Covid–19 – Employment Law Update – 2 April 2020

Government warns banks about refusing loans to businesses

During the government’s daily Coronavirus briefing, the Business Secretary responded to published reports that some major banks are unwilling to extend government-backed loans to businesses. Alok Sharma said it was “completely unacceptable,” adding, “We are looking at ways to support people in need.  It is crucial that when we overcome this crisis, businesses are in a good position to move forward.”

London Central Employment Tribunal closed

In a widely distributed message to employment law practitioners, the President of the Employment Tribunals stated that the London Central Employment Tribunal at Victory House near Holborn is closed for all listed hearings other than those which litigants were contacted about directly by the Tribunal to be conducted this week between 1 April 2020 and 3 April 2020 and next Monday 6 April 2020.  Parties should assume that all hearings otherwise listed for those days at London Central are postponed and to be relisted for a future date.

Visas extended for medical workers

The Home Office has announced that doctors, nurses and paramedics with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will have them automatically extended for one year so they can have “peace of mind” and can “focus fully on combatting coronavirus and saving lives”.

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development poll on childcare during Coronavirus

CIPD poll of 300 employers shows 65% are concerned about how to support employees taking on childcare responsibilities during the coronavirus outbreak. Despite concerns, flexible working practices are helping to address the issue.

Firms adopting Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme

High Street retail chain Laura Ashley, which has gone into administration, said on Tuesday that it plans to furlough 1,669 staff while 677 people will continue to work for the business as normal.

The UK arm of German industrial giant, Bilfinger has offered to furlough to all its employees who have been made redundant or who are at risk of redundancy since 28 February 2020.

Auto Trader Group has slashed executive pay, and designated its entire staff as furloughed workers.

Luxury British boat builder Fairline Yachts has announced it is scaling back its operations with approximately 340 of its staff furloughed for a minimum of three weeks.

The London Evening Standard has furloughed a number of full-time employees, whilst cutting pay by 20% pay for two months for all other staff earning £37,500 or more. Publication of the weekly magazine ES will be suspended.