Topic: Coronavirus

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New Guidance published for flexible furlough scheme

On 12 June the UK Government issued details of the flexible furlough arrangement which will operate from 1 July 2020. The new scheme will allow employees to work for their employer during some of the period and the employer will still be able to claim under the scheme in respect of the time where employees are on furlough.

Existing guidance has been updated and new guidance notes and examples have been published to cover the new flexibility.

What restrictions are there to an employer’s use of the scheme?

From 1 July employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for … Continue Reading

For your consideration: Varying BC employment agreements amid pandemic

As employers prepare for the cautious reopening of the economy and the gradual return to the physical workplace, questions on altering the terms of an existing employment agreement could certainly arise for a number of legitimate reasons.

Specifically, employers often ask under what circumstances they can make changes to existing employment agreements. Commonly, employers face two important sub-questions in that regard. First, must employers obtain employee consent before making any changes to terms of employment? Second, must employers provide consideration for such changes to make them enforceable at law?

A recent decision from the British Columbia Court of … Continue Reading

Conseils de santé et sécurité pour les chantiers de construction en Ontario : Au-delà des masques et de la distanciation sociale

Le 14 mai 2020, le premier ministre de l’Ontario a annoncé que certains lieux de travail pouvaient commencer à rouvrir puisque la première étape du cadre visant le déconfinement de la province avait reçu le feu vert. L’étape 1 comportait la levée des restrictions précédemment imposées aux activités et projets de construction.

Le mardi 19 mai 2020 à minuit une, la liste des lieux de travail essentiels a été modifiée afin de permettre la reprise des activités ou projets de construction et services connexes de soutien à ces activités ou projets, et tout le secteur s’est bel et bien remis … Continue Reading

Health and safety tips for Ontario’s construction job sites: masks, social distancing, and more

Ontario’s Premier announced on May 14, 2020 that select workplaces could start reopening as stage 1 of the Framework for Reopening the Province was given the green light. As part of the first stage, the previous restrictions on certain construction projects and activities were lifted.

On Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 am, the list of essential workplaces was amended to permit all construction activities, projects and related services that support construction projects to reopen and all of  the industry has effectively been back online since then. Although some restrictions have lifted, it is certainly not business as usual and … Continue Reading

Furloughing new employees – deadline 10 June 2020

As set out in our previous blog post here the UK: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)  is changing.  This means that the CJRS is closing to new entrants form 30 June. Any new employees who an employer may wish to furlough and who have not already been furloughed,  must be placed on furlough on or before 10 June.

The new flexible furlough scheme means that employees will be able to return to work on a part time basis without affecting their employers’ right to claim under the CJRS in respect of the non-working days.

Full guidance regarding the amended scheme … Continue Reading

Preparing to return to the workplace: What should German employers be doing?

Public life is slowly returning to normality in Germany as stores, restaurants and cafes begin to  reopen. However, a return to ”business as usual“ seems a long way off. Companies and employers need to consider different priorities and complex provisions when preparing the return to the workplace.

In general, employers have a duty to take reasonable care of the health and safety of their employees. They have to assess possible risks to employees’ safety and health and take measures based on this assessment as well as identify and take additional measures where necessary to ensure the workplace is safe.… Continue Reading

Flexible Furlough –Changes to the UK Job Retention Scheme

On 29 May, the UK Chancellor provided details of the proposed changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The changes require employers to start sharing the cost of the furlough arrangement and allow a more flexible approach to working while on furlough.

New Flexibility

The Government is introducing a more flexible furlough arrangement.  Employers will be able to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part time from 1 July, a month earlier than previously announced.

Employers will have flexibility to determine the hours worked and the shift pattern for their employees. They will then pay the full wages … Continue Reading

Fin des classes : Aide relative à la pandémie pour les étudiants, les jeunes et les employeurs

Plusieurs étudiants au Canada comptent sur les emplois d’été pour gagner un revenu entre les sessions d’études secondaires ou postsecondaires. Toutefois, il pourrait s’avérer difficile pour les étudiants qui terminent leurs cours en cette année scolaire de décrocher un emploi stable pendant la saison estivale.

Programme Emplois d’été Canada

Le programme Emplois d’été Canada (EEC) offre des contributions aux employeurs comptant moins de 50 employés afin qu’ils créent des emplois d’été de qualité pour les jeunes âgés de 15 à 30 ans qui sont légalement autorisés à travailler au Canada. La pandémie de COVID-19 a eu des répercussions tant sur … Continue Reading

School’s out for summer: Pandemic assistance for students, youth and employers

Many students in Canada rely on summer jobs to generate income between semesters of high school or post-secondary education. However, students completing their studies this academic year may find it challenging to secure steady employment during the summer months.

Canada Summer Jobs Program

The Canada Summer Jobs Program (CSJ) program provides subsidies to employers with less than 50 employees in order to create quality summer work experiences for youth aged 15 to 30 years, and who are legally entitled to work in Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on both CSJ job-seekers and the employers that typically hire … Continue Reading

US: Return to work in an office environment: Employer considerations and best practices

Many businesses quickly shifted to remote work, where possible, and abandoned operations in an office setting when COVID-19 became a pandemic or when jurisdictions required or encouraged people to stay at home. Now, as these businesses contemplate resuming operations in the general office setting, they are grappling with a myriad of issues and concerns.  See our article COVID-19:  Best practice considerations for resuming work in an office setting for employer considerations for resuming work in the office setting, including advice on determining when to reopen, determining modifications to be made in the workplace, employee communication and training considerations, implementing the … Continue Reading

Licenciements collectifs : considérations pratiques pour les employeurs québécois

Dernièrement, dans le contexte de la COVID-19, certaines entreprises se sont vues contraintes de cesser temporairement ou de réduire substantiellement leurs activités, entraînant ainsi nombre de mises à pied. Alors que des économistes prévoient un ralentissement économique important en raison de la pandémie, les employeurs québécois peuvent légitimement se demander s’ils seront en mesure de rappeler leurs salariés au travail une fois les mesures de confinement levées, voire même être confrontés à la difficile décision de procéder à des licenciements collectifs.

Qu’est-ce qu’un licenciement collectif?

Au Québec, le licenciement collectif est la terminaison d’emploi d’au moins dix (10) salariés d’un … Continue Reading

Les droits religieux et le port des équipements de protection

En cette période de pandémie, certains employeurs envisageront l’adoption d’une politique concernant l’utilisation des équipements de protection individuelle, tels que la blouse, les gants, le masque ou encore la protection faciale. L’adoption d’une telle politique peut, pour certaines personnes, avoir pour effet d’opposer leurs droits religieux et leur propre santé et sécurité ou celles des autres travailleurs. Dans une telle situation, est-ce qu’un travailleur peut être exempté de l’application d’une politique obligeant le port de ce genre d’équipements?

L’affaire Singh c Montréal Gateway Terminals Partnership

La Cour d’appel s’est prononcée sur cette question à l’automne dernier dans l’arrêt Singh c. … Continue Reading

Religious rights and wearing protective equipment

During this pandemic, certain employers will consider adopting a policy on using personal protective equipment, such as gowns, gloves, masks or even facial protection. For certain people, adopting such a policy may have the effect of encroaching on their religious rights and protecting their own health and safety or that of other workers. In such a situation, can a worker be exempted from a policy requiring that this type of gear be worn?

Singh c Montréal Gateway Terminals Partnership

The Quebec Court of Appeal rendered its ruling on this matter last fall in Singh c. Montréal Gateway Terminals Partnership[1]Continue Reading

Ontario: Paying employees for the Victoria Day Holiday during the pandemic

Monday May 18, is Victoria Day (Journée nationale des patriotes, or National Patriot’s Day, in Quebec); a holiday which most employees are entitled to take off and receive public holiday pay. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in emergency leaves, temporary layoffs and reduced schedules. As a result, some may have lost track of upcoming long weekends and public holiday pay requirements. Below is a refresher on employee entitlement to public holiday pay in Ontario and how to calculate pay for employees who’s employment has been affected by COVID-19.

Public Holiday Pay

Generally, employees qualify for public holiday pay on … Continue Reading

Ontario : Payer ses employés pour la fête de la Reine en temps de pandémie

Le lundi 18 mai est le jour de la fête de la Reine (Journée nationale des patriotes au Québec); un jour férié pour lequel la plupart des employés ont le droit de prendre congé et de recevoir un salaire pour jour férié. La pandémie de la COVID‑19 a donné lieu à des congés pour situation d’urgence, des mises à pied temporaires et des horaires réduits. Par conséquent, certains ont peut-être perdu de vue les longues fins de semaine à venir et les exigences liées au salaire pour jour férié. Vous trouverez ci‑dessous un récapitulatif exposant le droit des employés de … Continue Reading

UK: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended until end of October

The Government has announced that by 12 May 7.5 million jobs in the UK have been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme). Previous briefings on the details of the Scheme can be found here.  The Scheme was due to end on 30 June 2020.  However, following the Government’s announcement regarding the phased return to work the Government made it clear that the Scheme would not simply fall away.  On 12 May, the Chancellor announced that the Scheme would remain open until the end of October.  The Scheme will be amended as follows:

  • The Scheme will run
Continue Reading

End of the lockdown in France: what are the precautions for employers operating in France?

On 7 May, the French Prime Minister announced the date chosen for the start of the “de-confinement” phase for France, namely 11 May 2020.

The lockdown, which started on 17 March, lasted almost 2 months during which some shops and businesses were closed, and the vast majority of companies operated on the basis of remote working. The lockdown weighed heavily on the national economy, with 12.2 million employees now covered by the short-time working scheme (i.e. six out of ten jobs in the private sector).

While public health has obviously been the government’s primary consideration in setting the plan to … Continue Reading

La France sort du confinement : Quelles précautions pour les employeurs ?

Le 7 mai dernier, le Premier Ministre a annoncé la date retenue pour le début de la phase de déconfinement des Français dans le cadre du plan de lutte contre le Covid-19, à savoir le 11 mai 2020.

Le confinement, qui a commencé  le 17 mars dernier, aura duré près de 2 mois durant lesquels certains commerces et entreprises ont été fermés, et la grande majorité des entreprises a fonctionné sur la base du télétravail. Le confinement aura lourdement pesé sur l’économie nationale, 12,2 millions de salariés étant aujourd’hui couverts par le dispositif du chômage partiel (soit six emplois sur … Continue Reading

Preparing to return to the workplace – what should employers be doing?

As the UK Government has published the Plan to Rebuild – the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy to transition England from lockdown, one of the key areas is how to get people back to the workplace safely.  The Government has also published guidance covering eight workplace settings which are allowed to be open, intended to make workplaces as safe as possible and to give people confidence to go back to work during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance was developed in consultation with businesses, unions and industry leaders.

The guidance sets out five key points which should be implemented by employers … Continue Reading

From Suits to Sweatpants: Employer’s Obligations to Employees Working From Home

Due to COVID-19, many employers have been thrown head-first into working-from-home (WFM) arrangements for some, if not all, of their workforce. It is important that employers ensure they are meeting their obligations in these circumstances, including occupational health & safety (OHS) responsibilities and business cost reimbursement, in order to avoid liability.

Health & Safety

In WFH arrangements, the employee’s home workspace becomes an extension of the workplace and is subject to OHS legislation. An employer cannot delegate its obligation to provide a safe working environment to its employees. If an employee is injured while working at home, then the employer … Continue Reading

Administrators – adoption of contracts and the Job Retention Scheme

In two recent cases the High Court has considered the adoption of contracts by administrators in the context of applications under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

When an administrator is appointed to a company it is necessary to consider whether the administrator has adopted the contracts of employment under the Insolvency Act 1986 (IA 1986). Under that act, nothing done within the first 14 days will amount to adoption.  However, outside of that 14 day breathing space, case law has held that an administrator will generally be considered to have adopted the contracts of employment if they continue to … Continue Reading

UK Pensions – Covid-19: top tips for virtual trustee meetings

The current situation is constantly evolving and here we look at some useful pointers for pension scheme trustees to enable the smooth running of their virtual meetings.

Do the scheme’s rules allow virtual meetings?

With face-to-face meetings being impossible, governing provisions on virtual meetings need checking. Do your scheme rules, and the articles of association for any trustee company, allow for meetings by telephone conference or video link? It’s also important to ensure any meeting you hold is quorate if individuals are unable to attend, so that decisions taken are valid. Any questions, ask your legal adviser – that’s what … Continue Reading

Managing Immigration Remotely

The current situation is presenting a number of practical difficulties for employers regarding right to work and other immigration matters that may arise amongst their employees. The Home Office has been proactive in relaxing many of its strict requirements to assist, however some areas remain uncertain:

 

  • Right to work checks – a valid right to work check is required in order to obtain a statutory excuse against illegal working. Right to work checks must be conducted by an employer before the employee commences work and to ensure any time limited leave to remain is validly extended. Those checks must
Continue Reading

UK Job Retention Scheme open for applications

The UK Job Retention Scheme (JRS) opened for online applications on 20 April 2020.   Access to the online portal can be found here.

The Government has also published a separate guidance note here which provides details of how to calculate 80% of the employee’s wages to claim through the JRS  and some helpful worked examples of how to calculate the amounts for different pay periods.  The guidance provides further details of how details will be entered on to the system depending on the number of staff being furloughed.

On 15 April the UK Chancellor made a Treasury Direction under … Continue Reading

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