COVID-19 Guidance: Information for NI Businesses & Employers
- Also published by:
- 10 Downing Street
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland
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.
Find out all the latest travel advice and sign up for travel alerts via the Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) website.
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.
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 delivered through the British Business Bank.
VAT payments for the next quarter will be deferred, so no business will pay any VAT for the next three months.
Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which will see self-employed eligible to receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years, bringing parity with Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Northern Ireland Executive support for businesses
Invest NI have provided practical advice for business online here
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.
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. The updated helpline number to support customers impacted by coronavirus is 0800 024 1222 and is open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. HMRC have introduced this number to ensure extra capacity on their network so customers can get through to us more quickly. Calls to the old helpline number will be redirected.
Invest NI helpline
Get help with your business online, or by calling the Invest NI Helpline. Telephone: 0800 181 4422
Latest News from
Coronavirus sick pay scheme opens for applications27/05/2020 11:10:00
Small businesses and employers across the UK who have paid statutory sick pay to staff taking coronavirus-related are now able to claim back the money as of yesterday.
Up to £15 million to support the Citizens Advice service during COVID-19 pandemic26/05/2020 14:22:00
Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland to receive funding boost of up to £15 million to help them deal with increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Help with mortgages to continue for homeowners affected by Coronavirus22/05/2020 12:10:00
Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage due to Coronavirus will be able to extend their mortgage payment holiday for a further three months, or start making reduced payments, in proposals published today.
Government to give VAT from donated PPE to healthcare charities22/05/2020 11:10:00
VAT collected on donated personal protective equipment will be given to charities supporting the NHS and care workers, the government announced yesterday (21 May 2020).
Government unlocks £150 million from dormant accounts for coronavirus response21/05/2020 15:20:00
Culture Secretary accelerates release of funding in further boost for charities and social enterprises across the country.
Future Fund launches today20/05/2020 17:08:00
The government’s £500 million Future Fund opens for applications today (Wednesday 20 May) with innovative and high-growth British businesses able to secure investment to help them through the Coronavirus outbreak.
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch20/05/2020 11:14:00
Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.
UK Global Tariff backs UK businesses and consumers20/05/2020 08:12:00
The Government has announced the UK’s new MFN tariff regime, the UK Global Tariff (UKGT).