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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Businesses saving millions on sick pay during pandemic

18 January 2022

The government has reintroduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme but new research suggests that businesses have already saved more than £300 million on sick pay because staff that work from home don't take as much time off.

As Brits are once again having to work from home if they can, new research has found that there has been a significant drop in the number of illness days taken by workers during the pandemic. A study by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance based on data from the Office for National Statistics has found that absences fell by 5.3% during the pandemic to a record low of 1.8 days per year, saving the British economy £338 million annually.

British businesses spent approximately £6,985,492,500 on sickness pay in 2019; however, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing a large number of the population to work from home, this number fell to £6,647,062,500 in 2020. The female sickness absence rate fell 4.2% during the pandemic, while the male rate fell 6.25%.

In fact, COVID-19 was only the fourth biggest cause of sick days in the UK in the past two years. Minor illnesses and musculoskeletal issues were the top two reasons for taking a sick day in 2020.

Commenting on the research, John Atkinson, head of commercial business at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, said: "It's good news for many that the number of sick days Brits are taking are on the fall, with the increased number of people working from home a key factor. For small businesses and SMEs, sickness can be a huge issue, and our research suggests that many business owners can worry slightly less about this issue over the next 12 months."

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The government re-introduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme on 14 January 2022, allowing small businesses with fewer than 250 employees to get up to two weeks' Statutory Sick Pay (worth £192.70) for each employee who is off work because of COVID-19. The re-introduction was part of a new support package announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak before Christmas as a surge in Omicron cases was gripping the UK.

Any small firm wanting to take advantage of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme must make a claim by 24 March 2022. The scheme applies to any sick days taken on or after 21 December 2021.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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