Another month has passed and we’re almost halfway into 2020. Although we’re still trying to combat the global coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a lot of news stories to report.
If you missed anything over the past month, or simply want to refresh your memory, here’s our contractor-focused roundup from the last month.
Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The government announced this scheme to help prevent job losses as a result of coronavirus, and just under 9 million individuals have been able to take advantage of this scheme.
Originally due to end in June, on 12th May the Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would be extended to the 31st October 2020. This extension also introduces ‘flexible furloughing’, a blend of part-time work and furlough. This could prove useful for contractors seeking a gradual return to work. We will keep you updated on this as the government releases more guidance.
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme opens for claims
It was announced during this year’s Budget that the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme would be introduced to reclaim the costs of coronavirus-related SSP.
The online service to facilitate these claims went live on the 26th May. The current rate of SSP is £95.85 per week and this scheme allows for up to two weeks of costs to be reclaimed. You can find more information on eligibility, claiming and alternative arrangements here.
Freelancer confidence at record low
In IPSE’s Freelance Confidence Index Q1, the self-employment association reported that there had been a record low regarding the confidence of freelancers and the self-employed.
Coronavirus has played a considerable part in this, allowing for a dangerous combination of spare capacity and falling rates. The pandemic has also heavily impacted freelancers’ confidence in their business; this figure has dropped by more than 300%, the lowest levels recorded since the survey began six years ago.
Numbers may look less than reassuring right now, but the main message is to remain optimistic. The increase in remote working is expected to create new opportunities for the independent workforce.
Government defeats Finance Bill amendment to further delay IR35 reforms
Ahead of their planned implementation on 6th April 2020, on the 18th March it was decided that the IR35 reforms to the private sector were to be postponed until April 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
On the 19th May, an amendment to the Finance Bill seeking to delay the IR35 reforms for a further two years was defeated by the Government. It was deemed as unnecessary as it would prolong the disparity with the existing rules in the public sector, as well as incurring significant fiscal costs.