BRM with a Coronavirus Update regarding Employment Law

26th March 2020

This update provides guidance to self-employed, employers and businesses on the most recent updates on the Coronavirus Bill going through Parliament.

Prime Ministers announcement 23 March 2020

Stay at home unless you have one of the four reasons below:

· to go to work – but only where work absolutely cannot be done from home, it is essential if your employees need to go to work they work 2m’s apart if possible and that you put other safety measures in place. ;
· to go to the shop for groceries, medicines and other essentials (as infrequently as possible);

· to exercise outside (once a day) alone or with members of your household – gatherings of more than 2 people except members of your own household are not allowed;

· to provide care or help a vulnerable person; or

· for any medical need.

It has also been clarified this morning by Michael Gove that where children live with two parents in different households and are under 18 they are permitted to go between households although this should of course be kept to a minimum.

These are very draconian steps but the hope is that if everyone follows the rules the measures can be kept to a minimum and relaxed as soon as possible.

Self-employed and freelancers

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is believed to be announcing in the coming days extra support that will be given to the 5 million self-employed in our Country over coming weeks. The Coronavirus Bill amendment suggested last night if passed will give self-employed/ freelancers:

(a) 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years; or,

(b) £2,917 per month

whichever is the lower.

We do not have any further information about this at the moment but will continue to share updates as and when they become available.

Employment Tribunal Hearings

The President of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales Judge Doyle and his counterpart in Scotland announced yesterday that all hearings which are listed up to 26 June 2020 will be converted to telephone preliminary hearings for case management, any hearings that are currently listed for a hearing date after 29 June 2020 will at the current time remain listed and go ahead as planned. This situation will remain under review.

If we are dealing with any cases you have before the Employment Tribunal in this time we will be in touch with you beforehand to explain fully what this may mean and discuss with you how the case can be progressed in the meantime.

Coronavirus Bill before Parliament

The Bill is currently before Parliament to put in place measures that will help certain things happen to help us all overcome Coronavirus. This includes support for he NHS, employees, businesses, self-employed and police and army powers.

There is helpful information here available from the Institute for Government and details of amendments that have been tabled put forward for approval).

We will continue to keep you all updated with any developments.

Cyber Security – beware of scammers taken advantage of vulnerable businesses and individuals

We are very saddened to report there are already a spate of hackers trying to access business accounts and get information from individuals and using Coronavirus as a means to do so.

There have been reclaim tax emails purportedly from HMRC as well as emails suggesting they are from banks to apply for business interruption loans and to reclaim 80% of wages.

It is very important with employees working remotely particularly accounts teams that everyone remains vigilant. Do not share any personal or business banking details or other personal information if you are not sure of the source. HMRC and Banks will not email you to reclaim money. Call the banks and HMRC on the numbers available on their websites only and do not use numbers in emails without first checking these are correct.

For further advice on employment law issues or any other Coronavirus related queries please contact our employment law team in the first instance on:

Tel: 01246 555111

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