Do I need to obtain consent from a member of staff if we have taken the decision to restrict/alter their duties?
If the duties are so fundamentally different from their contracted role, then yes. For example, if you are asking a frontline clinical member of staff to undertake administrative tasks in another area, then this will be a fundamental change to their terms and conditions for which you need their consent.
If there is a minor alteration to their duties, or the clause within their contract is wide enough to cover their amended duties, then arguably to do not need their consent but best practice would be to obtain their agreement.
We don’t recommend this. Status determination statements must be issued before 6 April 2021 for current engagements and the appropriate deductions are to be made on payments for services carried out on or after 6 April 2021.
With another lock-down in force in England, it has been confirmed that the courts will remain open. This is different to the first lockdown in March 2020, in which the majority of courts were closed and most face to face hearings did not take place. Hopefully, this new lock-down measure will ensure that cases are still being heard at a steady rate, and there should not be a backlog for your case to be dealt with.
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC MP emphasised the importance of maintaining safety during the new measures: “Our courts & tribunals continue to be an essential public service, served by essential workers and meeting Covid-secure standards endorsed by public health officials. With the use of remote hearings wherever appropriate, this vital work can and should continue.”
A large sum of £110m has been spent in recent months to make courts safe and to ensure that trials should go ahead where necessary. As a result of the expenditure, hearings can now still take place both in person, whilst adhering to the rules, as well as remotely. Your case may be heard in court if it is deemed as being “necessary in the interest of justice”.
Precautionary measures, such as social distancing, will still be in place, with Judges and magistrates ensuring that this happens.
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon commented: “The next few weeks will present difficulties in all jurisdictions. But as before judges, magistrates, staff, the legal profession and others involved in the system will meet them and ensure that the administration of justice continues to function in the public interest.”
Follow up to date UK Government advice. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19
For best practice and more detailed information; consult the HSE’s website at https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.htm
Failing to follow the guidance is likely to be regarded as failing to take all reasonably practicable steps.
Although there is no formal selection process that must be followed in order to furlough staff, the basis for selecting who will be furloughed should be explained to all relevant staff. Basing this on work levels, required skills or whether work can in fact be carried out efficiently from home will help this process. Staff can be invited to volunteer to be furloughed or re-furloughed. Any requests can be considered on a case by case basis. It may be that a particular skill set is required which may result in an employee’s request being refused.
With the exception of the Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (see below), there was initially little dedicated financial assistance for medium-sized and larger businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak (the so-called “stranded middle”); however, from 20 April 2020 such businesses (with a turnover above £45 million) have been able to access finance via the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (“CLBILS“).
CLBILS operates in a similar manner to CBILS except that a lender can provide:
- up to £25 million to businesses with turnover from £45 million up to £250 million; and
- up to £50 million to businesses for those with a turnover of over £250 million.
Finance is available in the form of:
- term loans
- revolving credit facilities (including overdrafts)
- invoice finance and
- asset finance,
in each case available on repayment terms of up to three years.
Several changes to CLBILS took effect from 26 May 2020. The maximum amount available through CLBILS to a borrower and its group increased from £50m to £200m. Term loans and revolving credit facilities over £50m will be offered by CLBILS lenders which have secured additional accreditation. The maximum size for invoice finance and asset finance facilities remains at £50m. Companies borrowing more than £50m through CLBILS will be subject to further restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan. Further information on the most recent changes, including new provisions on seniority of CLBILS facilities, can be found on the CLBILS page on the British Business Bank website. There is also an in-depth FAQs section for businesses, which has the full details of the changes to the scheme.
Unlike CBILS, the UK government will not make payments to cover the interest and any lender-levied fees in the first 12 months of any facility so these larger businesses will not benefit from the no upfront costs and lower initial repayments that smaller businesses eligible for CBILS benefit from. The other key provisions of CLBILS, such as the eligibility criteria, the 80% government-backed guarantee and security, are similar to those of CBILS.
Eligibility is similar to CBILS and businesses must:
- Be UK-based in its business activity
- Have an annual turnover of more than £45 million
- Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable the business to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty
- Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Not have received a facility under the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.
Businesses from any sector can apply, except the following:
- Credit institutions (falling within the remit of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive), insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
- Building Societies
- Public-sector bodies
- Further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
- State-funded primary and secondary schools
All lending decisions remain fully delegated to the accredited lenders.