Hounslow Chamber webinars
All are free, run for 60 minutes and start at 10:00 am:

We are very pleased that Cllr Steve Curran, leader of Hounslow Council, will be part of the panel.

2 nd  June - Health & Wellbeing -

If you have missed our webinars, you can watch them now:  https://hounslowchamber.org.uk/10015
The aviation industry needs our help. Heathrow is the biggest employer in west London, with over 100,000 jobs in the local supply chain. These jobs are under threat. Please click here to see an open letter, which Back Heathrow has put together. Please contact Parmjit Dhanda on parmjit@backheathrow.org if you would like to add your support. Once Parmjit has enough signatories it will be sent to the local press. MPs and the government.
New health measures at the UK border

have been announced to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections.

They include 14 days self-isolation for anyone entering the UK, bar a short list of exemptions. The arrangements are due to come into effect on 8 June.

Please visit  https://bit.ly/gcsborders  for further details. 
New £50million Reopening High Streets Safety Fund
(courtesy of White Label)

Over the Bank Holiday weekend a new £50million Reopening High Streets Safety Fund was announced by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke to help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to get people back to work and customers back to the shops.

Further information on the £50m Reopening High Streets Safely Fund can be found here . The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is intended to help adapt urban centres and green spaces for social distancing during the pandemic. The money will be allocated to councils on a per capita basis and will be ready to spend from 1 June.
Lockdown is being eased (courtesy of HMRC)

On Monday evening the Prime Minister set out a timeline for retail to reopen from 1st June and further guidance has been published on how to operate safely to protect staff and customers. 

Full details of the announcement can be found here:  https://bit.ly/RetailTimeline.

Guidance for reopening can be found here:  https://bit.ly/UpdatedRetailGuidance .

Key details to note:

  • Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing.

  • All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.

  • Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.
More information (courtesy of NABCP)

The Prime Minister informed us on Monday that non-essential businesses can start to open from 15 th June provided the necessary safety measures are put in place. This does not include dentists, hairdressers and close contact occupations.

From August, employers currently using the furlough scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part time whilst still receiving support from the scheme.

This will run for three months from August through to the end of October. Employers will be asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

Can they ask me to go back in part-time?

Not, currently, if you have been furloughed and they are using the government scheme to pay you. It only allows companies to furlough people for all of their normal hours, and bans them from asking you to do any work while you are off.

But if your company has not claimed government money to cover your wages, it can ask you to resume work part-time. Make sure you understand the terms of the request – your employer cannot adjust your contract without your permission, so if it is asking you to change your hours you should get advice.

More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available in the next few days.

The prime minister said outdoor markets and showrooms will be able to start trading again in England from 1 June - so long as they keep customers safe.

All other non-essential retailers - including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets - can follow suit two weeks later, from 15 June.

Employers will face "spot checks" to make sure they are implementing social distancing, and have been told they must complete a risk assessment after consultation with trade unions and workers.

Firms have been told to consider a number of measures to reassure customers and staff, including:

  • Placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance
  • Storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor
  • Placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofa
  • Frequently cleaning objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live on GOV‌.UK (courtesy of HMRC)

If you’re an employer with fewer than 250 employees, you can now claim for coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If you have a tax agent, they can also make claims on your behalf.

To make a claim now, please visit GOV‌.UK and search ' Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19) '.

Which employers can use the scheme?

You’re eligible to use the scheme if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees across all PAYE schemes on 28 February 2020
  • you’re eligible to receive state aid under the EU Commission Temporary Framework – more information about this can be found on GOV‌.UK (please use the search term above).

Which employees are entitled to SSP?

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they either:

  • had or have coronavirus
  • could not or cannot work because they were/are self-isolating at home
  • were/are shielding in line with public health guidance.

Which records should employers keep?

You must keep records of SSP that you’ve paid and want to claim back from HMRC.

You must keep the following records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment for your claim:

  • the dates the employee was off sick
  • which of those dates were qualifying days
  • the reason they said they were off work – if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms or they were shielding
  • the employee’s National Insurance number.

You can choose how you keep records of your employees’ sickness absence. HMRC may need to see these records if there’s a dispute over payment of SSP.

What if I can’t find the information I need?

Please only call us if you cannot find the support you need on our GOV‌.UK advice pages or through our webchat service – this will leave our lines open for those who need our help most.

You can find out more about this coronavirus support measure and others such as HMRC’s Job Retention Scheme, by signing up to one of our webinars. For more information please visit GOV‌.UK and search for ' Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) '.

A word about scams

Stay vigilant about scams which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search 'scams' on GOV‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.
Updates to the Furlough Scheme

It will be a relief to many businesses that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of October.
Dealing with grief in the workplace

Sadly, many people are now grieving the loss of loved ones due to Covid-19. Helping the bereaved can seem daunting and you may be wondering how best to support grieving employees.
Prevention is key to managing workplace absence

Coronavirus-induced stress and working in lockdown is taking its toll on the nation’s mental health. Left unaddressed, this can create a spike in employee absences when you need your staff the most.
Get ready for the UK's points-based immigration system

From 1 January 2021, the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system. 
G& H are holding a Zoom meeting about how to deal with assets abroad when it comes to inheritance and making your will. You might have a holiday home or inherited a foreign assets. Mr Jakub Kotan and a panel of professionals will be going through the nitty gritty of inheritance planning when foreign assets are involved.
Please join us today at 3:00 pm and register at www.garner-hancock.co.uk/webinar
Good News:
Photos by Sue Lindenburg In Bushy Park
Hounslow Chamber of Commerce is the primary support, networking, and representation organisation in west London for SMEs.

We support the interests, the commercial aspirations and the investment for some 18,000 firms - from Chiswick to Feltham, Heathrow to Osterley and Brentford to Bedfont - the Chamber is the voice for all businesses located in the borough.