What is the position in relation to employees?
You may have already chosen to furlough those employees whose services are not required during the period of forced closure.
If you have not, could you now do so? The furlough scheme has been extended until 31 October 2020. Greater flexibility will be introduced to the furlough scheme from 1 August 2020 to allow part-time workers on the scheme albeit employers will need to contribute. Further information about the furlough scheme can be found here and here.
In relation to the employees that are still required during the period of forced closure, has their workload significantly reduced? In such circumstances, could you look at combining roles and then furloughing those employees whose work has been shifted on to others? Could you ask your employees to reduce their hours and reduce their salary accordingly? This would need to be agreed with the employees and could not be a unilateral decision (as it would breach your contract with them). Our employment team has seen a wide variety of practices deployed which may be useful to you in considering your options.
Have you given any thought as to your staffing needs going forward? Could you look to make redundancies to make the business as efficient as possible? As you are likely aware, there is a statutory framework which you will need to follow when making redundancies, and mandatory consultation periods that must be followed when making 20 or more redundancies. Our employment team is on hand to assist in advising on its application to your situation.
Have any of your employees been unable to work because they (a) have coronavirus; (b) are self-isolating at home; or (c) are shielding in line with public health guidance? In such circumstances, you might be eligible to make a claim through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. Please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19 for more details.
To read more tips for hotel owners and managers click here.