At a time when the UK Government has pledged support for businesses, workers and employees, little has been said about individuals who do not fall into these categories, importantly, the self-employed. Indeed, the Coronavirus Bill makes no mention of this category of worker

During progress of the Bill through the Committee stages, The House of Commons Public Bill Committee has proposed an amendment to the Bill with the introduction of ‘Statutory Self-Employment Pay’.  This is to be made for the self-employed and ‘freelancers’ (though there is no definition of what a freelancer actually is).  The proposal is to ensure that the net monthly earnings for people specified as self-employed or freelancers do not fall below the lower of:

  • 80% of monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years or
  • £2,917

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to ‘top up’ self-employed workers’ earnings to the lower of 80% of their net monthly earnings averaged over three years, or £2,917

If the amendment is inserted into the Bill, a Statutory Instrument (Regulations) will provide us with the details.  At which time, hopefully, they will provide a definition of freelancer and self-employed (presumably someone that is not categorised as either an employee or a worker).

Payroll interest?

Questionable.  Although, what about the number of people on our payrolls that meet the definition of falling within the scope of the IR35 off-payroll legislation in the public sector?  These are deemed employees for the purposes of Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.  However, they are very often self-employed, working for more than one company.

HMRC will already have this deemed pay information, declared via the Full Payment Submission (FPS).  However, will they be able to use this?

Ongoing

Speaking on today’s Radio 4 programme ‘Today’, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that he plans to outline more help for the self-employed later on 24 March 2020.

Another thing to watch out for!

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