OPPORTUNITY: Funding towards legal advice for North East SMEs
We have teamed up with Scaleup North East to help companies impacted by the coronavirus outbreak plan how to get back to business.
Our specialist lawyers will provide a free “diagnostic” call with eligible businesses across the NE, exploring challenges they are facing in the aftermath of the lockdown, and identify specific steps to survive, and then thrive, in these challenging times and beyond.
Through the collaboration with Scaleup North East, eligible North East-based SMEs are then able to apply for up to 40% funding towards up to £4,000 of legal advice.
These might include:
- Employment issues, such as dealing with a phased return to work
- Measures to support cash-flow, such as amendment to terms of trading and debt collection procedures
- Renegotiations and amendments to contracts, and other advice about contracts with suppliers and customers to deal with consequences of Covid-19
- Managing property costs – review of leases, advice on break clauses and formalisation of any revised arrangements recently put in place with landlords/tenants
- Health and safety implications of return to work and social distancing
Find out more on our website or contact partner Damien Charlton. If you are not eligible because of location but are interested in the free “diagnostic”, please contact us.
This will depend on the particular facts and the employee’s circumstances but an employee should co-operate with the employer so far as is necessary to enable compliance with any statutory duty or requirement relating to health and safety.
In addition, conduct outside of work can result in an employee’s dismissal if the conduct pertains to the employment relationship. If an employee breaches their lockdown rules and it affects their ability to work, such as it being no longer safe for them to attend work, or the reputation of the employer, these may be grounds for disciplinary action and subsequent dismissal.
Put simply, if it is a requirement of a particular role that PPE is worn, then this should be provided to the employee. If an employer dismissed an employee for refusal to carry out their role due to lack of PPE then this is likely to be an automatically unfair health and safety dismissal.
Furthermore, anyone who is subject to a detriment as a result of raising a health and safety concern, e.g. someone in this situation who refuses to work due to lack of PPE and is sent home without pay, will also have a potentially valid claim in the Employment Tribunal for that detriment, even if they are not dismissed.
In our latest “in conversation” webinar we discussed the outlook for the corporate transaction market. Whilst it would be a brave person to predict the future of anything at the moment given current circumstances, we were joined by two organisations who are very well placed to provide their views.
John Laud, Head of Corporate Banking for North and West Yorkshire for Barclays, his colleague Stephen Loureda from their Credit Analysis Team, and Jill Williams, Investment Director of Mercia Asset Management’s Growth Fund, were in conversation with Ward Hadaway corporate partners Adrian Ballam and Jonathan Pollard to share their thoughts about how the ‘new normal’ for the transactions market may look:
- With supply chain and forecast prediction challenges, how will banks and investors determine what represents a sound opportunity?
- How will distressed and opportunistic acquisition opportunities be funded, and what is investor appetite for such opportunities?
- How have seller and buyer pricing expectations been impacted as a result of the pandemic?
- How are funders reacting, and how should ambitious businesses respond to the very low, or even negative, interest rates?
We expect this video to be of real value to those businesses whose plans of buying, selling or investment may have been impacted by the current economic crisis, but who are looking at opportunities to determine how they may shape their futures – #gettingbacktobusiness.
One of the key legislative requirements of EMI is that the employee satisfies the working time requirement, which is that they work at least 25 hours per week in the company or, if less, 75% of the employee’s total working time. If the working time requirement ceases to be met, then there is a “disqualifying event”. That means that the tax benefits of EMI ceases. It may also mean that the option lapses, but that depends on the specific terms of the option.
An employee who has been furloughed is by definition no longer working 25 hours/week and therefore on the face of it, there is a disqualifying event. However, the Government has tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill currently going through Parliament providing in effect that time not worked because an employee has been furloughed counts as working time, both for determining whether the working time requirement is met initially and whether there is a disqualifying event. Provided this amendment is enacted, this should address the issue.
You will need to keep a copy of the written agreement for a period of 5 years. If the hours of work change from that which you initially agree, you are likely to need something new in writing to cover each separate arrangement.
You should also keep records of how many hours your employees work and how many hours they are furloughed (i.e. not working). You must keep these records for 6 years, together with a record of the amount claimed, your claim reference number and your calculations.