illustration - crowd of people wearing protective masks
illustration - crowd of people wearing protective masks

Many constituents have written to me to share their concerns about the impact that the coronavirus outbreak is having on their lives, especially their working lives as employees, employers and self-employed.

Below you will find information and links, as well as recommendations on where to access advice and support.

It is absolutely essential that we all follow the Government’s advice to stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

On employee rights and support

The current Government guidance for employees can be found here, including information on (not) going to workstaying homesick pay and more.

If your place of work has been severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak and you are on a PAYE payroll scheme, your employer can apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to pay you 80% of your usual monthly wages.

ACAS has further information for employees on: self-isolation and sick payIf the workplace needs to close temporarily and if an employee needs time off work to look after someone. They are running a live Twitter Q&A on Fridays at 10:30am at @acasorguk using the hashtag #AskAcas.

Advice can also be found at: Money Advice ServiceCitizens Advice, and your union.

Free legal employment advice: The law firm Pattinson & Brewer, which usually acts for Trade Unions and their members, are offering free legal advice to workers who feel they have been treated unfairly by their employer as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Please use their 24/7 free phone line (0800 988 0777) for advice and support.

For workers who are still required to work during this time, Public Health England guidelines must be followed. This includes maintaining a 2m distance from other workers and customers to ensure the safety of all. If the public health guidelines are not being followed in your workplace, you can make a confidential report to the Mayor of Manchester ( whose team will be contacting each of those companies reported (all names will be kept confidential.


On support for self-employed people

The government has launched the self-employed income support scheme. To be eligible, you must earn more than half your income from self employment, have submitted a tax return for 2018/19 and have:

  • a trading profit of less than £50,000 for 2018/19, or
  • an average trading profit of less than £50,000 for the tax year 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.

If you qualify the government will pay you a grant for 80% of your monthly profits, up to £2,500 a month for three months.

The Government says Universal Credit (UC) and contributory Employment Support Allowance (ESA) may be available to you if you are self employed.

Self-employed workers can find information and advice from organisations such as: Money Advice ServiceCitizens AdviceACAS or your professional association such as the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed.

On business support

1. Please make use of the Greater Manchester’s Business Growth Hub who are offering a range of resources and guidance to ensure businesses in the city-region feel supported and are prepared to act quickly as the situation unfolds.

You can speak to the Business Growth Hub by calling 0161 359 3050.

To find out more, visit here.

2. You will be aware that the Government has set out a package of temporary measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period.

The package of measures to support businesses includes:

  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • A Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Information on all the above is available at the website and their Business Support pages.

3. You will also find information and advice from organisations such as: The Federation of Small BusinessesACAS and your union or professional association.

4. I am aware of individual banks saying they are offering support for their business (and personal) customers, it may be worth you consulting with your own bank to see what they can offer for you.


As things are moving very quickly on coronavirus updates, please follow me on Twitter where I will be sharing my latest updates.

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