Coronavirus Update: A Changing Landscape

DLP will continue to update employers about changes during the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

This update covers several topics: isolation notes, delays to IR35 changes, changes to Tribunals and Appeals, Furlough Leave, Civil & Family Courts, and ACAS resources.

Isolation Notes

Government will provide sick notes called Isolation notes via NHS 111 Online. As a reminder, if you intend to reclaim sickness benefit from the government for the first 14 days of isolation then your employee is required to obtain an Isolation Note. These are easy to obtain on line. Statutory Sick pay payments can be reclaimed where your sick policy covers isolation or home working or where the isolation is covered by NHS guidance, see the NHS website for more information.

IR35 Postponement

Government has announced that the extension of IR35 to medium/large private sector companies is postponed to 6 April 2021. More information will follow.

Employment Tribunals

From today all in-person hearings will be converted to case management hearing an conducted by telephone or Skype. If you have a Tribunal hearing pending ensure either your legal representative has confirmed the new arrangements with you or that the tribunal have the correct details on file if you are a litigant in person. Read the message in full.

Employment Appeal Tribunals

The EAT offices in London are effectively closed for in-person hearing through 9 April. Hearings and Preliminary Hearings can be conducted via telephone or Skype. If your organisation has an appeal pending please ensure the EAT has your up-to-date contact details. The message is posted in full below.

Update 24 March

The President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal today announced that, due to rapidly changing circumstances, the EAT will not conduct hearings (including telephone or Skype hearings) beginning Wednesday, 25 March 2020 until Wednesday 15 April 2020. Appeals with the EAT during this period can be lodged by email only.

Furlough Leave

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on 20 March a scheme to support businesses to continue paying furloughed workers.

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

While details of the scheme are not fully available, DLP will provide information when it is available. Read the Chancellor’s message in full.

Civil and Family Courts

The Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales has directed that all hearing for the foreseeable future be conducted remotely. Read the message in full.

ACAS Resources

ACAS has updated their guidance on Coronavirus to include information about social distancing, vulnerable employees, work closures and more. Read more.

DLP will prepare additional guidance should the situation change.

This page does not offer legal advice for your organisation or specific situation. Further, DLP is not qualified to offer medical advice.
Full Message from the President of the EAT
In view of the rapidly changing circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal directs as follows:

(i) All full hearings currently listed to be heard with all parties present in the EAT in the Rolls Building, London, between 23 March 2020 and 9 April 2020, shall now be converted to an Appointment for Directions and be heard by telephone unless in the individual case the President or another Judge of the EAT directs otherwise. The Appointment for Directions will consider the re-listing of the appeal, the possibility of conducting the hearing via Skype or other means of electronic communication and any other matters considered relevant to the re-listing of the appeal.

(ii) All Rule 3(10) Hearings and Preliminary Hearings listed to be heard with one or more parties present in the EAT in the Rolls Building, London, between those dates shall be heard by telephone unless in the individual case, the President or another Judge of the EAT directs otherwise.

(iii) Parties are therefore not required to attend at the EAT’s premises in London for any hearings listed between those dates. Instead, all parties should ensure that the EAT has their telephone contact details, if not already provided. Parties may also be asked about their ability to participate in hearings via Skype.

(iv) The position in relation to hearings listed in the period from 14 April 2020 will be the subject of a further announcement before that date.

(v) The parties remain free to make any application to the EAT at any time.

The President of the EAT remains grateful to all concerned for their patience and forbearance during this time.

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