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Will remote court hearings be permitted?

Court hearings have been conducted remotely, with the judgment in Kerry v SSCLG being given via telephone. The Senior President of Tribunals issued emergency Practice Directions which will apply to Property and Lands Chambers’ respectively. This has made provision for remote hearings. Inspections of properties have been suspended with immediate effect, with photographs, videos or external visits permitted where appropriate. Where inspections are essential, the case should be stayed.

Related FAQs

What will be the added cost to business of furloughing staff from 1 July 2021?

Similar to the position for claims between 1 August 2020 and 31 October 2020, for claims between 1 July 2021 and 30 September 2021 there will be a cost to businesses of furloughing staff, which will gradually increase until the scheme closes at the end of September as follows.

  • From 1 July 2021 employers will be required to contribute 10% of wages, with the Government contributing 70%.
  • From 1 August 2021, the employer contribution increases to 20% and the Government will contribute 60%.
  • 30 September 2021: scheme closes.

Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current wages, up to £2,500 a month.

 

Are any suppliers exempt from this?

Small suppliers (defined by reference to certain financial indicators) are temporarily exempt from these new restrictions until 30th March 2021 in order to account for the difficulties to small suppliers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are also certain industries that are exempt from these restrictions (for example financial services).  The Secretary of State may also create further exemptions framed by reference to kinds of company, supplier, contract, goods or services or in any other way.

Are all employees now required to wear face coverings?

The guidance states that people should aim to wear a face-covering in indoor spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others, for example on public transport or in some shops, and potentially in the workplace. Face coverings do not mean face masks such as clinical masks worn by certain key workers as PPE, which should be reserved for those people.

Staff working in areas that are open to the public must wear face coverings, this includes:

  • shops
  • supermarkets
  • bars
  • pubs
  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • banks
  • estate agents
  • post offices
  • public areas of hotels and hostels

If these businesses have taken steps in line with Health and Safety Executive guidance for COVID-19 secure workplaces to create a physical barrier between workers and members of the public then staff behind the barrier will not be required to wear a face covering.

For other indoor settings, employers should assess the use of face coverings on a case by case basis depending on the workplace environment, other appropriate mitigations they have put in place, and whether reasonable exemptions apply.

How is IR35 changing?

The current position is that the PSC is responsible for assessing whether IR35 applies. This current regime has been difficult to police by HMRC and HMRC considers there is widespread flouting of the rules by contractors.

From April 2021 the responsibility for assessing whether IR35 applies will shift to the end user/client (with the exception of ‘small’ companies) which will require an assessment to be carried out on a contract by contract basis. HMRC anticipates that this will be easier to monitor and that end user businesses will be more compliant.

The reformed regime will apply to payments made on or after 6 April 2021 for services carried out on or after this date.

Do you think MHFA will become a legal requirement for businesses eventually?

This is something which is certainly on the Government’s radar as there is currently a Bill being heard in Parliament about making MHFAs a legal requirement for workplaces. It is still in the very early stages and therefore it is not clear at this stage what the outcome will be. What is clear is that this is an area which is being taken very seriously and it would not be surprising if measures were put in place regarding MHFAs in the workplace.