Employment legislation protects employees by providing that a dismissal shall be automatically unfair, regardless of the employee’s length of service at the date of dismissal, where the reason for the dismissal is covered by one of the automatically unfair reasons for dismissal set out in legislation. This includes where the employee is dismissed for leaving or staying away from their workplace where they do so for a health and safety reason. This protection is particularly pertinent during the current epidemic and employers should tread carefully where any dismissal or disciplinary action could be construed to be for a health and safety reason e.g. following an employee’s refusal to attend work or return to work due to their anxieties around contracting the coronavirus in their workplace. Employers can do this by identifying in the dismissal letter, for example, the actual reason for dismissal or taking disciplinary action that applies.
On 20 April 2020, a month after the scheme was announced, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which enables employers to claim 80% of employee wages plus employer national insurance contributions and auto enrolment pension contributions for furloughed employees and which will help pay the wages of more than a million employees, opened for claims. With the extension of the coronavirus lockdown measures, the Scheme has been extended to 30 June 2020. Read our blog to find out more.
The Chancellor announced a package of measures at the Budget on 11 March 2020 for assisting businesses with cashflow problems arising from the outbreak and to help protect peoples’ jobs. Businesses have had to explore a number of measures, such as temporarily laying off staff due to a downturn in demand and reviewing their existing contingency plans. The measures announced today will certainly go some way towards assisting small businesses in particular.
Brexit: The UK government and the EU are negotiating the details of the relationship after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. Businesses are being advised to prepare now for changes in 2021. Read our blog to find out more.
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 comes into force on 6 April 2020. Currently there is no specific statutory parental entitlement to time off work (paid or otherwise) following the death of a child. The introduction of a specific, statutory entitlement to parental bereavement leave and pay is intended to set a minimum standard for employees and employers. Read our blog here to find out more.