Katie Pearson shares some answers to frequently asked questions and useful links for employers in light of the current Coronavirus outbreak, including:
- Reducing the risk to your employees
- What do do if an employees is in quarantine, but not sick
- Changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
In these uncertain and unprecedented times, the importance of protecting your business has never been greater. With social distancing slowing down production and trade, we are all having to think more creatively to adapt and ensure the personal safety of our families, colleagues and employees.
The reality is that this adjustment is going to undoubtedly affect the cashflow of most, if not all, businesses. This means that both recovering and paying debts is going to be more difficult, but doing both will be essential for survival. Jennifer McNichol gives some practical advice.
HMRC recently announced yesterday that due to the COVID-19 pandemic they have temporarily amended procedures for processing Stock Transfer Forms and other transfer documents, such as the Form SH03 used in share buy-backs.
Ross McGregor discusses how e-signatures and electronic formats are helping businesses to process transfer documents and Companies House filings
New measures introduced to provide temporary financial support to customers being hit by the effects of coronaviruss are due to come into force on Thursday 9 April if approved.
If the temporary measures are brought in, they will not automatically be applied to you – you must ask your lender for assistance and continue making any repayments in the meantime.
Viable companies are experiencing unprecedented financial difficulties as a result of the continuing outbreak of COVID-19. Following a number of government announcements over the past few weeks concerning measures to support businesses affected by the outbreak and resulting lockdown, on 28 March 2020, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced emergency changes to the UK-wide insolvency regime to alleviate pressures on companies and directors, in a bid to support companies to “weather the storm”.
Emergency measures have been put in place to protect tenants from having their commercial leases terminated as a result of late payment of rent.
Currently, in Scotland landlords must give tenants written notice before terminating a commercial lease for non-payment of rent or other sums due.
Prior to and during the Global Financial Crisis, convertible loan notes (CLNs) were frequently used by investors to de-risk their investments in high-growth and high-risk businesses.
Following that crisis, CLNs lost their appeal for various reasons as the market shifted toward traditional equity fundraising models, alongside venture debt for leverage. In past 12-24 months, CLNs have been quietly been making a comeback and given Covid19 and the government’s recently announced CLN co-investment scheme to cope with the Covid19 crisis, we think CLNs will become in vogue once more.
While the UK may be in lockdown, that does not mean that life cannot continue and the business world must stop, if anything it is even more important now that we continue to press on with business transactions and embrace technology to help us do this.
Having spoken with investors and entrepreneurs, many say that in a crisis, you see the best and worst of behaviour from VCs. Whilst the strong message from many is that VCs are still open for business, in the last few weeks we’ve seen term sheets being pulled at the last moment and deals stall at a relatively advanced stage. Starting a deal from scratch right now is undoubtedly more of a challenge but for some, it will be unavoidable in order to survive.
On Friday 20 March 2020 the government announced the introduction of a temporary scheme, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support employers whose businesses have been severely affected by coronavirus. The scheme will be open to all UK employers for at least four months starting from 1 March 2020. Employers are able to use a HMRC portal (open as of 20 April) to claim 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2500 a month, plus (not including) the associated employer national insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.
A month or so ago, I published my thoughts on the Future Fund. Following a period of deliberation and degree of criticism of the scheme from various segments of the funding community, the key documentation has now been published. It is this documentation that companies and investors will have to sign up to in order to obtain the matched-funding from the Future Fund.
In this short video, Jamie Apted discusses how The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2020 is already having an impact on debt recovery actions.
Since the United Kingdom went into lockdown on 23 March 2020, the majority of physical court appearances became unworkable. The courts essentially shut down; physical appearances were restricted broadly to essential criminal matters; and electronically, the courts would only deal with ‘urgent’ civil business.
The court is going to have quite a lot of backlog on its hands, and as Scotland make its phased way out of lockdown, it seems that the court is focusing its efforts on this, and – needless to say – urgent business.
The last few months have brought great turmoil and uncertainty to business across the United Kingdom. In times where directors are rightly concerned with the future, or even survival, of their company it is understandable that the usual ordinary-course considerations around board decision-making are not are the forefront of the mind. However, now more than ever, directors should be particularly cognisant of the duties of their office, be that to the company, its employees, its shareholders or its creditors.
As society adapts to a new normal in the wake of COVID-19, the Scottish Courts represent a key example of potential change for the better as a by-product.