Advice to small businesses and FSB members about the novel coronavirus COVID-19

Advice and guidance on reducing the risks of disruption from the COVID-19 virus to you and your business.

Source – FSB

With the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, information and advice from Government can change quickly. For all the latest Government information on COVID-19 and the measures the Government, and Devolved Governments, are taking, please visit the UK Government website, the Scottish Government website, the Welsh Government website or the Northern Irish Government website.

The information below is kept under continuous review and is updated often.

Guidance for Small Businesses

Be aware of and follow COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses from the Government.This guidance will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff on:

  • the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
  • how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
  • what advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas, as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer 
  • advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from Covid-19

What if you have to close your business due to COVID-19?

Download and print a handwashing guidance poster (A4)

Guidance for employers

Current government advice is that the overall risk to the public in the UK remains moderate.

The overall risk to employees in contracting Covid-19 through attending their place of work in the UK is very low. However, our experts from the FSB Legal Protection Scheme (provided by Markel Law LLP) have put together the following guidance to help you manage your staff and your responsibilities to them at this time. Please note this 

What are my duties as an employer?

What is the Government and Public Health Advice on Self-isolation?

Do I have to pay Statutory Sick Pay if employees are required to self-isolate?

Should employees wear face masks to protect themselves from infection?

Are employees entitled to pay if employers require them to stay away from work?

How should I respond if employees refuse to work?

What about employees who are unable to attend work due to school closures or due to dependents self-isolating?

Can I use Lay Offs and Short Time Working?

What about Variations of Contract?

What general measures can I take in the Workplace?

Budget 2020 support for those affected by COVID-19

In response to the global outbreak of Covid-19, the UK Government introduced a raft of measures in the budget to support businesses experiencing increases in costs or financial disruptions. Measures include:

  • Refund for businesses and employers required to access Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
  • A 100 per cent Business Rates retail discount for one year and expanded to include leisure and hospitality sectors
  • Additional £2.2 billion funding support for those small businesses that pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR)
  • A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service

You can find out about this support in more detail on the Government website.

Useful links 

Further guidance regarding the Coronavirus can be found via:

NHS Coronavirus overview: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

UK Government Coronavirus latest information and advice https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

ACAS Coronavirus advice for employers and employees: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

For the latest information follow us on Twitter at @fsb_policy, you can also find more information for small businesses on our coronavirus hub

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