VIDEO EXPLAINER: Consultation exercises – the why, the who, and the how
This free Getting back to business webinar was held on Thursday 7th May.
On this video, employment partner Edward Nuttman and Graham Vials went through what a consultation exercise is and when you are required to hold one. They then took you step by step through the process, describing all you will need to do to ensure legal compliance whilst at the same time being sensitive to the emotional and motivational impact on your employees and managers.
It is. If you assess a risk and identify a control measure then fail to deploy it, then you are breaching your legal duties under HASWA and potentially committing a criminal offence. So if you decide for example that N95 respirators have to be used by everyone, you have a duty to provide them.
So the short answer is yes.
The Government introduced shielding in the peak of the pandemic. Current advice is that shielding is not required. However, those who have been shielding are likely to be the most vulnerable and will likely be nervous about a return to work. They may also be disabled under the Equality Act 2010. You should therefore consider any concerns that are expressed and take action to mitigate any risks. For example, it may be possible to keep these employees on furlough until the scheme runs out or they may be able to work from home. If you would like to discuss any specific scenarios then please contact one of the team.
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
Where an apprentice is made redundant the training provider should support the apprentice in seeking alternative employment within a 12 week period. ESFA will support this process. Where an apprentice is placed on unpaid leave or the nature of their employment no longer supports their apprenticeship, it should be considered whether a break in learning would be appropriate.
An employer who wishes to make an apprentice redundant should seek advice on the process to be followed for this.
The Government acknowledges that there may need to be some flexibility to enable developers to meet any existing s106 obligations, in particular financial contributions, during the current health crisis and in recent guidance it encourages Councils “to consider whether it would be appropriate to allow the developer to defer delivery”. However, the Government considers that the existing arrangements for varying a section 106 agreement by way of a deed are sufficient and will not be legislating for any additional temporary mechanisms.
In the absence of any formal variation, the Government does however advise Councils to take a “pragmatic and proportionate approach” to enforcement of planning obligations at the current time.
The Government’s advice does not refer to concerns over the quantum of any planning obligations but is concerned only with the timing for delivery. However, the viability behind many sites is likely to change as a result of temporary site closures, or the availability of construction materials and labour once sites can re-open. Where there is already a s106 agreement in place, a developer may wish to renegotiate their position on the basis that certain planning obligations are no longer affordable.
Where a s106 agreement was entered into longer than 5 years ago, an application can be made to the Council to formally vary a planning obligation that is now “without purpose”. Any refusals can be appealed to the Secretary of State.
Where a s106 agreement was entered into within the last 5 years, the agreement can only be modified with the agreement of the Council. The ability to renegotiate a s106 agreement will therefore come down to the willingness of the Council to accept the revised viability position. Where Councils are willing to consider this, a robust viability assessment agreed with the Council is likely to be needed.