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How much notice do I need to give people to return to work?

There is no minimum period of notice you are required to give employees of their return, but from a good HR practice point of view you should be speaking to your staff and letting them know what the plan is; giving people a reasonable amount of notice of return will allow them to prepare both practically and psychologically.

Related FAQs

What will my case look like going forward and what are the courts doing?

During the Covid 19 crisis lawyers and the courts have had to adapt with hearings being heard remotely and with more electronic communication. It is clear that going forward, some of these changes will become more permanent.

The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP, has spoken last week regarding changes to the justice system following the COVID-19 pandemic and we know that there is a significant backlog of work that needs to be processed.

Firstly, 10 sites have been identified for ‘Nightingale courts’ which will allow for better social distancing. The authorities have suggested that it is a possibility that courts will need to stay open for a longer time or at weekends, to increase the number of cases that can be heard safely on any given day. This will enable more cases to be heard in a day and therefore a swifter outcome for your case. The standard of video technology will also continue to improve, with plans for new technology being rolled out across all courts form July onwards. The enhanced use of technology may result in matters being heard more efficiently, decreasing the time spent during each hearing.

HMCTS is working to expand access to audio and video technology to support more and new types of hearings. There has been an increase in the use of new and varying equipment over the lock-down period. With the appropriate systems in place, many more hearings could take place on platforms such as the Cloud Video Platform (CVP). Throughout July, the CVP will be more readily available to Country courts. There will be further hardware rolled out to improve the quality of video hearings, and there will be more efficient methods used to organise video lists.

The increased use and training of CVP means that witnesses and advocates may not need to attend court and could attend the hearing remotely. This will give you increased flexibility, enabling you to attend from your office or home. The CVP is efficient and simple to use, with no complex functions; making it user-friendly. This should make litigation more time and cost effective (albeit that there will be the cultural challenge of having less contact with your legal team or the court experience).

What is the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

All employers in the UK are eligible to participate in the scheme. The purpose of the scheme is to allow employers to claim back employment costs if they have furloughed employees arising from the coronavirus crisis. Importantly this means the scheme is not limited to cases where the employee would otherwise have been made redundant.

Key points:

  • Between 1 November 2020 – 30 June 2021, the government will reimburse employers for 80% of wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, with employers expected to contribute 10% of that 80% in July 2021 and 20% of that 80% in August and September 2021. Employers will still need to pay employer NICs and employer pension contributions (these cannot be claimed for).
  • The scheme now also allows employees to return to work part time being on furlough for the remainder. See flexible furlough above for more information.
  • The employer can agree to pay the employee more than it will be reimbursed but it cannot reclaim the additional amount or any other costs associated with the additional amount.
  • The workers covered by the scheme are those who have been “furloughed” which is a leave of absence.
  • Workers must be told about and agree to this change of status (see below).
  • Employers have to continue to pay the furloughed workers and the Government will reimburse the employer.
  • HMRC is administering the scheme and it has been extended until the end of September 2021
  • Those who left employment and are re-employed and subsequently furloughed by agreement are eligible (please see the FAQ regarding redundancy and furlough above).
  • Payments may be withheld if claims are based on inaccurate or dishonest information, or are found to be fraudulent. HMRC has put in place an online hotline for employees and the general public to report suspected fraudulent claims.
  • The Government has made alternative help available for employers to continue to pay employees while the scheme is set up.
How does this protect businesses entering into an insolvency process?

The Act is intended to facilitate the rescue of businesses that are in financial difficulty by preventing suppliers from invoking certain termination clauses under a supply contract, and therefore maintaining supply of goods and services to the business whilst plans to save the business can be considered.

Supply contracts often contain a clause enabling them to terminate the contract, or take other steps such as requiring payment in advance,  in the event that the customer enters an insolvency procedure.

This new Act removes any such contractual right by dis-applying any clause that allows the supplier to terminate the contract, or take any other step, due to the customer entering an insolvency process.

Suppliers are also prevented from demanding payment for pre-insolvency debts owed by the customer as a condition of continued supply.

Additionally, where the supplier had a contractual right to terminate the contract due to an event occurring before the customer went into the insolvency process (whether or not linked to payment issues), the supplier loses this right for the duration of the insolvency process.

ONLINE EVENT: Contracts, managing supply chain issues and the role of directors

Hosted by NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Partners Damien Charlton and Jane Garvin discussed in this webinar contracts, managing supply chains and the role of directors, with  a particular focus on cancellation of events and businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector.

You can find a recording of the webinar from NGI here.

What do I do if I can't travel to the UK to activate my visa?

If your 30-day visa to travel to the UK (vignette) has expired or is about to, you can request a replacement free of charge until the end of 2020 by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. This can be granted with new and extended validity dates to allow travel once you are able to.