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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Employers’ Guide

Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be making a lot of employers nervous; with many businesses not being able to open or having their operations restricted due to strict social distancing rules. As a director of a limited company, which still has outgoings to pay, you may be feeling lost and confused as to what to do next.

Can I still open for business during the pandemic?

With the government insisting on the closure of businesses deemed ‘non-essential’, whether opening is even an option will be on many business owners’ minds. If your business is selling products or a service considered ‘essential’, you may be allowed to continue trading.

If your business is deemed ‘non-essential’, you may have to temporarily close if your staff can’t work from home. Should this happen, you may have to consider furloughing staff, applying for commercial finance, or an insolvency procedure, which we’ll explain in a minute.

How do I stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace?

If your business can open, you should assess what is required and what changes you’ll need to make. Above all else, you should make sure your staff can complete their jobs in as safe a way as possible. Make sure they’re observing appropriate hygiene standards, and if possible, you could have your staff work remotely to minimise contact with others.

What if one of my staff catches the coronavirus?

Your staff should stay at home if they develop symptoms. If they start displaying symptoms at work, they should go home. From the first day off, they may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, and you should make sure your employees are fully aware of company policy on the matter.

Understandably, your staff may have questions as to what they’re entitled to, whether they’ll still be able to work, or what they can do if they get into debt because of the coronavirus.

How we can help employees and individuals

Coronavirus Employers Guide

Is there any support for businesses affected by the coronavirus?

The government has announced several support schemes to help employers affected by the coronavirus. These include the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which allows businesses access to various types of finance.

More on eligibility for government support

There is also the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which allows employers to furlough (temporarily layoff) their employees, while still paying a portion of their wages.

Find out more about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

If most of your debt is to HMRC, you can also apply for an informal Time to Pay Arrangement (TTP). HMRC have also announced deferrals of VAT to help those struggling to pay their tax bills.

What if my business is not eligible for government support?

While support is available, businesses still need to meet each scheme’s criteria to receive any funds. If your business doesn’t meet those criteria, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s the end. Commercial finance may still be an option, or if your company is insolvent, you can apply for a business recovery or closure procedure.

More options if you’ve been rejected for government support

What if coronavirus pushes my business into debt?

Even with the promised support, your business could still find itself facing insolvency thanks to all the new pressures brought on by the coronavirus. Though healthy businesses may be able to continue despite taking a hit, those who’ve been struggling before COVID-19 may find themselves unable to carry on.

Fortunately, there are a variety of debt recovery options. These can allow you to repay your debts at a rate you can afford, or bring in a third-party to restructure the business. Alternatively, it can enable the company to close in an orderly fashion.

More options if you’ve been affected by the coronavirus

How we can help

Whether your business was struggling before the coronavirus, or if the outbreak has affected your cash flow, speak to us today for free, impartial advice with no obligation. Our advisors will guide you through the procedures available and help you decide what the best action would be; whether that’s monthly repayments towards your liabilities, or closing the current limited company and starting again.

Beverley Horton

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