How do I make arrangements for end point assessments for apprentices?
Arrangements for end point assessments can be modified or rescheduled. End point assessment organisations should engage with External Quality Assurance Providers to agree arrangements for the end point assessments where face-to-face assessments are being modified. Where rescheduling is required due to Covid-19 issues and there is a specified time limit for the ESA post gateway, a further pause of 12 weeks is allowable. This should be recorded by the training provider in the ILR.
These periods are often mistakenly referred to as minimum lengths of consultation (especially by Trade Unions). That is not correct. Consultation can commence, conclude and notices of dismissal be issued within the 30 and 45 day periods. The expiry of the notice would just have to be outside of those restricted periods.
Ordinarily, no but during the pandemic, yes.
You can start employing a Tier 2 or 5 worker who is in the UK before their visa application has been decided if the following conditions have been met.
- You have assigned the worker a Certificate of Sponsorship
- They have made an in time visa application (i.e. they made their new visa application before their current leave expired) and they have provided you with evidence of this
- The job you employ them in is the same as the one stated on their Certificate of Sponsorship.
Sponsors should be aware that they should carry out right to work checks before the individual starts undertaking work for them and if their visa application is eventually rejected, they must stop employing them.
Although sponsors will not be able to record migrant activity on the SMS about these workers, the Home Office has confirmed that any necessary reports should still be made on the sponsor’s internal systems.
If the worker is outside the UK, they may be able to start work for you remotely subject to the relevant employment, tax and immigration requirements in that country.
On Tuesday 23rd June, partner Emma Digby was in conversation with Steve Hamstead and Mark Smith from AON along with Ward Hadaway commercial lawyer Nathan Bilton in a webinar titled Can trade credit insurance help to keep the supply chain moving?
The insurance market is under untold pressure as a result of the pandemic, and in such times there is a risk that insurers will cancel or reduce credit lines, particularly in certain high risk sectors such as retail. However the Government has stepped in to effectively underwrite the existing trade credit insurance agreements, and to keep trade supplies moving. Will this be enough?
In this webinar, we discussed:
- the Government backed scheme and how it will operate
- the prospects of obtaining insurance going forward, and whether it will become too cost prohibitive
- could the new legislation put your business at risk and jeopardise your insurance cover if you cannot cancel a contract when you are not getting paid for your goods or services
- the Brexit effect, and how this will affect the insurance market
- protecting your business with proper risk assessment processes and paperwork
You will need to check the terms of the contract you have with the debtor to make sure you are still entitled to be paid (including checking any force majeure clause).
It is also important to remember that the current exceptional circumstances might also affect your contractual rights in other ways too – please see our commercial & contracts site for more information.
Depending on the type of debt you are owed, there might be some additional restrictions in place that you will need to consider. For example there are certain restrictions on landlords being able to forfeit leases, evict tenants or send High Court Enforcement Officers to collect outstanding rent.
Assuming there are no sector-specific restrictions in place then you should be able to start county or high court proceedings to recover the debt.
As an alternative to starting court proceedings, if the debt is undisputed a creditor can usually opt to issue winding up proceedings against a debtor instead. However, the recently introduced Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act introduces a temporary suspension on the ability of creditors to present winding up petitions to recover money unless the reason why the debtor cannot pay is not related to covid-19. For more information click here.
Often taking firm action is the right thing to do, particularly given that it is a sad reality that it is the creditor who shouts the loudest that will often get paid first. However, one important consideration is the commercial reality that many businesses (and indeed individuals) now find themselves in.
Whether taking legal action is likely to result in payment is always a question any creditor should ask themselves. Some creditors might also want to try to support their customers during these difficult times and/or have concerns about their long term reputation if they pursue the debt too aggressively. However, even if that is the case it is still possible to engage constructively and positively with those who owe you money to try to reach the best possible outcome. This could include:
- Having clear and consistent credit control processes in place
- Obtaining statements of means to help understand what a debtor can afford to pay
- Agreeing realistic payment plans
- Negotiating formal payment holidays
- Putting in place voluntary security to secure the debt
- Identifying those debtors who can’t pay as opposed to won’t pay and targeting resources accordingly
- Looking at what other options might be available, including recovering under parent company guarantees
Many will have worked collaboratively with their suppliers and customers to deal with the immediate public health crisis. This will have meant offering flexibility as to contractual arrangements, whether in delivery dates, volumes of goods or services supplied, or even in the specification of what has been delivered.
If this is the case, it is important that businesses now do their legal housekeeping and make sure they have a proper record of what has been agreed. Unfortunately, our experience shows that many legal disputes arise out of amendments to contracts, typically where the parties to the contract each have a different view about what exactly they agreed to change.
We would therefore advise businesses to review any amendments that they might have agreed either verbally, by email, or otherwise, and consider whether they need to be captured in a more formal way which will make clear exactly what has been agreed to be varied, and (where appropriate) how long that variation will remain in force.
It’s also important to remember that some contracts contain provisions that set out specific requirements about how amendments are to be made. For example, they might require that amendments are made in writing (rather than verbally). These “No Oral Modification” clauses are commonly found in commercial contracts, and the courts have recently shown that they are willing to enforce them.
Failing to deal with amendments in accordance with contractual requirements could therefore have a serious impact on businesses as they recover from the disruption caused by the lockdown. If they end up in dispute with a customer or supplier, a business could find that the contract has not actually been amended in the way that they think – potentially leading to legal costs and liabilities at the worst possible time.