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COVID-19 Guidance: Information for NI Businesses & Employers

Monday March 23rd, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for businesses and employers in Northern Irelandtalks_9977687Med

To help businesses and employers understand what the measures announced by the Chancellor mean for you, please use this page to navigate the latest guidance for people in Northern Ireland.

Guidance for employees

Read all the latest guidance and frequently asked questions for employees including details about statutory sick pay and Universal Credit.

Sickness and disability benefits

Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits will be temporarily suspended for the next 3 months from Tuesday 17 March. No further action is required by any claimant as a result of this change. They will be contacted with advice on next steps.

Travel

Find out all the latest travel advice and sign up for travel alerts via the Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) website.

Businesses

General guidance for employers

The UK Government has published extensive guidance for employers, including details on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and what to do if someone is suspected or confirmed to have the virus.

UK Government support for businesses

The UK Government has set out a package of measures to protect public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Businesses in Northern Ireland can access the following schemes and announcements:

  • Businesses will receive government grants worth up to 80% of wages to keep workers in jobs. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will pay up to £2,500 per worker each month, helping those who are self-isolating or caring for loved ones. This scheme will be open from Monday 23 March.
  • Support for businesses through the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which will provide loans of up to £5m, with no interest due for 12 months. This scheme will be open from Monday 23 March and will be delivered through the British Business Bank.
  • Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
  • Support for businesses paying tax
  • VAT payments for the next quarter will be deferred, so no business will pay any VAT for the next three months.

Northern Ireland Executive support for businesses

Invest NI have provided practical advice for business online here - https://www.investni.com/

Businesses in Northern Ireland can access the following schemes:

  • COVID Small Business Grant – Small business grant of £10,000 to be issued immediately with a cost of £267m providing support to 27,000 businesses in NI. This is for all businesses with a NAV up to £15,000
  • Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Sectors Grant Scheme – An immediate grant of £25,000 will be provided to companies in these sectors with a rateable value up to £51,000.

Information on these schemes will be made available at NI Business Info.

Further to this, the Department of Finance has announced a £100m emergency rates package for businesses. All NI businesses will pay zero rates for the next three months (April, May, June). This automatically reduces rates by 25%, in addition to any existing rate reliefs. This applies to all businesses and does not need to be repaid.

Business support helplines

HMRC tax helpline

HMRC has set up a helpline for businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about paying their tax due to COVID-19. Call 0800 0159 559 for help and advice.

Invest NI helpline

Get help with your business online, or by calling the Invest NI Helpline. Telephone: 0800 181 4422

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