Monthly Archives: May 2020

Statutory Sick Pay

Payments made from day 1, rather than day 4, of your absence from work

If you think you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you can receive £94.25 per week if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19, from 13 March, you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and who have therefore been advised to do a household quarantine. If you were self-isolating before 13 March because someone in your household had symptoms, you cannot receive SSP.

Need to make a claim

The Government has legislated for SSP to be paid from day one, rather than day four, of your absence from work if you are absent due to sickness or need to self-isolate because of COVID-19. This applies retrospectively from 13 March. You should talk to your employer if you are eligible for SSP and need to make a claim.

SSP is paid by your employer in the same way as your normal wages (for example, weekly or monthly). If you have more than one job, you may receive SSP from each employer. Tax and National Insurance will be deducted. However, if you think you are not getting the right amount of SSP, talk to your employer.

Must be eligible for SSP

If your illness is not related to coronavirus (COVID-19), you must be eligible for SSP and have been off work sick for four or more days in a row (including non-working days) to get SSP. You cannot get less than the statutory amount. You can receive more if your company has a sick pay scheme (or ‘occupational scheme’), but you will need to check your employment contract. There are different sick pay rules for agricultural workers.

From Friday 20 March onwards, those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate can obtain an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases, this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ after seven days of sickness absence.

Ill or have a health condition or disability

If you are not eligible for SSP – for example, if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

If you are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work, you may be able to get New Style ESA. This is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit (UC).

The New Style ESA is a contributory benefit which normally means you may be able to receive it if you’ve paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the two full tax years before the year you’re claiming in.

Most income is not taken into account

Your (or your partner’s) savings will not affect how much New Style ESA you’re paid. If your partner works, it does not affect your claim. Most income is not taken into account (but a personal pension can affect the amount you may receive).

While you receive New Style ESA, you’ll earn Class 1 National Insurance credits, which can help towards your State Pension and other contributory benefits in the future.

How can we help?

For more information, please contact S4 Financial on 01276 34932 or email hello@s4financial.co.uk – we look forward to hearing from you.

Self-employed and not eligible for SSP

What other options do I have available to me?

If you are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – for example, if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

If you are self-employed and receiving Universal Credit, and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change took effect on 13 March and will last for the duration of the outbreak, to ensure that self-employed Universal Credit claimants will receive support.

If you need to claim Universal Credit but have COVID-19 or are self-isolating, you will now be able to claim and to access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a Jobcentre Plus appointment.

If you are eligible for New Style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day one of sickness, rather than day eight, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate.

If you think you may need financial support from your Local Authority in England, you may be entitled to support from the £500 million Hardship Fund. Most of this funding will be used to provide more Council Tax relief, either through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes, or through similar measures.

How can we help?

For more information, please contact S4 Financial on 01276 34932 or email hello@s4financial.co.uk – we look forward to hearing from you.

IR35

Reform deferred by a year

If you currently work as a contractor, are considering becoming a contractor, or own a business that hires contractors, IR35 is something that you should be familiar with.

Although the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, previously announced that IR35 reform in the private sector would be introduced as planned on 6 April 2020, the Government has pushed this back amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, announced on 17 March that reform will be deferred by a year – but made it clear it isn’t being cancelled. He said: ‘This is a deferral in response to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 to help businesses and individuals.’ It comes after a House of Lords finance bill sub-committee said that adding another burden on business would be ‘perverse’.

Private sector IR35 reform means that contractors and freelancers will no longer be responsible for working out their tax status. Instead, it’ll be down to the clients they work for (although smaller businesses are exempt from the change).

As businesses and the self-employed now face an uncertain few months, the deferral should at least give them more time to prepare for reform. Given the economic challenges that lie ahead of the UK, now certainly would not have been the right time to roll out needless tax changes that could endanger hundreds of thousands of contractors’ livelihoods.

How can we help?

For more information, please contact S4 Financial on 01276 34932 or email hello@s4financial.co.uk – we look forward to hearing from you.

Second self-assessment payment deferment

Strengthening the safety net for those who work for themselves

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said he will ‘strengthen the safety net for those who work for themselves’ with a package of measures to support the self-employed and freelancers, offering improved benefits and tax deferrals.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Financial support for those impacted by coronavirus

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled unprecedented government aid for the self-employed. There are around five million people who are self-employed and freelance across the UK, and many will be relieved to hear that financial support is on the way to help those impacted by coronavirus.

Coronavirus investment scams

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated, particularly with investment scams. They can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing. However, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Market fluctuations

Investments that best align with your financial goals

Without a plan, investors are prone to making knee-jerk reactions when there are swings in the market. A well-thought-out investment strategy provides the guidance needed to help you stay on track when inevitable market fluctuation occurs. It can also point you towards the types of investments that best align with your financial goals.

Protecting renters affected by coronavirus

No renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home

More than a fifth of UK households live in privately rented accommodation. The Government has introduced measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). This radical package of measures protects renters and landlords affected by coronavirus – and with these in force, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home.

Income protection insurance

How will you pay the bills if you were sick or injured and couldn’t work?

There is a growing unease about the economic fallout of coronavirus (COVID-19), with many businesses laying off contractors and putting staff on extended leave, as well as natural worries about contacting the disease.

Applying for a three-month mortgage payment holiday

Easing the stress some borrowers will be facing during the pandemic outbreak

Mortgage borrowers who have been adversely affected financially by coronavirus (COVID-19) may want to consider requesting to take a mortgage payment holiday on their residential or buy-to-let mortgage for up to three months to help their financial situation. The Government’s policy is aimed at easing the stress some borrowers will be facing during the pandemic outbreak.