Coronavirus Updates

Last updated: Tuesday 24 March 2020

Our Business

As of Tuesday 24 March, our staff are now working from home as per government guidance. As a result of this, our phone lines will not be operational and we encourage you to use email or webchat to get in touch.

Please note that our opening times have changed temporarily and we will be open for enquiries from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

People Group Services will constantly monitor the latest advice from government with reference to actions required for Coronavirus.

Check this page regularly for updates.

Contingency Plans

We have tested our contingency plans so that should the situation require, we are able to operate remotely without any impact on our day to day running.

Therefore, in the instance that our premises need to close, we will ensure continuity of service for our recruitment agencies and contractors. However, there may be slightly more reliance on digital communication, such as email, rather than landline phone calls.

As of Tuesday 24 March all of our staff are working from home as per government guidelines. Therefore we reiterate, to contact us as far as possible via email or webchat.

Agency Update

VAT Update

(added Tuesday 24 March)

We’ve had a few agencies asking questions about VAT in the current climate. While there has been a change, we need to clarify the situation.

VAT between businesses remains unchanged and has not been turned off.

It is simply the fact that when a business submits its own quarterly VAT return to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) it doesn’t then have to make that VAT payment.

There is no authority to hold back the VAT element of an invoice between suppliers / businesses.

Check on

We are happy to discuss ways to significantly and permanently reduce the VAT paid to umbrella companies. Contact us

Contractor Update

Teaching supply staff FAQ

(added Tuesday 24 March)

View the answers to our most frequent asked questions here.

Support for the self-employed

(added Tuesday 24 March)

Taken from

View the excerpt below:

Committee of the whole House: 23 March 2020 Coronavirus Bill, continued - “Statutory self-employment pay”
  1. The Secretary of State must, by regulations, introduce a scheme of Statutory Self-Employment Pay.
  2. The scheme must make provision for payments to be made out of public funds to individuals who are: (a) self-employed, or (b) freelancers.
  3. The payments to be made in subsection (2) are to be set so that the net monthly earnings of an individual   specified in subsection (2) do not fall below— (i) 80 per cent of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years, or (ii) £2,917 whichever is lower.
  4. No payment to be made under subsection (2) shall exceed £2,917 per month.
  5. A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
Member’s explanatory statement The purpose of this amendment is to make the Government ‘top up’ self-employed workers’ earnings to the lower of 80% of their net monthly earnings averaged over three years, or £2,917 a month.

Pay expectations

(added Monday 23 March)

People Group Services will constantly monitor the latest advice from government with reference to actions required for Coronavirus.

We are aware of the government’s pledge to cover 80% of salaries. We are striving to secure this funding in what is very much unchartered waters. So far we have very little information other than what is available on web pages.

Rest assured we are doing everything we can. In the meantime if you have been working then please gather the information that we would require to present to apply for the funding of your wages. Please only collate this information in the first instance and do not send it into us.

An assignment schedule must have the following detail to enable us to prove you are working for any application of funding under the ‘furloughed’ worker scheme.

  • Place of work/assignment location
  • Job role/position
  • Daily/hourly rate of pay
  • Start and end date of assignment

We will update this information as more detail becomes available to us.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) update

(added Friday 20 March)

Following increased government action on Friday 20th March 2020, our guidance on SSP has been updated below.

A very high proportion of our agency partners work within the education sector, so this will have a significant impact on us too.

Self-isolation and sickness

(added Thursday 19 March)

Contractors who are in self-isolation because of personal sickness or sickness in the household may be entitled to SSP. However, in order for claims to be accepted they MUST be accompanied by a valid assignment schedule as proof of upcoming work.

Individuals can self-certify for 7 days and may have up to 14 days with an NHS 111 certificate.

Once the duration of the assignment schedule is completed then contractors will no longer be eligible to claim SSP and must seek universal credit instead (link below).

School Closures

(added Thursday 19 March)

With all schools in England set to close to the vast majority of students on Friday 20th March, contractors who find themselves without work will unfortunately not be entitled to claim SSP.

Instead, they should apply for universal credit on the link below:

We understand that for some people this presents a difficult situation. With advice changing all the time we will endeavour to stay updated and continue to provide guidance and assistance where possible. We are continuing to service our customers so please get in touch on email, phone or webchat if you have any questions. Our phone lines are very busy, so please do also consider email and webchat.

Webchat is available on the contractor portal and our website.

Online Isolation Notes

Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.

For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they don’t need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence. Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.

The government says the notes can be accessed through the NHS website and NHS 111 online.

According to Matt Hancock, the Health & Social Care Secretary, if an employee does not have an email address, they can have the note sent to a trusted family member or friend, or directly to their employer. The service can also be used to generate an isolation note on behalf of someone else.

What can you do?

We are now into the containment phase of the outbreak. This involves limiting the spread of the virus in order to reduce the number of new cases and allow the NHS to treat the most affected patients. What can you do? Well, the answer is simple. Follow the Government measures closely; this can be as simple as properly washing your hands at every available opportunity, but also involves social distancing and being strict on self-isolation.

Top tips:

  • Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds at a time
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Use a tissue or sleeve to cover coughs and sneezes
  • Stay at least three steps away from other people
  • Avoid close contract with people who are unwell
  • Follow self-isolation guidelines if you or someone you’ve been in contact with shows symptoms of the virus

For more information:

We will continue to monitor the situation and the advice given and will update accordingly.