Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 now in force

Last month we reported on the imminent arrival of this set of temporary changes to company and insolvency law. The bill has since been passed and became law on 26 June. Many of the changes - such as those giving struggling companies breathing space by temporarily restricting certain statutory demands and winding-up petitions - were originally intended to last for only a month after the bill became law. However, in many cases, these will now remain in place until the end of September.

For full details, see the Coronavirus (COVID-19) sections of our law guides on Business start-up and Debts and debt recovery.

Employers can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to pay an employee's notice period

Updated government guidance confirms that employers can continue to claim from the scheme while an employee serves their statutory or contractual notice period, including in a redundancy situation. However, the employer must top up the notice pay to 100% and can't use the scheme to claim for any redundancy payments.

UK government's post-furlough plan for jobs

The UK government have announced the following business incentives for when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31 October:

  • The Job Kickstart Scheme will encourage employers to recruit those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment by covering the cost of their minimum wage for 25 hours a week for up to 6 months.
  • A Job Retention Bonus will offer employers £1,000 for every furloughed staff member that they continuously employ through to January 2021. To qualify, those staff must earn at least £520 each month (from November to the end of January) and be given work to do. Payment will be made in February 2021.
  • There's an Apprenticeships Bonus in England of £2,000 for each new apprentice under 25 and £1,500 for those over 25. To qualify the apprentice must be (or have been) hired between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021.
  • A Traineeships Bonus of £1,000 will be available in England for each trainee aged 16-24 that's offered work experience.

VAT cut for hospitality sector

Until 12 January 2021, VAT will be cut from 20% to 5% for hospitality businesses and attractions on eat-in or hot takeaway food and non-alcoholic drinks. Businesses can also register for the new Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

ICO issue guidance on how to collect customer data for contract tracing

The Information Commissioner's Office has released FAQs about how to manage data collected from customers and visitors for the contract tracing scheme without breaching data protection rules.