How do I apply for CBILS?
CBILS is made available through the British Business Bank’s 40+ accredited lenders and partners, which are listed on their website (https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/accredited-lenders/).
Businesses should initially approach their own lender and only consider other lenders if they are unable to access the finance they need. Note, not every accredited lender can provide every type of finance listed.
Some banks/lenders are not included in the list of accredited lenders which appears to mean that they cannot provide support through the Scheme. We understand from the British Business Bank that further lenders are applying to be accredited but that this may take a little time to process. If the provider of your senior debt is not on the accredited list you should consider approaching the bank which provides your day to day account banking services.
If you wish or need to access the Scheme via an alternative funder the process may take longer as usual on-boarding and KYC processes will need to be undertaken.
An employee can refuse to attend work but their refusal to do so will have to be based on a reasonable belief that their health and safety is in danger. Whether or not their refusal is reasonable will take into consideration factors such as the employee’s own health and whether they are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract Covid-19 and the steps their employer has out in place to mitigate the danger of contracting Covid-19 at work.
In such circumstances where the employee’s belief is deemed to be reasonable, they will be entitled to stay at home and receive full pay.
If an employee is subsequently dismissed for refusing to attend work in these circumstances, they may be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.
All organisations have underperformers. Capability is a potentially fair reason to dismiss and is separate to any redundancy procedures.
Generally, capability falls into either absences through illness or underperformance in the role. Those who are absent through sickness can be furloughed, but when furlough comes to an end they will need to go back onto sickness. If you are looking to tackle absence then you need to tackle long term and short term absence in a different way.
Long term absence: You need to establish whether the employee is able to return to work (with or without reasonable adjustments) in the medium term. This requires medical opinion and be careful of disability issues. Reasonable adjustments are likely to be important.
Short term absence: You will need to demonstrate that you have fair absence triggers in place and there is normally be a 3 stage procedure: warning and final warning followed by dismissal on notice. Each stage needs a fair procedure, with written information, a fair hearing and the opportunity to appeal. Be careful of disability issues.
As for underperformance: To tackle this, you will need to have clear SMART objectives in place and evidence of the employee failing to meet these. There would then normally be a 3 stage procedure: warning and final warning followed by dismissal on notice. Each stage needs a fair procedure, with written information, a fair hearing and the opportunity to appeal.
If a contract contains a force majeure clause this may become operative due to the coronavirus pandemic and related emergency legislation. Such clauses exist to ensure that if some unforeseen event prevents a party from being able to perform their obligations under a contract, either on time or at all, they will be excused from their obligations and not be held liable for non-performance.
The clause must actually be written into the contract to have effect – a force majeure clause cannot be implied into a contract. Whether it can be relied on by a party will depend on the wording of the clause itself as it may only be applicable in certain limited circumstances.
You should seek legal advice at an early stage if you think that force majeure is relevant, because a number of potentially complex issues must be addressed, many of which will turn upon the exact wording of the force majeure clause in the contract in question:
- Has a force majeure event actually arisen?
- What notification process do you have to follow to rely on the provision?
- What mitigation steps do you have to take?
- What is the effect of the force majeure event – is the contract suspended, or can it be terminated (which might not be what you want)?
Similar to the position for claims between 1 August 2020 and 31 October 2020, for claims between 1 July 2021 and 30 September 2021 there will be a cost to businesses of furloughing staff, which will gradually increase until the scheme closes at the end of September as follows.
- From 1 July 2021 employers will be required to contribute 10% of wages, with the Government contributing 70%.
- From 1 August 2021, the employer contribution increases to 20% and the Government will contribute 60%.
- 30 September 2021: scheme closes.
Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current wages, up to £2,500 a month.
If a tenant continues to refuse to take heed of the government’s social-distancing guidelines, for example by inviting large groups of people who do not reside there to their property, it can constitute a nuisance. One housing association successfully applied for an injunction. The injunction ordered by the Court stipulated that no persons, other than the children of the tenant, are to attend the property until the current social-distancing restrictions are lifted by the government.
A representative of the housing association highlighted the need for the current guidelines to be followed and the need for housing providers to ensure that all residents living in their communities are kept safe during this time of ‘unprecedented risk’.
This case demonstrates that flouting of the current restrictions is likely to be considered anti-social in the eyes of the courts – a point which all housing providers should bear in mind during this period. Further, it highlights the availability of an alternative remedy to the issuing of possession proceedings (in light of the government’s moratorium on evictions) to deal with anti-social behaviour during the next three months, Covid-19 related or not.