What if employees display coronavirus symptoms?
It remains the case that anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work. Those people should self-isolate, as should those in their households.
Follow up to date UK Government advice. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19
For best practice and more detailed information; consult the HSE’s website at https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.htm
Failing to follow the guidance is likely to be regarded as failing to take all reasonably practicable steps.
The formal Government position relating to construction sites is that construction work should continue on site if it can be conducted safely, and the Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has written an open letter to the UK Construction Industry thanking it for all its help in the current crisis. The letter also confirms the Government’s current official policy of keeping construction sites open. The full text of the letter can be downloaded.
This also remains the formal position of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) with the qualification that sites should operate in accordance with Public Health England instructions; without compromising health and safety; and in accordance with the Site Operating Procedures issued last week by the CLC.
In practice, many construction sites have been closed by national developers and house builders due to difficulties with staffing and supply chain, and practical issues with compliance with the social distancing and site operating procedures.
The Scottish Government has recently issued guidance that all non-essential construction sites, which includes housing, office, leisure, schools and retail sites, must close to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19.
If the debts owed to you pre-date Covid-19 and your debtor seemed unable to pay well before the Covid-19 pandemic took place, it is entirely possible that you will be able to present a petition on the grounds that the debtor would have been unable to pay its debts even if the Covid-19 had no effect on its financial position. We do not yet have any reliable precedent as to how the Courts are likely to deal with such cases. Whether you are likely to succeed will depend on the exact circumstances of the debt and your debtor. There has been one case decided in August 2020 where the Court concluded that Covid-19 did not have a financial effect upon the debtor and that the circumstances which gave rise to the petition had arisen long before Covid and would have occurred in any event. A winding up order was made in that case. What we do know about the court’s approach is that the purpose of the Act is to allow viable companies to trade through the current times and the Court is likely to set the bar high.
Please contact us if there a debt you would like to discuss. Even if presenting a winding up petition is not available for now, there may still be other forms of legal proceedings that you can use to collect money owed to you, like county court proceedings.
Employees on Flexible Furlough can engage in training during hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation.
Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees during hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time.
Despite remote hearings being the default position at present, formal permission will still be required by the court and a template order was circulated with the guidance. This template sets out the relevant directions and recitals to include in your order. An application to the COP for a remote hearing will not be required.