Financial support for dog groomers during Covid-19
Our heart goes out to the pet grooming industry at this time, with some confusion as to what is available in terms of financial support for those unable to work during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Unlike pet food, pet grooming is not deemed essential and dog grooming salons and mobile groomers across the country have been forced to close temporarily whilst the whole country works together to curtail the spread of the virus.
But how can your businesses survive? The rules are different depending on whether you are employed, the director of a limited company or self-employed, so here we have a quick breakdown of what you are entitled to if you are unable to work due to the lockdown - or become ill from coronavirus.
Little dog Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash
If you are an employed dog groomer
If you are employed as a groomer with a salary that is paid through payroll as PAYE then you should be eligible for 80% of your wages via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Your employer will arrange this for you and you will receive 80% of your wages (up to a monthly limit of £2,500).
This support is available for:
- full-time employees
- part-time employees
- employees on agency contracts
- employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
The government refers to these employees as ‘furloughed’ and you are eligible as long as you joined Payroll before February 28th this year.
As an employee on payroll if you become sick from Covid-19 or you are self-isolating you are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay and can be furloughed (receive 80% of your wages) after this.
If you joined the company after 28th February and are sick you should be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay but if you joined after this date and are simply unable to work due to the lockdown then you will need to apply for Universal Credit.
If you were laid off by your company due to lack of work before the situation became clear, it may be possible to get them to re-hire you so they can furlough you instead.
When will you get paid?
“We said that we would aim to have the scheme up and running by the April payroll. This is a brand new system that has to be designed from scratch. Claims could be backdated from 1 March.”
Form filling Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
If you are the sole director of a limited company
Some self-employed dog groomers are registered as the sole director of a limited company and pay themselves a wage through payroll and dividends. This is not classed as self-employment as you are paying yourself a salary through PAYE. We can’t find any official info on this, but according to the BBC (and some other online sources) if you are a sole director you can furlough yourself and claim 80% of your salary if you are unable to work - but you must not do any work during this time.
If you are a limited company but you do not pay yourself via PAYE and only pay yourself dividends then you may be entitled to support via the newly announced scheme for self-employed people (See below), the official information surrounding this is unclear so please check with your accountant for details of what you may be entitled to.
Outdoor dog Photo by Bekka Mongeau on Pexels
Support for self-employed people
Announced yesterday (26th March). Self-employed people are entitled to a direct cash grant of 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month, but they will not get the money straight away and there are specific eligibility criteria.
- You have submitted a self-assessment by 23rd April 2020
- You traded in the current tax year, and are intending to continue to trade (or resume trading)
- Have profits (not gross income) of less than £50,000 and these profits must constitute more than half of your total taxable income (either for 2018/19 or for the average of the last three years according to self-assessments)
Those who are recently self-employed and do not have a full year of accounts will not receive any help under this scheme. If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you directly.
They will use existing information to identify whether you are eligible and will contact you to invite you to apply. You will then be required to confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements. The money will be paid straight into your bank account and you do not need to contact HMRC now.
When will you get paid?
You won’t get paid until the first week of June, but the payments will be backdated to March. In the meantime you can apply for Universal Credit. The money is only available for those adversely affected by Coronavirus so if you’re still working in some capacity you won’t be eligible.
What happens if you get sick or have to self-isolate?
If you are self-employed, you cannot claim statutory sick pay but you can claim Universal Credit at the same amount as SSP each week.
Happy dogs Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash
So it looks like there may be a delay in getting paid, but yesterday’s announcement regarding support for the self-employed must come as a huge relief for many of us in these uncertain times. If you are struggling to pay your bills in the meantime, the government is also providing grants and loans and delaying some tax and VAT payments for businesses. Many other companies are stepping up to provide temporary relief from bills and other financial commitments, if you can’t pay on time it is worth contacting them to see what they can do to help. We recommend keeping an eye on Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert website for the best up-to-date information.
We know these are tough times but there are going to be A LOT of dogs needing haircuts when we come out the other side of it so hang in there!
Main Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels