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Can I be investigated or prosecuted by HSE if one of my workers contracts Covid-19?

The reality of these unprecedented times is that enforcement of health and safety legislation by the HSE (particularly through the criminal courts) in relation to Covid-19 is an extremely unlikely outcome.

Related FAQs

What first steps would you recommend to creating a strategy to integrate pro-active mental health first aid across the workforce?

The Thriving at Work Report and the recent NICE Workplace Mental Health Guidelines provide a good baseline for what all organisations should be doing on workplace mental health – this includes some guidance on training. There does need to be a plan in place and we recommend taking a holistic view of the integration of mental health first aiders into a business – ie it should be one component in a strategy that also comprises training for line managers, awareness training and education for all staff, peer support, and a documented framework for support and signposting.  It is also worth ensuring you have senior manager sponsorship, strong links with Occupational Health if available and also raising awareness via any works councils or employee forums helps ensure there is buy in at all levels.

What about employees who say they cannot return to work due to childcare issues?

Employers will need to be flexible with employees who are unable to return to work at present due to childcare difficulties. While schools have reopened, a period of isolation may result in employees having to keep children off school/nursery and therefore have childcare issues. Some employees will be able to manage this with their partner and extended family, whereas others will not. Where an employee simply cannot make any other arrangements to care for their children in the short term then they will be unable to return to work until that situation changes. Any dismissals on the basis that someone is unable to return to work as a result of lack of childcare are likely to be unfair, at least in the short term where such employees may well be able to demonstrate that they had no options available to them.

VIDEO: In conversation with cashflow.co.uk expert Chris Silverwood about CBILS

Partner at Ward Hadaway Adrian Ballam talks to corporate finance expert and CBILS specialist Chris Silverwood (CorpFin and cashflow.co.uk) to explore the practical ins, outs, dos and don’ts of CBILS applications, answering the questions:

  1. How are banks making their assessments of whether a business can afford a CBILS loan when for many they cannot accurately forecast their revenues for at least the next three months?
  2. What are the red flags that banks are looking for when assessing whether or not to grant a request for a CBILS loan?
  3. What cost mitigation measures should a business have already implemented prior to applying for a CBILS loan?
  4. What level of information should a business provide to support a CBILS application?
  5. What common mistakes are businesses making when applying for funding?
  6. What general tips do you have for businesses seeking CBILS funding?

Click read more to view the video.

How do I determine contractor status?

You must exercise reasonable care in assessing status and making a status determination, considering what the position would be if the contractor was engaged directly by the end user client instead of via a PSC.

Status is usually determined by looking a number of factors and how they apply to the contractor’s working arrangements. This is a difficult exercise that is usually carried out by employment and tax lawyers and it is full of grey areas. We have a toolkit that can help you navigate this process which Paul will tell you more about at the end of the session.

The key factors used to determine status  are:

  • Control:
    • How much control does the end user client have over the contractor in terms of working arrangements (hours, place of work) and how the work is carried out? Or is the individual contractor able to determine how and when they work and without direct supervision of the end user client?
  • Personal service:
    • Is the contractor required to perform the services personally without the right to send a substitute? If there is a right to appoint a substitute is this subject to end user client approval?
  • Mutuality of obligation:
    • Is the end user client obliged to provide the contractor work with a mutual obligation on the contractor to accept that work?
Can I force ways of reducing employment costs onto the workforce?

Some of these can be implemented by you, some need agreement or consultation and some depend on the wording of contracts. We’ll explain more in relation to each option.