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Coronavirus: States will pay workers affected by Covid-19 impact 80% of minimum wage for three months

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THE States of Guernsey will pay workers in sectors impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic 80% of minimum wage for at least the next three months to prevent redundancies, protect businesses and provide a safety net for those unable to work.

Policy & Resources vice-president Deputy Lyndon Trott. (27653201)

The Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding Scheme will initially be available to the following industries, although the list could grow more information of affected businesses becomes available:

Hospitality and tourism, passenger transport and travel, rental and leasing of cars and recreational goods, recreation and entertainment, event management and event services, personal service activities such as hairdressers, beauticians and animal boarding, commercial fishing,private extra-curricular education such as dance and riding schools, non-food and non-pharmacy retail, advertising and marketing, construction and manufacturing.

Under the scheme, the States will pay 80% of minimum wage with employers required to pay the remaining 20% to ensure all workers receive at least the minimum £8.50 per hour rate.

Employers have been encouraged to further top-up this pay packet, especially for staff on higher salaries.

Businesses must have been trading for at least six months to be eligible for the scheme and the support offered will be based on the normal hours worked by employees.

Deputy Lyndon Trott, Vice-President of the Policy & Resources Committee said the safety net would be deployed rapidly.

‘It is critical that measures agreed are able to be communicated and implemented almost immediately, given many businesses are fast running out of time to delay critical decisions on their ongoing trading plans and future of their workforce.

‘For that reason, measures also need to be simple to implement and administer to avoid critical delays to businesses accessing this support.

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‘The Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding Scheme will enable the States to support businesses in the way that many of them have requested – providing funding to keep employees in post, ensuring they are ready to support businesses when they enter the recovery phase.

‘The scheme also helps individuals stay in employment. It means that they and their families retain an income, which provides some comfort and support during this challenging time for all of us.'

The scheme is the keystone measure in a new package designed to help businesses survive the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis.

Other measures include a £3,000 grant to businesses with fewer than ten employees and the self-employed in the aforementioned sectors that have been trading for at least six months.

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Deputy Trott stressed the importance of providing support to the self-employed and small businesses and said more measures would be announced in the next few days.

‘It is important we get as much support to our businesses and self-employed as possible.

‘These are further steps today, and by the end of the week we expect to be in a position to confirm the establishment of a loan finance guarantee scheme with the banks, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

‘No single step will solve the economic shock.

‘But taken together the measures we have put in place will support businesses and the self-employed in providing cashflow, reducing cost and helping them stay on their feet to plan for recover.’

To further aid businesses, the States will also consider rent deferrals for their tenants.

Mooring fees have also been suspended for registered and licensed fisherman who moor in St Peter Port and St Sampson harbours for the rest of 2020.

Businesses can also apply to defer TRP until July 2020, although professional services and regulated finance businesses will not have access to this deferment.

Social Insurance Employer contributions due in mid-April have also been deferred, although quarterly employer schedule/ETI returns, ETI liability and Employee Social Insurance contributions must still be paid as usual.

Zach Coffell

By Zach Coffell
News reporter

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