Coronavirus (COVID-19): businesses and employers

Advice and guidance for businesses and employers in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Financial support for businesses in Northern Ireland

Nibusinessinfo.co.uk has information on financial support for businesses, including:

  • how to access the support that has been made available
  • who is eligible
  • when the schemes open
  • how to apply

Registration to the following schemes are now closed, but if you have any queries about your application, see:

Non-domestic rates

A number of rating measures have been introduced to help businesses, including a rates holiday for businesses and the continuation of the Small Businesses Rate Relief scheme. For more information, see:

NI micro-business hardship fund

An NI micro-business hardship fund is now available to help Northern Ireland-based micro-businesses and social enterprises unable to access other regional and national COVID-19 support measures. Find out who is eligible and how to apply at:

Applications for the NI micro-business hardship fund will close at 6.00 pm on Friday 12 June 2020.

Water bills

Water and sewerage bills for businesses and non-domestic customers will not be issued until July. 

A planned annual increase in the non-domestic water and sewerage tariff will be deferred and reviewed in the Autumn.

Financial support for the fishing industry

A new £1.5 million support package for Northern Ireland’s fishing industry has been announced. It is expected the first payments will be made early in May 2020.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) will contact vessel owners in due course about how to apply for the scheme. For more information and the conditions of the scheme visit the nibusinessinfo website.

UK wide government schemes

There are also a number of UK wide government schemes that businesses in Northern Ireland can access. To see what support is available for you and your business a coronavirus business support finder tool is available at:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of your employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Other schemes include:

For more information visit the nibusinessinfo.co.uk website

Guidance from nibusinessinfo.co.uk

nibusinessinfo has advice for businesses on common questions including:

For more information visit the nibusinessinfo.co.uk website 

Business support helplines

HMRC tax helpline

HMRC has set up a helpline for businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about paying their tax due to  coronavirus (COVID-19). Call 0800 0159 559 for help and advice.

Invest NI helpline

Get help with your business online, or by calling the Invest NI Helpline. Telephone: 0800 181 4422

Emergency Volunteering Leave

A new, temporary, statutory right is available for eligible workers to take Emergency Volunteering Leave to help the Health and Social Care system in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

How you can help

If your business wishes to to supply or donate PPE supplies and/ or services to help in the response to COVID-19, use the form at the link below.

Useful links

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If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

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Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

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For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

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For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

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