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/ 27 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: Implications for Employees

The novel coronavirus Covid 19 has caused a global shock and here in London has meant very significant changes to the way we live and work.

Employees, workers and those who are self-employed are all concerned about many aspects of their working lives right now:
• For employees, they are concerned about the threat of redundancy and losing their jobs;
• For workers, they are concerned about the ongoing availability of work and their access to support in those circumstances;
• For self-employed people, they are concerned about the sudden withdrawal of assignments, resulting in lowered or no income.

There are support packages being made available by the UK Government.

The Coronavirus Act 2020, which came into force on 26 March 2020 and has changed the statutory sick pay (SSP) entitlement to allow self-notification of coronavirus isolation as amounting to a sickness absence, ensures that SSP is payable from day 1 of that absence.

Despite the recent announcements made by the UK Government, due to the coronavirus many employees are facing redundancy consultation processes that may lead to their dismissal for reason of redundancy. Details of a furlough scheme have been released whereby, instead of making employees redundant, an employer may agree with the employee that their role will be furloughed and paid at 80% of the employee’s usual wages. If the employee agrees to be furloughed (or if there is a right in the contract for the employer to lay off the employee), they would not perform any work under the contract and remain at home. In these circumstances, the employer is able to recoup 80% of the employee’s wages from the government fund for a 3-month period. We await the statutory scheme for more detail, which will be released in the next few weeks.

During this period of significant change – in how we live and work, and also in the laws that govern our daily circumstances – employers may take action that potentially breaches UK employment legislation.

At Hanne & Co Solicitors we understand this is a worrying time for both employers and employees. We have organised our ways of working and can provide the same high-quality legal advice and support to our clients in a safe and effective way during this period of uncertainty.

The Hanne & Co employment team are experienced in advising employees on all Employment Tribunal claims; such as claims for redundancy payments (contractual and statutory), claims for disability discrimination and under the Health and Safety at work legislation, claims for breach of contract and ordinary / automatic unfair dismissal.

We are able to advise workers of their rights to pursue claims for unlawful deductions and breach of contract claims if wages are unpaid by their employers or agencies. We can also advise those who are self-employed on their rights under the UK Government’s recently announced income support scheme.

We offer competitive rates, fixed fee services for one off legal advices and settlement agreements, and if appropriate damages-based agreements (no win no fee arrangements) if Tribunal litigation of any claim is considered to have reasonable prospects of success.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Hanne & Co Employment Department on 020 7228 0017 or email James at james.collier@hanne.co.uk or Tom at tom.stubbs@hanne.co.uk

Coronavirus - Hanne & Co London's James Collier looks at the implications for employees

James Collier is a Senior Associate in Hanne & Co’s Employment Department

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