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Can you furlough a suspended employee?

Yes. You should be able to furlough a suspended employee subject to all other eligibility requirements however we recommend that you take advice on this before doing so.

Related FAQs

Will HM Treasury continue to collect my apprenticeship levy payments?

HM Treasury have no current plans to pause the collection of apprenticeship levy payments from employers, therefore levy-paying employers must continue to make payments. There is also no plan to extend the 24 month period allowed to spend levy funds.

My planning permission is due to expire, can I extend the period for implementation?

The Government announced on 22 June 2020 that it would be making provisions to enable planning permissions that have lapsed since 23 March 2020, and those that are due to lapse before the end of 2020, to be automatically extended.
The Government’s detailed proposals are set out in section 17 of the Business and Planning Act 2020, which entered the statute books on 22 July 2020. If a relevant planning permission is subject to a condition which requires the development to be begun no later than between 19 August 2020 (when section 17 of the Business and Planning Act 2020 will come into effect) and 31 December 2020, the condition is automatically deemed to instead provide that the development must be begun no later than 1 May 2021.

The Act also makes provision for any conditions requiring development to be begun between 23 March 2020 and 19 August 20202 to be extended to 1 May 2021, although this is not automatic. Where the provisions have such retrospective effect, an application is required to the local planning authority. The local planning authority are only able to grant approval, however, if they are satisfied that any EIA and habitats assessments continue to be valid. Deemed approval provisions will apply if the local planning authority do not determine any application within 28 days. The local planning authority are not able to approve such applications after 31 December 2020 so applications should be made in good time in advance of this date. There is the possibility of an appeal against the local planning authority’s decision but notice of the appeal must be submitted before 31 December 2020.

The Act includes similar provisions in relation to both detailed and outline planning permissions.

Can I collect health data in relation to Covid-19?

Yes. With respect to employees you have an obligation to protect their health so you can gather information to do that. You might gather information from your employees on who has the virus, who has had it and recovered and also who has tested negative. You might also want to know if individuals have been in contact with someone who has it or if they are in a vulnerable group. It is reasonable to want to know where individuals have travelled. In the future it may also be reasonable to know if they are planning to travel to a virus hot spot, as the impact of the virus around the world is likely to continue for some time even after the outbreak has been contained in the UK.

It is reasonable to gather some information about visitors to your site, be they customers or suppliers, as this information will also help protect your staff. However, you should keep what you gather to a minimum. For visitors, it’s unlikely that you need to know anything more than they have Covid-19, are displaying symptoms or have recently been in contact with someone who has the virus.

What sort of issues are likely to have arisen?

The Coronavirus pandemic will have impacted businesses in many different ways, but some of the most likely impacts that could have a legal implication are as follows:

  • Services were not performed in accordance with contract during the period of disruption. This could be a reduction in volume of services performed, a suspension of services, or performance in a way that does not comply with contractual KPIs
  • Late delivery or non-delivery of goods because of factory closures, or disruption in the supply chain
  • Changes being agreed between parties to contracts to deal with the consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak
What has been the response from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)?

The CMA is the government body that is responsible for protecting consumers from unfair trading practices. It has announced programme of work to investigate reports of businesses failing to respect cancellation rights during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Based on the complaints received by them from consumers, the CMA has identified three sectors of particular concern:

  • Weddings and private events
  • Holiday accommodation
  • Nurseries and childcare providers

The CMA has expressed concern about the number of complaints that it has received about businesses seeking to retain deposits for cancelled events, undue restrictions being placed on use of vouchers provided for cancelled bookings, and payments being demanded to hold open nursery places.

The CMA has said it will prioritise investigation of these sectors, and then move on to other sectors.