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What is the amendment to The Working Time legislation called?

The government introduced The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 to amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 to allow for the change.

Related FAQs

Can I rotate staff who are furloughed? Can I put someone on furlough, bring them back when I need to, and then put them back on furlough, as demand requires? And practically how can we deal with this for those who want to rotate?

You can rotate staff on furlough or flexible furlough.

One option is to make it clear in the letter agreeing to being furloughed that there is an open ended right to rotate and to be able to take them off furlough and bring them back and put them back on.

So the employer reserves the ability to rotate by building into the agreement, but only exercises it if it is permissible.

Rotation is quite key for employers who need to make a temporary reduction to their overheads but want to retain the skills base to call back when work picks up. Having furloughed staff return on a part-time basis may reduce the need to rotate.

It also helps in the employer being able to show that they are treating the workforce as fairly as possible and everyone is taking a reduction. Get in touch if you need help preparing the documentation for furlough that will permit rotation or flexible furlough.

Read more about flexible furlough and how this can be used as part of the CJRS.

 

Can I argue that my contract has been frustrated?

It could be possible depending on your contract. If there is no force majeure clause in a contract, it may be possible that the contract may have been “frustrated” by emergency legislation. In legal terms, a contract can be frustrated where an event occurs after it is entered into which was not contemplated by any party at the outset, is not due to the fault of any party, and which makes the performance of the contract impossible.

If this is the case, the contract could be “discharged”, meaning that the parties’ obligations under the contract are no longer binding.

It is possible that a contract could be frustrated within this particular legal doctrine by a change in the law that makes performance of a contract illegal. However, if it simply becomes more difficult, or more expensive, then the legal tests for frustration might not be satisfied. There are also limits to the application of the rule if the frustrating event was already known about at the time the contracted was entered into.

Again, careful legal advice will be required at an early stage. The rules about force majeure or frustration might help businesses that find themselves unable to perform a contract because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Any new contracts that are concluded should expressly deal with the possibility that performance might become more difficult, more costly, or impossible to perform.

There is a court order in place in relation to access to my child. What should I do?

If there is a court order then this should be complied with, unless you are unable to do so because the parent with whom the child lives is self-isolating, the other parent is self-isolating or the children are showing symptoms of the virus. If you are unable to comply with the court order, the other parent should be notified immediately in writing and proposals put forward for how they can see and speak to their children by telephone, FaceTime, Zoom or some other method.

If any necessary variations to the arrangements cannot be agreed then you should contact us for legal advice.

What impact does the Regulations have in respect of matters which arise from Fire Safety Audits - e.g. if balconies with wooden/decking elements are now considered higher risk and whether that would fall to developer to remedy the materials used to construct balconies?
The duty would fall on the owner of the building to control the hazards presented by balconies made from combustible materials. There may be scope (via warranties/indemnities or other terms) arising from the contract between the developer and owner for the owner to seek to recover the cost of remedial works.
What agreements will the CMA choose not to take enforcement action in respect of?

CMA guidance suggests that it will not take enforcement action in respect of agreements which:

  • Are appropriate and necessary to avoid a shortage, or ensure security, of supply
  • Are clearly in the public interest
  • Contribute to the benefit or wellbeing of consumers
  • Deal with critical issues that arise as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Last no longer than is necessary to deal with these critical issues