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Court proceedings have been issued. What happens to the court timetable?

The parties to litigation should still take the steps they have been ordered to take and comply with any Orders made by the court. If for any reason it looks as if a direction cannot be complied with because of the Covid-19 virus then an extension of time can be agreed with the other party (up to 28 days) or through the court. We are aware that Orders have been made extending the time for certain steps to be taken by 56 days.

Related FAQs

Which charities will benefit from this funding and when – Key Services?

The Government will allocate £360 million to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.  £200 million of this amount will be paid to Hospices UK to be distributed to hospices to help increase capacity and give stability to the sector.  The remaining amount is to be allocated to:

  • St Johns Ambulance to support the NHS
  • victims charities, including domestic abuse, to help with potential increase in demand for charities providing these services
  • charities supporting vulnerable children, so they can continue delivering services on behalf of local authorities;
  • disabled people
  • Citizens Advice Bureau to increase the number of staff providing advice during this difficult time

The Government Departments will identify priority recipients, with the aim that these charities will receive money in the form of a cash grant over the next few weeks and by the end of April to assist in paying amongst other costs April’s wage bill.

What is the NHS coronavirus Test and Trace scheme and how does it work?

The NHS Test and Trace service is operated by the NHS in England to track and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Where an individual displays symptoms of coronavirus they can be tested to determine whether or not they have the disease. Those with the disease will then be contacted by NHS contact tracers and asked who they have come into close contract with.
Close contact is defined as:

  • Face to face (within 1 metre)
  • Spent more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of another person
  • Travelled in a car or on a plane with another person

The contact tracer will then contact those people with whom the individual has come into close contact and tell them to self-isolate for 14 days.

What amount do you claim under the Flexible Furlough Scheme?

You will claim a pro rata’d amount of 80% of salary, based on the proportion of hours not worked out of the employee’s normal working hours (their “usual” hours).

There are 2 ways to calculate an employee’s usual hours, depending on whether they have fixed or variable hours/pay:

  • For those with fixed hours/pay, you take the number of hours worked in the pay period before 19 March 2020.
  • For those with variable hours/pay, you take the higher of:
  1. the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020 or
  2. the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020.

If employees are paid per task or piece of work done, you should work out the usual hours for these employees in the same way as for other employees who work variable hours, if possible.

When you calculate the usual hours, you should include any hours of leave for which they were paid their full contracted rate (such as annual leave) and any hours worked as overtime (but only if the pay for those hours was not discretionary).

What are the contractual issues that businesses need to think about as they get back to business following lockdown?

It is clear that we are emerging from a completely unprecedented period of disruption for many businesses, and this may have had a huge impact on their contractual arrangements both with suppliers and customers.

As the lockdown eases, and we get back to business, it’s important that businesses take stock of what has happened, and ensure they review and address the legal and contractual consequences of what has been happening since the start of the global pandemic.

Am I obliged to offer staff flexible furlough?

No, there is no obligation on employers to offer a flexible furlough arrangement to staff. Operationally, flexible furlough may not be appropriate for your business and equally, returning on a part-time basis may not be suitable for individuals already furloughed for various reasons. Concerns about returning to work part-time or at all should be considered on a case-by-case basis.