Business advice for veterinary practices and employees

This page is for business advice for veterinary practices and employees. On this page you will find advice for key workers, financial support for businesses and individuals including statutory sick pay, loans and grants for businesses and government advice on being furloughed. This page also includes legal advice from Harrison Clark Rickerbys. Please ensure you regularly check relevant Government resources for up-to-date advice. 

Some government guidance and information may vary in different parts of the UK therefore please check country advice for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and also, for any local variations within each country. Our Covid-19 homepage has further information on transitioning plans intended to ease the lockdown restrictions specific to each country.

Reviewed as of January 2021.


Key Workers

Government advice on what is included in ‘key workers’ can be found here 

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined in the Government’s advice.

Schools, and all childcare providers, are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Critical Business

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed in Government advice and you cannot keep your child safe at home, then your children will be prioritised for education provision. BVA is lobbying for critical business status for veterinary businesses so as to continue to support animal health and welfare.

Financial Support for Businesses

There are a number of support systems that you can avail of as a business to support employees as outlined below.

Job Retention Scheme

Employees can be furloughed which is also known as the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It means that 80% of employee gross pay (up to £2,500) will be covered. This was put in place on 1st March 2020 and extends to 31st October and it can be back dated. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month. Detailed information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available here.

Deferring of VAT and Tax payments

Payment of VAT due in March-June can be deferred to April 2021. If you’re a UK VAT registered business and have a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you have the option to defer the payment until a later date or pay the VAT due as normal. HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount deferred. See Deferral of VAT payments here

For income tax, self-assessment payments on account due in July can be deferred to January 2021. Information is available here. You can also negotiate with HMRC to obtain a more generous application of its time-to-pay scheme details of which are available here.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) relief for all SME’s

SSP of 2 weeks per employee due to Covid-19 is allowed in the following instances

  • For those with clinical signs or isolating due to others in the household
  • The employee must be on the books on 28/02/2020 and the company must have had <250 employees on that date
  • Full details are available here.

Loans and grants for businesses

BVA’s comprehensive guide covers the following:

  • Grants for Businesses
  • Rates Relief
  • Business Interruption Loans for SME and large Businesses
  • Rent Protections

It includes information for businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is available here 


Welsh Government has issued guidance to employers and businesses on COVID-19 to enable veterinary practices to access and benefit from Welsh Government’s business support initiatives. Please visit the Business Wales website to find the most up-to-date information available. Business Wales service continues to be available to support veterinary practices through a range of support options. One-to-one sessions with a Business Wales Advisor can be accessed by contacting Business Wales on This guidance will be reviewed periodically so please check for updates on any new developments and opportunities.

Financial Support for Individuals

There are a number of support systems that you can avail of as an individual as outlined below.

If you are furloughed

  • Furloughing is also known as the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and is in place from 1st March until 31st October.
  • You cannot undertake any work for your current employer until the start of August when you can return to work part-time. Detailed information on the Scheme is available here 
  • A £2,500 cap applies
  • Your employer may choose to top up the shortfall if applicable
  • If your income is cut, you can contact HMRC to find out if you are eligible to any state benefits

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees

SSP is available to you if you are an employee of a business.

  • It is available if you are self-isolating whether due to symptoms or if others in the household have symptoms or if you are high risk of severe illness from coronavirus therefore ‘shielding’
  • You can claim £95.85/week 
  • You can obtain an isolation note online by visiting NHS 111 online

Further information is available here 

Self-employed individuals

Please see UK Government advice on the Self-employment Income Support Scheme here.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for the self-employed

If you are self-employed you are not eligible for SSP.

You can claim either:

  • Universal Credit Details are available here 
  • Employment support allowance. Details are available here 

Legal Business

Protecting business premises in the face of Covid-19 

Practical help for business leaders in the context of Covid-19 

Coronavirus Q&A for employers 

How does Covid-19 affect my business finance? 

Are you failing to pay your business premises rent? 

Legal advice for your business - COVID-19

COVID-19 Legal advice for you or someone you know

Business Support

Business Know How on COVID-19

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.

Please note: we are keen to help the veterinary community access relevant advice and information during these uncertain times. Whilst we will do our best to screen the information we share for relevancy and accuracy, BSAVA are not liable for any content produced by third parties.

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