Coronavirus Payroll Update

19th March 2020

We are aware that the current crises will place a significant financial and resource pressure on many businesses. With new guidance being released almost daily our expert team have identified some of the key developments that you should be aware of or considering in respect of making payment to HMRC and staffing arrangements.

Making payments to HMRC

In the event that you are struggling to pay HMRC businesses can apply to HMRC for a ‘time to pay’ arrangement on taxes owing. HMRC are likely to be more receptive than normal to such arrangements given the current circumstances. Each agreement is made on a case by case basis through a dedicated coronavirus hotline (0800 015 9559). The usual interest rates of 3.5% on deferred tax payments and payment penalties will be waived during the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses should open dialogue with HMRC as soon as it is appropriate to ensure that an agreement can be reached in advance of payment deadlines. HMRC often require cash flow forecasts to be prepared.

Statutory Sick Pay

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) have produced an article on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and how this will work given the current crises. Further information can be viewed here.

We have yet to be informed how businesses with less than 250 staff will be able to claim this. Rest assured that as soon as we receive this advice we will update you.

Staffing arrangements

You may be considering the need to lay-off staff or provide short-time working arrangements. As the situation will hopefully be temporary, rather than look to made an employee redundant, as a business you can ask an employee to stay at home or take unpaid leave if there’s not enough work for them. For clarification a lay-off is if the employee is off work for at least 1 working day and short-time working is when an employee’s hours are cut.

Further details on this can be found here.

If you are looking to go down either of these paths we recommend speaking to a member of our payroll team and that you obtain legal advice from an employment law solicitor or from our HR Partner; HR Dept.

Payroll Workers are Key Workers

With schools and nurseries closing in the current crises, we have ascertained and are pleased to confirm that payroll workers have been designated as key workers. For payroll staff childcare can continue to be provided, thereby enabling them to be able to continue working. Whether you are a payroll bureau or an employer with an in-house payroll team, this ruling will help ensure employees can continue to be paid accurately and on time in the current situation. Confirmation of this can be viewed here.

Should you have any questions, please do contact our payroll team who will be happy to help.


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