Latest news from the PM’s daily update and the GOV website on the coronavirus in the UK.
Main points from the press conference on 22nd March
- Shielding to be implemented for 1.5 million people most at risk.
- Food and medical packages to be delivered free.
- Everyone to observe social distancing – stay 2 metres apart.
- Emphasis that schools only open to key workers as a last resort.
The full statement from the PM is here.
Economic Support (NEW)
Following the measures announced on Friday the Gov guidance has been updated over the weekend.
- The launch of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- Employers will need to:
- designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
- submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
- 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.
- Employers will need to:
- deferring VAT and Income Tax payments. The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
- a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
- The next self-assessment payment will be deferred until Jan 2021.
- Further measures for larger and medium businesses will be announced early next week.
Isolation Notes (NEW)
The Department of Health and Social Care have launched on online service through NHS 111 to provide Isolation Notes.
Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.
For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they don’t need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence. Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): attendance recording for educational settings was published today 22nd March 2020 (at 15:21). Excel sheet with details of what should be recorded.
From Monday 23 March, educational settings will need to temporarily change their attendance recording practices. To minimise the burden on educational settings and ensure that only the most important information is submitted, settings must:
- Stop taking their normal attendance registers
- Complete this spreadsheet to record attendance for all children at the educational setting.
- Use the information in the spreadsheet to complete this short form notifying the Department for Education about your status regarding COVID-19. The form should be submitted by midday each weekday.
Which educational settings should complete the form?
The form is for:
- academies (including free schools and studio schools)
- local authority maintained schools
- local authority nursery schools
- independent schools
- non-maintained special schools
- pupil referral units
- university technical colleges
- FE colleges and sixth form colleges
- Special post-16 institutions or specialist colleges
Vulnerable children and young people
On 22nd March (at 17:49) the DfE also published Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on vulnerable children and young people
This guidance covers children:
- supported by the child social care system
- with education health and care (EHC) plans
- in alternative provision (AP) settings
Throughout, ‘school’ is defined as either maintained by the local authority or a single (or part of a multi) academy trust.
The general coronavirus guidance starts here:-