We are now into week one of Plan B even if at the time of writing this blog our MP’s are still debating measures amid Tory backlash.
It seems that vaccines are still our best line of defence and so until the majority of adults have received their booster jab it would be reasonable to think that the restrictions will continue. Too early to say for how long though.
- Where are you with your planning?
Those businesses in the hospitality industry are already being impacted by the cancellation of bookings. Again, it is too early to predict if other businesses will see similar negative changes, but it is better to be prepared.
The number of people being infected is increasing causing more of the UK workforce to stay at home, staff shortages may well lead to supply chain and delivery issues.
You need to consider these and put in a worst-case scenario planning including how to communicate any delivery issues to your customers and clients.
- Working from home
From Monday 13th December, those who can are advised to work from home. At Myers Clark most of us are again working from home every day.
In our last blog on this subject, we discussed the key areas that you should be ensuring it goes well for you and your team. How to get remote working right for your business is an important part of your planning for the next few weeks so have another read to refresh yourself.
- Employee well being
It turns out that multiple studies over the years have shown that remote or flexible working increases employee productivity. Whilst working from home removes the stress of travelling and gives extra flexibility to staff it still has its downsides.
We are now working from home until further notice not due to choice but because we want to be compliant in the interest of public health. As an employer it is important you keep good tabs on your team just to make sure they are all okay because not everyone will be enjoying working from home all the time.
In our short previous blog how can you harness wellbeing for you and your team we discuss the importance of routine and boundaries and giving your staff the opportunity to discuss any issues they are having. Regular contact is going to be the key here.
The lack of physical presence can very often lead to problems not being noticed so establish good practice to avoid these.
- Data security
Many businesses looked at their processes and systems during the first lockdown. If your team is working from home, you need to have written guidance to help you and them keep compliant and safe.
Online work obviously increases the risk of cyber fraud, and you need to make sure you have taken all the necessary measures to keep your data safe when everyone is not in the office.
This applies to other devices such as use of mobile phones by your staff.
One of the best things you can do is to invest in some Cybersecurity awareness training.
- What can you claim under Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
From Tuesday 14th December adults who are fully vaccinated and have come into close contact with someone with Covid will no longer need to self-isolate. The advice now is to take a lateral flow test every day for seven days.
If the test is positive and the PCR test confirms the same result, they must then self-isolate for 10 days. If they can work at home and they are fit enough to do so they should carry on working.
If on the other hand if they are self-isolating or ill and not able to work for at least four days in a row (including non-working days) you will need to pay them SSP from day 1. But remember you can only reclaim any SSP for periods up to 30 Sept 2021.
After 26th August 2021, the same rules apply if your employee has been advised to self-isolate due to upcoming surgery.
- Plan your cash
We are not in a lockdown, but it is obvious that with the numbers rising the way they have been and people working from home, many businesses are going to be impacted.
What is different this time is most of the government support is removed, there are no cheap loans, or the furlough scheme so, do think about your cash.
Are you still doing your short term and long term cash flow forecast? Do you know if there are any gaps? If you know when they will occur do you know how to fill them?
If you are not doing a cash-flow, then we can’t stress enough the importance of having one.
If you haven’t already we suggest you have a look at how to resolve your cash-flow problems because we share some easy tips on how to maintain a healthy cash flow.
- HMRC Time to Pay
And finally, HMRC are reminding taxpayers about their time to pay facility. If you cannot pay any of your tax bills you should contact HMRC as soon as possible. For the Self-Assessment bill due by 31st January 2022 you are again able to set up the time to pay facility online.
You can set up a payment plan to spread the cost of your latest Self-Assessment bill online if:
- you owe £30,000 or less
- you do not have any other payment plans or debts with HMRC
- your tax returns are up to date
- it’s less than 60 days after the payment deadline but to avoid the 5% penalty you need to make the arrangement by end of February 2022.
- Your liability will be spread over twelve months
For other taxes call contact from HMRC then call the Payment Support Service.
Payment Support Service
Telephone: 0300 200 3835
Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm
Interest accrues from the due dates on all dates until all the debt is paid off in full.
We wish, particularly at this time of year, there wasn’t the need to remind you of all the things to think about because of Plan B and the Omicron variant. We are always here to help you so please just call your normal director or relationship manager if you need any help or to talk through your thoughts and ideas.
We hope like us you will have some time away from work over Christmas to relax and recharge.
We are going to close our office at 1pm on Friday 24th December for the Christmas break and will reopen again on Tuesday 4th January.