Can NHS or local authority workers be furloughed?
It is envisaged that employees of organisations falling into the first two categories set out above and won’t be eligible for the job retention scheme in relation to the majority of their employees. It is envisaged that NHS Trusts for example are going to require their staff to be working at full capacity where possible. However, the guidance doesn’t definitely exclude public sector organisations from furloughing employees and notably the government expects such organisations to use public money to continue to pay staff and not furlough them, rather than say requires. In reality, it is difficult to see how such an organisation will be able to rely on the scheme, but the guidance doesn’t completely rule it out.
Aside from the CBILS Scheme, the Government have, or are in the process of, implementing several different schemes to support businesses financially through the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Trusts should allow for telephone advice rather than face-to-face review from critical care when clinically appropriate.
- Hospitals should discuss the sharing of resources and the transfer of patients between units, including units in other hospitals, to ensure the best use of critical care within the NHS.
Please note, the above is intended to provide a summary of the key recommendations which emerge from this guidance. Access to the full guidance can be found here.
We have developed a toolkit to assist with compliance. The Toolkit contains a specimen contract; detailed guidance; step by step guides and flowcharts; details of the factors to take into account for the status determination test; procedures for challenging the determination; and standard letters for the process. Click here to fill in a form and register your interest in the Toolkit, which contains:
- Detailed guidance in the form of Key Facts
- Employment status checklist
- Employment status assessment flowchart
- Status questionnaire and guidance
- Letter confirming self-employed status (agency)
- Letter confirming employed status (agency)
- Letter confirming self-employed status (direct with PSC)
- Letter confirming employed status (direct with PSC)
- Status disagreement process guidance
- Status disagreement process flowchart
- Letter confirming outcome of status disagreement process
- Consultancy agreement
No. Before continuing any negotiations, you need to strongly consider whether now is the best time to settle. There is a myriad of uncertainty due to the pandemic, with unemployment rates increasing, volatility in the stock markets and difficulties regarding placing valuations on assets. This could all lead to the financial settlement being unfair to you and cause you financial difficulties in the future.
Any financial settlements reached following marital separation should be embodied in to a Court Order, to prevent future claims from your ex-spouse. As a general principle, although maintenance orders are always variable, financial orders in respect of capital (e.g. house, cash, investments, pensions) are final and it is very difficult to set aside a Court Order. The question will be whether or not the pandemic is judged as a Barder event, which broadly means something viewed as unforeseen. It would be challenging for you to argue that the effects of COVID-19 are unforeseen given the widespread expectation of an economic crisis. The Court previously found against a husband who wanted to revisit an Order that he said was unaffordable following the 2008 financial crisis, with one Judge commenting that a 90% drop in the Husband’s share price was a “natural process of price fluctuation”.
Even if you informally agree a settlement with your ex-spouse, and you do not have this reflected in a Court Order, your ex-spouse may still rely on this agreement within future Court proceedings and argue that you should be held to it.
It is, therefore, very dangerous to be reaching any financial settlements at this time with your ex-spouse without careful consideration and legal advice. Further, even if an agreement is reached, market volatility can mean longer implementation times, especially when a settlement relies on the sale of property.
Many policies will only provide business interruption cover if it arises from property damage. The FCA has acknowledged that insurers are entitled to reject claims in relation to such policies, notwithstanding the success of the FCA’s test case in the Supreme Court, and which was generally favourable to policyholders [Insert a link here to our update on the test case]. In other cases the policy wording will be less clear and businesses may legitimately feel that their insurer is wrongly withholding payment.
One route of challenge to an insurer’s decision is via one of the well-publicised class actions. Another route of challenge is by a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This service is open to consumers and small and medium-sized businesses, ‘micro-enterprises’, charities and trusts. The service will be an attractive option for many businesses, as it is free and relatively quick (although it remains to be seen how the service keeps up with an increase in demand as a result of the pandemic). You will need to have complained to your insurer before bringing a complaint with the FOS.
Further details can be found here.