November 2, 2020

lockdown ended

We have identified five major areas where all businesses will need to have a plan to  help them get through this difficult time along with some tips to consider.   

1. There are a number of questions raised over the changes to the Jobs Support  Scheme.  

  • which employers and employees qualify? 
  • what are the rules of the scheme for businesses closed due to lockdown?
  • what are the rules of the scheme for businesses not closed due to lockdown?
  • how does it differ from the furlough scheme? 
  • what happens if there is not enough work for the employee?
  • what if the employee cannot work due to ill health (including Covid)?
  • the job retention bonus 
  • the new criminal offence of allowing your self-isolating workers to come to work 
  • the litigator's sledgehammer: interim relief

2. Making changes to the structure of your business.  

  • Will you be able to continue with the same staff numbers?
  • Will you need to make redundancies?
  • Will you reduce staff hour?
  • Will need to temporary lay off staff?
  • Will you need to totally restructure your business?
  • Have you considered all the options? 

3. Home Working

  • Home workers are protected by the following legislation.
  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974;
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999;
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 
  • Have you carried out a risk assessment for your home workers?
  • Do you have a Home Workers Policy in place? 

4. How will you support your employees when they return to work?  

  • You should reinforce the Government guidelines in respect to safe working,;
  • Be aware of more vulnerable employees;
  • Carry out risk assessments where required;
  • Consider amended duties for certain employees;
  • Have a visible, accessible, and clear sick pay policy;
  • Provide a debt counselling service as part of your employee benefits offering;
  • Offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP); 
  • Be aware of your employee’s mental health;
  • Sections 44 and 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996
  • Be aware what is meant by 'serious' and 'imminent' danger to health? 

5. Redundancies  

  • Do you understand the rules over redundancy?
  • Will you be able to implement these rules safely with no risk to your business?
  • Will you be able to carry out the proper consultations with your employees and their representatives?
  • Are you unsure who should be in the selection pool;
  • Worried about choosing the right selection criteria;
  • Do you know how to deal with employees' challenges to their score? or
  • How to go through a proper and fair consultation process? 

Employment Tribunal Single Claims Cases show a huge increase in numbers.  

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has published the employment tribunal quarterly  statistics for the period April to June 2020. During this period, single claim receipts  and outstanding caseloads rose by 18% and 31% respectively in comparison with the  same period in 2019, while disposals decreased by 21%.  

The MoJ notes that the increase in single claim receipts was likely due to rising levels  of unemployment and changes to working conditions during the COVID-19  pandemic, noting that this was ‘the highest level of single ET claims since 2012/13’,  while the decline in disposals was likely due to COVID-19 related impacts on the  tribunals.  

As always, we will be happy to discuss any of these areas with you. Please call 07375  0097443 or e-mail to discuss.

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