger in the future, we have put together the following guidance.
Communication with your staff should be your first priority, ensuring they understand how you expect the coronavirus crisis to affect the business and what measures you anticipate may be required.
Ensuring that your staff are able to work is likely to require considerably more flexibility than is usually the case.
Where the nature of an employee’s work means that they can work from home, you should ensure that logistics are in place to allow them to do so as and when this is necessary.
Where an employee is unable to work from home, you should ensure firstly that you mitigate the risk of coming into contact with coronavirus. Steps you can take here include:
You should have plans in place for a range of scenarios, given the current crisis. Steps you can take to ensure the continuation of your business might include:
The UK is seeing an unprecedented amount of disruption due to the current coronavirus outbreak and in response the Chancellor has announced a number of measures to help businesses deal with this crisis.
Understandably, business owners will be concerned during these difficult times, but they must take practical steps now to help protect themselves, their business and their staff.
To help, we have put together a checklist to give help and advice on how to try and mitigate
some of the impact of COVID-19:
HMRC is offering time to pay applications and may even waive interest and penalties on late payments for those struggling to make tax payments.
To help with the surge in applications it anticipates, HMRC has established a dedicated helpline manned by more than 2,000 personnel to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress, who may have outstanding tax liabilities.
Those who call the line will be offered advice, as well as other options including:
The line will be open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and Saturday from 8am to 4pm.
If you run a business or you are self-employed and concerned about paying tax due to the impact of coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for advice on 0800 0159 559.
The business interruption loans announced at last week’s Budget have been significantly extended allowing small businesses to borrow up to £5 million to pay rent, salaries, suppliers or purchase stock.
The loans will be interest-free for the first six months, thanks to a pledge from the Government to cover interest payments during this period.
The scheme will be delivered by the British Business Bank, a state-owned body tasked with supplying credit and finance to small and medium-sized businesses.
The Government has said that these loans will be accessible from next week and it will be releasing information on the process required to apply for a loan soon.
Many businesses work in a supply chain that supports much larger businesses.
To ensure these larger firms can continue to make payments to smaller firms and survive this ongoing economic situation, the Government will launch a major new scheme backed by the Bank of England to help them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cashflow through loans.
Businesses must continue to monitor the financial health of customers and suppliers to ensure that they do not experience disruption from the closure of another firm.
The Government has confirmed that the introduction of the off-payroll rules, or IR35, to the private sector will now be delayed from 6 April 2020 to 6 April 2021.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, told Parliament that the suspension was a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but confirmed it would still go-ahead next year.
The Government has pledged £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding to help the businesses worst-affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.
This funding will be made available to local authorities to distribute in their local area.
The process for applying for grants may differ from authority to authority and most have not yet made it clear how they intend to deliver this support.
Business rates support is expected to be available from the start of next week and we will keep you updated on the process for applying for funding as the situation becomes clearer.
Insurance firms have been told that Government advice regarding the restriction of visits to pubs, clubs and theatres etc. is sufficient for businesses to make a claim on their insurance where they have appropriate business interruption cover for pandemics.
The food industry, including pubs and restaurants, will see a temporary relaxation in planning regulations that will allow them to start providing takeaways to customers without a planning application to help support those needing to self-isolate.
The Chancellor said the Government is committed to protecting individuals and businesses from the effects of the global economic emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic and has made it clear that these initial measures are just the start of the Government’s plans.
The Chancellor is also seeking new legal powers in the Covid Bill to offer whatever further financial support the Government decides is needed.
Contact us now for specialist legal advice on keeping your business running during the coronavirus crisis.