Coronovirus Covid 19 Updates

By March 19, 2020Payroll Outsourcing

Coronavirus Updates

As the pace of change has been so quick, moving forwards we will bring service updates together onto this page.

1.4.2020

We shall be closed tomorrow and Friday and will re-open on Monday 6th April.  The last few payrolls of this tax year will be completed shortly.  There are more updates becoming available regard the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furloughed workers, and we have some updates here.

27.3.2020

We are monitoring the BACS submissions this morning, but HMRC have sent further details regarding furloughed workers: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

You will need to read through yourself but a few key points:

  1. You pay the employee the 80% or £2500 cap, and claim this from the government.
  2. You can choose to top this up if you wish
  3. Vulnerable workers that have to self isolate can be classed as furloughed workers
  4. The scheme should be up and running by the end of April

26.3.2020

There is now an FAQ available answering a few questions regarding the funding available for business – https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/faqs/

We shall be closing shortly and we shall be available again on Monday 30th March.

25.3.2020

We have published a few notes on Furloughed Workers as there seems a lot of confusion with the limited amount of information available.  Please see here

24.3.2020

We are in the office and are very busy finishing payrolls, but we need to look at reducing our contact hours, and increasing our staff’s ability to stay at home. We are going to close for the day on Friday 27th March.

For the weeks commencing 30th March and 6th April we shall be open and operating as normal Monday to Wednesday but closing for Thursday and Friday. We will return to full open hours on Tuesday 14th April following Easter. This is the plan for the three weeks of the increased lock down, but we may need to extend or amend our hours.

If we make BACS payments on your behalf these will continue as normal, but you will need to make sure you still have staff that can monitor and interact with your company’s BACS portal.

We also continue to request that payroll information comes to us early, and changes are kept to a minimum. Our turnaround time is likely to be slower than usual.

23.3.2020

“HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.”

We are getting a lot of enquiries already this morning, but we do not have any details either.  It appears this will be claimed separately to PAYE via an online application, probably in a similar or the same portal as SSP.

Small and medium sized businesses will be able to reclaim SSP for sickness absence due to COVID-19.  There are some more details coming through on the eligibility but still no details of the claims process.  We will be able to pay SSP and determine an employee has earned above the lower earnings limit, but we currently have no way of differentiating when the SSP was coronavirus related.  Employers need to make sure they maintain good records as the claims process is unlikely to involve PAYE.

The are further details on the provisions the Chancellor has announced available here:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

19.3.2020

All services and deadlines are operating as normal.  Some contingencies have been activated to cover staff absence due to self-isolation, but there is still adequate staff levels.  We have asked all our clients to send payroll information to us as soon as possible and avoid late changes.  We are concerned with what is approaching over the coming few weeks.

 

Payroll Planning advice

The global coronavirus pandemic has produced a novel and unprecedented challenge.  We are in a strong position with two separate sites, and the ability to work on all payrolls from either without interruption.  With the uncertainty that exists with external factors, and the possibility we may all have reduced available staff, we have the following additional notes:

  1. Make sure we know your contacts that may be sending us payroll information
  2. Make sure your contacts know what is required, such as your payroll reference and the information that is sent for payroll each period
  3. Send final instructions as early as you can, and avoid subsequent changes as much as possible
  4. Send all your instructions together, use your payroll reference, and avoid multiple emails and subject lines such as “this month’s payroll”.
  5. If your payroll is very stable and you want us to process several weeks or months together then please let us know.
  6. We will send emails, use Twitter and update this page if there are any changes to our service
  7. The following changes may be introduced:
    1. Earlier hard deadlines: We may enforce an earlier deadline to send us the payroll information prior to pay day.  In this situation we may have a three-day turnaround, which may mean you miss pay day if you submit late.
    2. If you want to make changes these may have to wait until the following pay period, you should be prepared to make an approximate net payment yourself and report it to us for the following pay day
    3. We may move to a shift pattern, with reduced hours at each office. This may mean it would be less easy for you to speak to the team processing your payroll
  8. The following worst-case scenarios have been considered:
    1. If you have no one able to send us a payroll instruction you have the following options:
      1. Make net payments yourself based on the previous pay period. Report these to us with the gross pays when you are able.  You could make these payments multiple times if necessary, and we can catch up at a later date.  We would expect HMRC to be understanding in these circumstances and it is likely they will have offered guidance.
      2. If we make BACS payments on your behalf you could instruct us to repeat the prior month. This situation is less ideal as we would be creating a payroll and making RTI submissions which would need correcting at a later date.
    2. If the country is on compulsory home isolation, and we are unable to access either of our offices, we will not be able to process payrolls. In this situation you would need to make approximate payments to your employees and then report these to us together with payroll information.  If we make payments via BACS it would be possible to send us a file for us to make BACS payments, and again we would be able to report to HMRC at a later date.  You would be able to use the data in your payroll csv and a simple header file we would provide if this became necessary.  You should also make sure you are familiar with your banks bulk payment facility as this may be simpler.
    3. We cannot process payrolls and produce BACS files if we cannot get into an office, we can remotely send BACS payments if necessary. Email support will also be maintained remotely, as well as providing service updates.
  9. If you have no one able to provide us any information or access your prior payrolls, and we are unable to access the office, you will need to do whatever you have prepared for in that situation. As a rough guide if you know the gross amount and deduct a third that is a reasonable approximation of the net to pay the employee.  We have occasionally reported multiple tax periods for clients before, so this is perfectly possible.  If a large proportion of our clients are affected however, it would take a while to bring everyone up to date.  We would expect HMRC to be understanding in these circumstances, and they would probably have already offered guidance for this situation anyway.

 

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