20 Jan

Mel’s COVID-19 Update: 13th January 2021

Mel’s COVID-19 Update: 13th January 2021

A round up of the latest business and COVID-19 news for our clients. Please talk to us if there is anything you need. Stay safe and keep your strength, we will get through this!

Coronavirus graph

How to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus

HMRC has updated its guidance about taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of coronavirus and how to report them to HMRC.

Information about ‘coronavirus (COVID-19) tests’ has been added.

Coronavirus tests provided by the government, as part of its national testing scheme, are not treated as a benefit in kind for tax purposes. This means for employed healthcare workers and other eligible front-line staff who get a test through this programme, there is no tax due and employers do not need to report a benefit to HMRC.

If employers are providing antigen testing kits to employees, outside of the government’s national testing scheme, either directly or by purchasing tests that are carried out by a third party, no Income Tax or Class 1A National Insurance contributions will be due. Similarly, employers and their employees will not be liable to any Income Tax or National Insurance contributions, where an employee receives money from their employer for obtaining a test.

The Government is legislating for this through regulations, and guidance will be updated shortly.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-treat-certain-expenses-and-benefits-provided-to-employees-during-coronavirus-covid-19?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_source=5753c94e-3d3a-4b8b-8d28-ffc8ff7a132c&utm_content=daily

Advice for pregnant employees

This advice is for pregnant employees, but the link below should also be referred to by employers. The guidance will help employees discuss their roles with managers and / or occupational health teams, how best to ensure health and safety in the workplace.

If an employee is pregnant and they have let their employer know in writing of the pregnancy, their employer should carry out a risk assessment to follow the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW) or the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000. This may involve obtaining advice from the occupational health department.

Information contained in the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) in pregnancy should be used as the basis for a risk assessment.

See: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

Pregnant women of any gestation should not be required to continue working if this is not supported by the risk assessment. Pregnant women are considered ‘clinically vulnerable’ or in some cases ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus (COVID-19), and therefore require special consideration as contained in government guides for different industries.

For the full guidance see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-pregnant-employees/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-pregnant-employees

Letters from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to those in the manufacturing industry and its supply chain and to those in the construction sector

The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, has written to everyone working in these sectors to confirm working should continue, and for employers to follow the “Working safely during coronavirus” guides.

The working safely guides can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

MOT centre and tester guidance

There is updated guidance for MOT managers and testers on providing MOT tests during coronavirus (COVID-19), including staying open and working safely.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-mot-centre-and-tester-guidance?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_source=0b60eea2-b051-40e7-88cb-260be5762d4d&utm_content=daily

During COVID-19 I want to ensure that everyone is as up to date as possible with regards to Government changes and support that impacts businesses. Please note that this update is correct as of date of publishing (13th January 2021).

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