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Coronavirus jargon buster for business: which terms are you Googling?

3-minute read

Coronavirus jargon buster for business: which terms are you Googling?
Lauren Hellicar

Lauren Hellicar

15 April 2020

What does ‘furlough’ mean? Am I eligible for the CBILS? How do I apply for the SEIS? Our coronavirus jargon buster pulls together the answers to these questions, and explains several other terms small business owners and self-employed people are searching for during the coronavirus pandemic.

CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme)

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was set up to help UK SMEs (see meaning below) that are losing revenue, and experiencing cash flow problems, because of coronavirus (Covid-19). To access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to six years, your annual turnover can’t be more than £45 million.

CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows you to furlough (see meaning below) your employees if “your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (Covid-19)”. You can apply for a grant that covers 80 per cent of their pay, up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will initially run for three months from 1 March 2020, but may be extended if needs be.

The Cloud

Cloud computing means using the internet to store and access data, instead of your own hard drive, server, disc, USB stick and the like. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom (more on that below) and Google Hangouts use the cloud to keep businesses connected while working remotely.

ESA (Employment Support Allowance)

If you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work, you can apply for Employment Support Allowance. It gives you money to help with your living costs when you can’t work and help to get back into work when you’re able. You can be employed, self-employed or unemployed when you apply.

Furlough or furloughed

To furlough your employees means to give them a temporary leave of absence. Under the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (mentioned above), you can apply for a grant to keep your workers on the payroll even though they’re not doing (and must not do) any work for you.

SEISS (Self-employed Income Support Scheme)

If you’re self-employed and your business has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, HMRC will contact you if you’re eligible for the Self-employed Income Support Scheme. It’s designed to help your business weather the storm by paying you 80 per cent of your average profits over the last three years, or up to £2,500 a month.

SME (small to medium-sized enterprise)

According to the European Commission, a medium-sized enterprise has fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of 50 million euros (£43.6 million) or less. A small enterprise has fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of 10 million euros (£8.7 million) or less, and a micro business has fewer than 10 employees and a turnover of 2 million euros (£1.7 million) or less.

SSP (statutory sick pay)

Usually, employees get statutory sick pay of £95.85 a week when they’re too ill to work, and it’s paid by you, as their employer, for up to 28 weeks. During the coronavirus pandemic, SMEs with fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020 will get a full refund from the government on 14 days of SSP per employee off sick with Covid-19.

Time to Pay

HMRC’s Time to Pay service is available to all businesses in financial distress, with outstanding tax bills. A special helpline has been set up for businesses having difficulty finding the money to pay their tax bill specifically due to the Covid-19 outbreak. You also have the option to delay your second payment on account until January 2021.

UC (Universal Credit)

You may be eligible for Universal Credit if you have a low or no income. This benefit is paid monthly for most people, or sometimes every two weeks. Self-employed people can now access Universal Credit in full during the Covid-19 pandemic, with no requirement to go to a Jobcentre to claim.


Zoom is the video communication tool of choice for many businesses and individuals. A cloud-based platform that’s easy to use and reliable, it has seen a sharp rise in people signing up for accounts during the pandemic. We’ve included a list of its main features in our guide to remote working during the coronavirus outbreak.

Which other words and terms have you found yourself Googling lately? Let us know and we’ll include them in this list.

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