We thought we’d signed off on news for the year… but yesterday afternoon it was announced that £1 billion in additional financial support is being made available for businesses impacted by the Omicron variant - mainly (but not entirely) for the hospitality sector.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS):
The measures here aren’t restricted to the hospitality sector but are restricted to small and medium sized businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
To be eligible the employer must:
Have employed fewer than 250 employees as of 30 November 2021.
Have had a PAYE payroll system as at 30 November 2021.
Have already paid their employees’ COVID-related SSP. Although this point says ‘have already’, we think this means at the time of making the claim, rather than as at today’s date.
Employers will be able to claim the costs for up to two weeks of SSP for each employee that has to take time off because of COVID-19.
The scheme starts from 21st December. It is temporary and the first claim will be able to be made from mid-January.
The government’s factsheet can be accessed here and more detailed guidance should be issued shortly.
Hospitality Sector Business Grants:
This will be known as the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).
Hospitality is defined as accommodation, food & beverage services, and leisure premises.
Recipients of ARG must be solvent businesses and ratepayers in the hospitality and leisure sector (e.g. a pub, hotel, restaurant, bar, cinema, or amusement park.
Holiday lets are not mentioned and we think are unlikely to be included unless things change.
Grants will be per premises and the amount paid will vary by the rateable value (RV) of each eligible premises, with the following three bands:
The government’s fact sheet can be accessed here. As with SSPRS further guidance will follow.