Further to my first email / blog where we advised more support measures will be announced soon, the States of Guernsey have now announced a further range of financial assistance and easements aimed at supporting all businesses in the coming months.
This range of financial easements are aimed at ensuring that your business is able to retain its staff and as much working capital as possible. To help with that some of the larger outgoings which relate to your commitments to the States of Guernsey are able to be deferred for the next few months (Quarter 1 and Quarter 2). For example, some of the easements relate to deferrals on Social Insurance payments, commercial Tax on Real Property (‘TRP’), and reliefs on rents on States owned property.
The States have also made available important support measures for the self-employed, small businesses and businesses with employees.
The details on these measures can be found here https://gov.gg/covid19businessguidance.
The Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding Scheme
The measures include a payroll co-funding scheme whereby the States will help you pay your employees an amount equivalent to Guernsey’s minimum wage. The reference to minimum wage ensures a level playing field. This is currently set at £8.50 per hour (£8.05 for 16- and 17-year olds). For a 35-hour week this figure would equate to a gross figure of £298. The States of Guernsey will meet 80% of this figure (i.e. £238 per week based on a 35 hour week). Employers must make up the remaining 20% (equivalent to £60 per week). Employers are encouraged to ‘top-up’ these amounts further if they are able to do so.
This scheme is available for all employers in the following sectors:
- hospitality and tourism;
- passenger transport and travel;
- rental and leasing of cars and recreational goods;
- recreation and entertainment;
- event management and event services;
- personal service activities such as hairdressers, beauticians and animal boarding;
- commercial fishing;
- private extra-curricular education such as dance and riding schools;
- non-food and non-pharmacy retail;
- advertising and marketing;
- construction; and
Consideration may be needed to widen these sectors as more information becomes available.
To qualify for the Coronavirus Payroll Co-sharing Scheme:
1. Businesses need to have started trading on or before 1st September 2019 i.e. a period of 6 months
2. Employees need to be permanent and payments are based on the normal set of hours i.e. many will be part-time
3. Businesses may be operating a mix of eligible and non-eligible sectors – only the former will be permissible
4. Employees will need to be specified to ensure these can be cross-referenced to individuals claiming Income Support and/or access to the Hardship Fund for Individuals to ensure all is taken into account when considering claims
5. Businesses which continue to trade and generate material revenue would receive support on sliding scale – actual details of this still need to be worked through.
Grant to small businesses and the self employed
A further measure is the award of a grant to businesses and the self-employed. This is aimed at smaller businesses and those who are self-employed as a means to help their business and be utilised in whichever way you deem appropriate. Although similar to the Payroll Co-Funding scheme it is intended to last 3 months. The details of the support are:
- The amount payable will be a flat sum of £3,000.
As with the Payroll Co-Funding Scheme, eligibility criteria on sector and minimum age of the business would apply (see above). The one key difference is that it would be restricted to businesses with 10 employees or less.
As a first step businesses are asked to send their details to [email protected] to register for the new measures.
For deferral (or refund) of your Social Insurance contributions for both Quarter 1 and Quarter 2. Email [email protected] with the title “refund” or “deferral” and someone will contact you as soon as possible. Note this is for employers Social Insurance contributions, and if you are self employed then it is all considered employers, and thus can be deferred in full. If you have a tax debt, you can contact Income Tax to agree a payment plan.