On 17th March 2020, the UK Government outlined a financial package to help individuals and businesses withstand the disruption resulting from the Coronavirus outbreak. We have dissected the various benefits offered to help you understand the rights and obligations of employers and employees, and how you and your company can benefit from government support. As always, you can get in touch with us for further support.


  • For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. As yet we have not been told how but we would suggest that you keep the relevant record and notify MHR each month so we can record in the system and ensure any repayment is based on records kept in the payroll system in case they ask for proof etc.

  • Those who follow advice to stay at home and who cannot work as a result will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP), even if they are not themselves sick.

  • Employers should use their discretion and respect the medical need to self-isolate in making decisions about sick pay.

  • Anyone not eligible to receive sick pay, including those earning less than an average of £118 per week, some of those working in the gig economy, or self-employed people, is able to claim Universal Credit and or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

  • For those on a low income and already claiming Universal Credit, it is designed to automatically adjust depending on people’s earnings or other income.

  • Employees are entitled to time off work to help someone who depends on them (a ‘dependant’) in an unexpected event or emergency. This would apply to situations related to coronavirus. For example:

    • If they have children they need to look after or arrange childcare for because their school has closed

    • To help their child or another dependant if they’re sick, or need to go into isolation or hospital

    • There’s no statutory right to pay for this time off, but some employers might offer pay depending on the contract or workplace policy.

  • There is still some ambiguity around some of the rules but the official advice is for employers to use discretion and if reasonable decisions are made, employers will not be penalised should it be wrong.

  • If you need specific information on HR related matters MHR has two HR consultants we can put you in contact with.


Monies Owed to HMRC

  • A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559 or contact us for assistance.  Please note that HMRC may well ask for details of how the virus is affecting your business to ensure that only valid businesses are being given this aid.


Business Rates and local authority grants

  • There will be a £10,000 cash grant to our smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April. We do not have details of how this will be implemented but will advise as soon as we know.

  • The government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

  • A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

  • Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to your relevant local authority but they are not being told how to do this until 21st March so expect a wait while they get organised.


Business Loans (source: British Business Banks website)


The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered via the British Business Bank to support the continued provision of finance to UK businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak, will temporarily replace the Bank’s well-established Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme with an additional £1bn being made available on top of existing support offered through the programme. We will be working closely with our current EFG delivery partners and government to implement the package of enhancements, so that the new scheme is available in the coming weeks.

  • As you can see from the above for those of you who have asked for our assistance in requesting support loans we cannot do anything at the moment but will monitor the situation daily and advise of any changes

Further updates were released on the 23rd March and 24th March