Our commitment to customers and partners in response to COVID-19

Company News, Small Business Advice 16 March 2020
Mechanic in Garage

Paymentsense would like to address the current pandemic of COVID-19, as it continues to impact the lives of thousands globally each day. We are under no illusion that the outbreak should be treated seriously and we are sensitive to this issue during this difficult time. 

The below post outlines our business commitments which we have implemented to help our employees, partners, and customers in every way that we possibly can. 

We will be continuously observing the pandemic and updating our protocols and policies, using both official government guidance, and World Health Organisation (WHO) best practices.

Please rest-assured that during this unsettling period we are working tirelessly to restructure the business to protect everyone that works for, and with us. 

While health and safety is our main priority, we have been proactive in transitioning our working-model, so that our customers still have our highest level of support, at a time they need it most.

What have we done so far to protect business continuity?

We take full responsibility for the health and safety of our employees and believe that as a business, we should also take preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the UK. 

By protecting the amazing people of Paymentsense, we can also protect our small business owners and partners and continue to assist them with their business operations. 

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

  • Provided all staff with the hardware and technology to work remotely
  • Encouraged employees that can work from home at ease to do so
  • Stress-tested communication lines between multiple teams to ensure complete efficiency 
  • Postponed all large conferences or events 
  • Updated our internal and external communications to ensure we comply with government guidelines and our own best practices

How can small business owners maintain business continuity?

This is undoubtedly a very uncomfortable time for many, and we understand that the constant stream of information can be contradictory, overwhelming, and simply impossible to process. 

With this in mind, we’d like to support small businesses by outlining the ways in which they can access financial aid as quickly as possible:

Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay

What is it?

Legislation allowing small and medium businesses to reclaim the statutory sick leave paid to their staff due to COVID-19 related absence.

Who is eligible?

Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.

When does it start?

The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force.

When can I expect to see repayments?

The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

What do I need to do now?

Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note

Business Rates: increases and extensions

What is it?

In 2018 the government announced the Business Rates Retail discount to help retail recover from the fluctuating consumer economy. Earlier this year the Retail Discount was raised from one third of the bill to 50%.

In light of COVID-19, the UK government has decided that this business rate discount will increase to a full 100% and it will be extended to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. They have also laid out plans to increase the planned rates discount for pubs to £5,000.

What do I need to do now?

If you are eligible for the newly expanded retail discount and/or the new pubs discount, you should apply to your local authority to receive the discount. 

Businesses that received the retail discount in 2019-20 will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

When can I apply to my local authority?

Guidance for local authorities on the application of the expanded retail discount will be published by 20 March.

Where can I find out more about Business Rates Discounts?

To read more details about what Business Rates Discounts are and how they can help you, visit the official government page here.

Small and medium business funding

What is it?

An additional £2.2 billion funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR). 

Local councils can provide a one-off grant of £3,000 to around 700,000 businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Who is eligible? 

Businesses that are currently eligible for SBBR will also be eligible for the extra funding. However, this only applies to businesses registered in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s legislation is devolved. 

The criteria for SBBR is:

  • Your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000
  • Your business only uses one property – however you may still be able to get relief if you use more

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

What is it?

A loan scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank which will launch in a matter of weeks, to give businesses access to bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the scheme will support loans of up to £1.2 million in value. 

This new guarantee will initially support up to £1 billion of lending on top of current support offered through the British Business Bank.

How do I apply?

The government has not yet released any details on applications, but check back here in the coming weeks for more details.

Tax support

What is it?

Tax relief for businesses and the self-employed that are suffering financially. Arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

How to apply?

To find out more about business tax relief, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Relaxed planning permission

As of the 18th March, the government relaxed laws on planning permission, allowing dine-in restaurants to transform into takeaways, to help them continue trading.

Read more about this here.

Business Funding by Paymentsense

In addition to the above government support, Paymentsense customers that need funding fast can apply for Business Funding.

What is it?

Business Funding offers existing customers fast and flexible access to capital. It’s a quicker alternative to a traditional bank loan, with repayments that are proportionate to your earnings.

How does it work?

You select the funding amount and a repayment option. Repayments are taken as a fixed percentage of your card takings, meaning you only repay as you get paid.

How do I apply?

Read more about Business Funding and apply online here. It takes 10 minutes, and you’ll receive a decision within one business day.

 

Next steps

We advise that all business owners keep checking the official government website to find out more about COVID-19 financial aid, as this will be updated accordingly. 

The Paymentsense team will update this page when any new information comes to light.

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