Last Updated 10:50am, 15 April 2020
Support for employees
The government has published COVID-19: guidance for employees.
This includes information about:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allowing your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage
- claiming benefits
- sick pay
The Money Saving Expert website has some useful advice on your rights as an employee.
Job opportunities in Devon
The care sector currently has an urgent requirement for workers – the latest vacancies in this sector can be viewed on Proud to Care Devon.
For other employment opportunities, have a look at the Heart of the South West Virtual Career Fairs.
Support if you are self-employed
There are a number of measures and schemes now available to support businesses such as grant funding, business rate relief and loans.
Full details can be found on the government business support website.
Self Employment Income Support Scheme
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.
Bounce Back Loan Scheme
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak
Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBLIS)
The Business Interruption Loan Scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.
In the interim, self-employed people may still be eligible for other government support including:
The Money Saving Expert website also has some useful information if you’re self employed.
Support for businesses in Devon
Local businesses (those in the Devon County Council, Plymouth or Torbay areas) can access free business support and advice from the Heart of the South West Growth Hub.
If you have lost your job or experienced a drop in income because of COVID-19 there are a number of benefits available that you may be eligible to claim, depending on your circumstances.
Statutory Sick Pay
You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) 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 therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.
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.
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.
Find out more about Universal Credit.
Employment and Support Allowance
You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.
ESA gives you:
- money to help with living costs if you’re unable to work
- support to get back into work if you’re able to
You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.
Find out more about the Employment and Support Allowance.
Other financial help
If you’re struggling to pay your bills, organisations like Citizen’s Advice may be able to help you. The government have also introduced a ‘mortgage holiday’ scheme to support homeowners whose income has been affected by coronavirus.
Please don’t just ignore bills, or stop paying them – always seek advice and speak to the company about what measures can be taken to help you pay.
Problems meeting mortgage or rent costs
If you are experiencing financial difficulties meeting your mortgage repayments because of COVID-19, you may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday for 3 months. This includes if you are a landlord whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19.
The offer of a payment holiday can be made available to customers who are up to date with payments and not already in arrears.
Customers who are concerned about their current financial situation should contact their lender at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option for them
If you are a tenant experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19, the government will ensure you do not face the threat of eviction for at least 3 months.
Further information on the support for both mortgage holders and tenants can be found within the government’s support for those affected by COVID-19 guidance.
Problems paying other bills
There are things you can do if you’re struggling to pay your bills because of coronavirus. This includes bills like:
If you can’t pay your rent talk to your landlord straight away to see if they can offer any flexibility. You may be entitled to benefits to help with housing costs if your income has reduced, even if you’re still working. You can also contact your local Citizen’s Advice for support.
The government has announced that if you can’t pay your mortgage because of coronavirus you might be able to have a 3-month payment holiday. If you can, keep making your payments until your mortgage provider agrees you can take a payment holiday.
You might qualify for a reduction if your income has dropped or if you started claiming benefits recently. Check your local council’s rules to see if you qualify for a council tax reduction.
If you already get a Council Tax reduction and are working age, your local council should give you an extra £150 off your bill for 2020-21. You don’t need to do anything – your local council will send you a new bill.
Contact your energy supplier as soon as you can. You might be able to set up a payment plan with them to help spread the cost of your bills.
If you have a prepayment energy meter
Your supplier will try to help you find ways to keep you connected if you can’t top up your meter because of coronavirus. Tell them as soon as possible if you can’t top up. You’ll find their contact details on their website or on your bill.
Citizen’s Advice have some useful information if you:
Loan/credit card payments
If you are struggling with loan or credit card repayments check with your bank or building society – they might be able to help you with your debts or let you delay loan or credit card repayments.
Organisations like Citizen’s Advice have lots of advice if you are struggling financially, either on their website, or through their advisers.