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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin - 19 November 2020

This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19). All coronavirus business support information can be found at gov.uk/business-support


The Chancellor of the Exchequer's Plan for Jobs

Plan for Jobs: Skills incentives for employers: As part of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs there are a range skills programmes, some of which offer financial incentives, that are available for employers who are considering hiring employees or offering work experience. If your business is looking to potentially:

  • Develop the talent pool in your business or develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce
  • Build a pipeline of talent for junior positions
  • Test out if someone is right for permanent job or apprenticeship with you
  • Carry out a skill needs analysis for your business to understand gaps and find solutions
  • Find a flexible programme that can be tailored to meet your recruitment needs
  • Find more flexible ways to offer a work placement

Then one of these programmes might be right for your business.

These incentives can help you to invest in your business, help people upskill and improve their chances of securing a good job in a highly competitive labour market giving your business an edge to support your overall goals.  

To learn more about the variety of offers available and how to apply please visit GOV.UK.


Letters to the construction and manufacturing sectors

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, has written to those working in the construction sector and its supply chain and those in the manufacturing industry and its supply chain. The letters emphasise that the sectors can and should continue to work during the current period of restrictions and follow government guidance on safe working.

New Guidance

Income Tax and National Insurance contributions exemption for employer-provided Coronavirus antigen tests: The government is committed to supporting businesses and individuals through the Coronavirus pandemic, and this measure aims to make sure the use of relevant antigen testing procedures by employers are not subject to a tax charge. Find out more here.

Open consultation: Stopping movement of staff between care settings: We want your views on plans to minimise the risk of Coronavirus infections, by making residential and nursing care home providers restrict the movement of care staff. Consultation closes at midday on 23 November 2020. For more on the consultation and how to respond, click here.

Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles: New guidance on the actions that drivers, operators and owners of taxis or private hire vehicles (PHVs) can take to protect against Coronavirus – including information on how drivers can carry out risk assessment, picking up passengers, preparing your vehicle for the next passenger. For more information click here

The UK Transition: Time is Running Out

With just 43 days to go until the UK’s new start, attend one of our webinars to help prepare your business.

  • Business travel and investing or establishing in the EU - 11am, Wednesday 25 November, and then on demand - register here.

Watch other sector specific webinars on demand here and register for all transition webinars here.

For the latest transition information direct to your inbox, sign up to the Transition Readiness Business Bulletin here.

Updated Guidance

Guidance on claiming for employees wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been updated:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until 31 March 2021.
  • 30 November 2020 is the last day employers can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.
  • Claims for furlough days in November 2020 must be submitted by 14 December 2020.
  • Guidance has been updated with detail on employer claim information that HMRC will make public.
  • Guidance on calculating how much you can claim for furloughed and flexibly furloughed employees has been updated with clarification of information relating to claim period deadlines and timings
  • Language has been changed to make it clear that for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020 you cannot claim for any days on or after 1 December 2020 during which the furloughed employee was serving a contractual or statutory notice period. Find out more here.
  • Eligibility criteria has been made clearer for employees who are made redundant on or after 23 September 2020 and you have re-employed and employees that have a fixed term contract that expired after 23 September. Find out more here.

Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace: Cinemas, concert venues and theatres have been added to the list of venues that must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to help break the chains of transmission of Coronavirus. It has also been clarified that indoor sports and leisure centres includes gyms.

Providing apprenticeships during the Coronavirus outbreak: Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations has been updated with information about the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the national restrictions guidance, the package of support available for those who have been made redundant on or after 15 October, and functional skills.

Kickstart Scheme: employer resources: 'Tips’ for making a successful Kickstart Scheme application has been updated.

Travel

Transport measures to protect the UK from variant strains of COVID-19: New guidance for lorry drivers and maritime and aviation transport crew moving freight between the UK and places with outbreaks of variant strain COVID-19 has been published.

Jobs that qualify for travel exemptions - Seasonal poultry workers: Exemption for seasonal poultry workers who have an offer of employment for seasonal work to carry out specific activities in poultry processing on a named farm or processing site has been added, check for more information here

Extra Bank Holiday Announced

Extra Bank Holiday to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022: The Nation will come together over a four-day Bank Holiday weekend to celebrate The Queen’s 70-year reign. The May Bank Holiday Weekend will be moved to Thursday 2 June 2022, and an additional Bank Holiday on Friday 3 June 2022 will see a four-day weekend to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee - the first time any British monarch has reached this historic milestone. For more information on June 2022 Bank Holiday, check here.

Other useful links

Some aspects of business support are devolved. Specific information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is available. In England, Growth Hubs can advise on local and UK Government business support. You can also find helpful business case studies and other useful information on the Coronavirus Business Support Blog.