Covid 19 General Advice, Links & Docs

In these uncertain times we wanted to reach out to all our contacts to let you know we are here to offer support over the next few months and help ensure pharmacies continue to run with as little disruption as possible.

Hutchings Accountants can help you assess and limit the impact of COVID-19 on your business by working with you to calculate break-even point, prepare cash flow forecasts, identify the main financial and operational risks (including the ongoing business administration) and develop strategies to address them.

If you or someone you know would like some help and advice, please contact us on 01494 722224 and we can arrange a free video call to discuss any concerns. This is very easy to set up through your mobile and can be done using WhatsApp, Facetime or a number of other applications.

The following documents may be useful:

Cash Flow is a critical area for pharmacy operators to watch over the coming weeks.

Your main priorities are to protect the health of yourself, employees and customers and then to reduce the risk of the financial impact to your business. Here are some points to help focus your thoughts:

  1. Keep your eye on Government advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
  2. Hold a meeting with key team members and work through the agenda provided.
  3. Summarise the actions and allocate responsibility to make them happen.
  4. Talk to us – we are all in this together.

 

The information contained in this website is of a general nature and is not to be taken as professional advice. You are recommended to obtain specific professional advice relevant to your individual circumstances before you take any action.

Hutchings Accountants Ltd will not be liable for any loss or damage incurred by any individual, company, group or association acting or not acting in respect of information contained within this website.

PSNC Secures £20m Cash Injection Ahead Of Further Funding Negotiations

Ministers have agreed to inject a further £20m of advance funding into community pharmacies at the end of June. This follows ongoing representations from PSNC about the cashflow problems facing many contractors as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total advance funding this month is smaller than in previous months because…

…because although contractors are still reporting additional COVID-19 related costs and cashflow problems, these are less than those which they experienced through the initial peak of the pandemic.

These ongoing costs must be covered, but there is also now an urgent need to reach an overall settlement on community pharmacy COVID-19 related funding, including on how the advance funding may need to be paid back in future.

The latest funding injection brings the total of the advance funding payments made in recognition of COVID-19 related cashflow challenges to £370m. PSNC’s strong view is that community pharmacy contractors must not have to pay back these monies, and we will continue to press for that.

PSNC’s bid for additional funding for the sector is still being considered by HM Treasury and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) – we will update contractors as soon as we can.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is calculating payments with the intention that the extra £20 million can be paid at the same time as the 1st July payment. The latest payment comes as DHSC has also maintained the £15m uplift to reimbursement prices first seen in June.

Read more, including PSNC’s statement, here

UK – Rules That Have Been Relaxed To Help Businesses During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy have published a list of the rules that have been temporarily relaxed to make it easier for businesses to continue working through the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

The government has temporarily relaxed the rules in the following areas:

  • Annual leave: Workers will be allowed to carry over leave into the next 2 years.
  • Business rates revaluation postponed: Revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus.
  • Childcare funding: Councils will be able to move around government funding for free childcare entitlements to make sure sufficient childcare places are available for vulnerable children and those of critical workers.
  • Companies House enforcement: Enforcement process has been relaxed, including temporarily pausing the strike off process to prevent companies being dissolved.
  • Competition law: Rules have been relaxed for certain agreements that would normally be considered anti-competitive.
  • Corporate insolvency and governance: New measures have been introduced to relieve the burden on businesses, including:
    • temporary easements on filing requirements and Annual General Meetings (AGMs)
    • a new moratorium to give companies breathing space from their creditors while they seek a rescue
    • temporarily removing the threat of personal liability for wrongful trading from directors
  • Delivery drivers’ hours: Rules have been relaxed for 30 days for drivers supplying supermarkets.
  • Destroying spoilt beer: Temporary measure to help brewers and publicans.
  • Driver CPC requirement: Temporary changes to allow bus and lorry drivers who cannot complete compulsory Driver CPC training to continue to drive.
  • Energy supply: Guidance from Ofgem on how to manage this.
  • Eviction protection for commercial tenants: A ban on eviction for businesses who cannot pay their rent.
  • Filing accounts and annual statements: 3-month extension from Companies House.
  • Gender pay gap reporting: Deadline suspended for one year.
  • Hotel accommodation for key workers: Letter to hotel chief executives allowing them to offer accommodation to support key workers and vulnerable people.
  • Intellectual property services alterations: Patent applications.
  • MOTs suspended: vehicle owners have been given a 6-month exemption.
  • Navigation charges deferred: Charges for air navigation services in European airspace deferred for up to 14 months.
  • Off-payroll working rules (IR35): The new rules have been delayed by 12 months.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser: New suppliers will be able to bring products to market more quickly and easily.
  • Pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways: Pubs and restaurants will not need planning permission.
  • Right-to-work checks: Temporary adjustments will make it easier for employers to carry out.
  • Statutory Residence Test: Temporary changes for those coming to the country to work on COVID-19 related activity.
  • Tax cuts to reduce PPE cost: PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against coronavirus will be free from VAT for a 3-month period.
  • Taxable expenses: Find out what is taxable while employees are working from home.

Find out the latest on the gov.uk website here

Statutory Sick Pay Paid To Employees Due To Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Changes have been made to the guidance to include information about employees who have transferred under the TUPE regulations.

This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
  • you are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

Check your eligibility to claim back SSP here

Government Help And Support If Your Business Is Affected By Coronavirus

We have all been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and with the situation changing and advancing so rapidly, it can be hard to know what support is, was, or will be available to help.

The Government has pulled together a useful webpage to help businesses best navigate the economic impacts of the virus, which you can (and should) visit regularly.

Click here to view

Updated News On Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing:

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed…

Image credit: Tim Gouw – unsplash.com/@punttim

…employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours not worked.

When claiming the grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to 30 June.

This means that the final date by which an employer needs to agree with their employee and ensure they place them on furlough is 10 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June. Find out more information on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.

View the Government help guide here

COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Community Pharmacy

Hutchings Accountants (specialists in pharmacy bookkeeping and tax efficiency) and Closer Still Media teamed up to create this informative webinar on Covid-19 and the issues surrounding community pharmacy.

Hosted by Atif Butt (ACCA) of Hutchings Accountants, this webinar covers key topics and issues across the board.

COVID-19: what are the major challenges, what government help is available, how is the situation likely to develop in the future and how has the market for pharmacy sales been affected.

Government Launches NHS Test and Trace Service – England

In case you missed it, the NHS launched a “Test and Trace” service at the end of May across England.

The service helps identify, contain, and control coronavirus, reducing its spread, and will save lives.

From 28 May, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will…

…From 28 May, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.

If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or by calling 119.

If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.

Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-nhs-test-and-trace-service?utm_source=abb6a36c-ca64-497a-8db4-7581559a9730&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

NHS TEST AND TRACE: WORKPLACE GUIDANCE – ENGLAND

Guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers.

The NHS test and trace service forms a central part of the government’s coronavirus recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care sector.

this service will also play an important vital role in providing an early warning if COVID-19 activity is increasing locally, regionally or nationally. This information will then be used to inform the government’s approach to stop the spread of the virus.

This guidance explains how employers and businesses can play their part in the NHS test and trace programme to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives.

See guidance here:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance?utm_source=3ad1e505-7776-4963-b366-f718239cf904&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

This guidance should be used in conjunction with Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

By following the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) guidance, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

This guidance is for England only. There are equivalent arrangements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Job Retention Scheme – Flexible Furloughing & Important Dates

From 1 July 2020, Businesses will have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August.

Businesses can decide the hours and shift patterns that their…

…Businesses can decide the hours and shift patterns that their employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as your business needs, with no minimum time that you can furlough staff for.

Any working hours arrangement that you agree with your employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing.

When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, you will report and claim for a minimum period of a week. Businesses can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if this is more appropriate.

You will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked. We can assist and make the claims for you.

If your employees are unable to return to work, or you do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.

Employer contributions

From August, the government grant will be tapered as follows:

  • For June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER’s NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work.
  • In August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER’s NIC’s and pension contributions.
  • From 1 September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • For the final month of the scheme in October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.

Important dates

It is important to note that the scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, you will only be able to furlough employees that you have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June.

This means that the final date that you can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

Guidance and support Further support on how to calculate claims with the extra flexibility will be available by 12 June and we will keep you informed about the detail and your written requirements in due course. If you have any questions please contact us.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme?utm_source=1a8e753d-c67e-41e9-8664-32969211b852&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme Launching

Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May. The government has announced a new online service will be launched on 26 May for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

Employers are eligible if they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started before 28 February 2020 and they had fewer than 250 employees before the same date.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks of SSP and is payable if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have coronavirus; or
  • are self-isolating and unable to work from home; or
  • are shielding because they have been advised that they are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

You can check if your business can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19) here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

This scheme will allow small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Employers will be able to make their claims through a new online service from 26 May. This means they will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

To prepare to make their claim, employers should keep records of all the SSP payments that they wish to claim from HMRC.

Further information

The current rate of SSP is £95.85 per week (before 5 April the rate was £94.25).  Employers can choose to go further and pay more than the statutory minimum. This is known as occupational or contractual sick pay.

Where an employer pays more than the current rate of SSP in sick pay, they will only be able to reclaim the SSP rate.

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

Note: Other SSP eligibility criteria apply.

Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees is fewer than 250 on or before 28 February 2020. Employees do not have to provide a doctor’s fit note for their employer to make a claim under the scheme.

Employers can furlough their employees who have been advised to shield in line with public health guidance and are unable to work from home, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Once furloughed, the employee should no longer receive SSP and would be classified as a furloughed employee. Where an employee has been notified to shield and has not been furloughed, the rebate will compensate up to 2 weeks of SSP from 16 April 2020.

If you need assistance with a claim please contact us.

Updated Guidance For Employees, Employers and Businesses

The Government’s updated guidance will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to their staff on:

  • coronavirus COVID-19
  • how to help prevent spread of COVID-19
  • what to do if someone has symptoms of COVID-19 has been in business settings
  • eligibility for sick pay

See:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19?utm_source=3aebe15f-0b6d-4116-84e6-57a28c3d1250&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

The Government’s updated guidance also provides details of support available to businesses including:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments
  • Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery 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 to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
  • 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 to help with tax

It is clear that this guidance will be updated regularly as the situation changes and you are asked to refer to the web page above regularly for updates.

Market Entry Applications – Restrictions to be Lifted?

There appear to be no guarantees at this stage but according to the PCSE website – As of 1 June 2020 it is expected that the full Market Entry function will be restored. However, it is likely that some applications will take longer than the current regulatory timescales to process as the Market Entry teams work through the backlog of applications.

Life Assurance Scheme Confirmed Extends to Team Members As Well As Pharmacists

The NPA, alongside many other organisations, has been seeking clarity from Government on the Life Assurance Scheme and Pharmacy Team members. DHSC has now formally confirmed that community pharmacy team members are included within the same eligibility criteria that apply to any health care worker.

https://www.npa.co.uk/news-and-events/news-item/uk-government-confirms-the-life-assurance-scheme-for-pharmacists-and-pharmacy-team-members/


Health and Wellbeing of the Adult Social Care Workforce

The Government has issued advice for those working in adult social care on managing your mental health and how employers can take care of the wellbeing of their staff during the coronavirus outbreak. More info can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-health-and-wellbeing-of-the-adult-social-care-workforce?utm_source=d49d25b1-8b6d-4079-a9be-a21c447364a9&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate


Business Rates Re-Valuation Postponed – England

A revaluation of business rates in England will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus. Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021 but following the recent economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, ministers want to ensure businesses have more certainty during this difficult time. See the link below for more detail.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/business-rates-revaluation-postponed?utm_source=97f7632c-4dff-413d-af5a-88285fa58734&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate


Please do get in touch if we can help in any way.

Our business depends on your business and we must all pull together during the next few weeks.