Protecting Businesses, Employees, and Families during COVID-19April 1, 2020
As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, clients are becoming increasingly concerned about the long-term effect on their businesses, employees, and families, and want to make sure they are as protected as possible. In this blog, Goldstein Legal will offer guidance helping business owners secure peace of mind in these uncertain times.
Protecting your Business
In our previous blogs we covered some legal provisions that may assist is alleviating some of the pressure businesses are feeling in relation to obligations under their existing contracts. While force majeure and frustration remain increasingly useful, businesses should also keep in mind the following:
- Review your Obligations – The most important first step a business can make is to review its contractual obligations and fully understand its performance requirements.
- Consolidate Resources – Once a clear idea of obligations has been achieved, business owners should measure these against their resources, and consider whether alternative ways of working can be adapted to deliver contractual requirements.
- Communication is Key – If you find that you are unable to perform that required under the contract, it is important to approach the other party and discuss whether a suspension or alteration of obligations is agreeable in the current climate.
- Consider Legal Provisions – In the event that you are unable to suspend or alter your obligations by agreement, we suggest seeking advice to assess whether legal options, such as force majeure or frustration, are available. Goldstein Legal are a team of experienced commercial solicitors who will be able to help.
Protecting your Employees
It is incredibly important to continue to communicate with your employees, who are likely feeling increasingly uneasy about the ongoing pandemic. Our earlier blog detailed some of the employment provisions currently open to employers, and it is important to bear in mind the below measures:
- Remain in Contact – It is imperative that business owners initiate regular contact with employees to maintain a sense of operational normality. This may be in the form of email updates, video conferencing, or regular scheduled telephone calls.
- Ways of Working – As far as practicable, businesses are to develop and implement clear policies that detail new ways of working during the crisis. Such policies can include suggested methods for working at home, and adapted security processes for remote working.
- Be Open – Business owners must be open with their employees about the likely measures they plan to take as the pandemic continues. If you require advice in relation to your existing employment contracts, Goldstein Legal are able to assist.
Protecting your Families
While the majority of the public are adhering to the government imposed social-distancing and self-isolation guidelines, it is important to ensure your affairs are in order to prevent uncertainty should the unthinkable happen. The following are legal considerations that business owners should bear in mind to protect their commercial assets:
- Wills – Business owners are encouraged to ensure they have a comprehensive will in place detailing the transfer of interest in the business, among other considerations. For those that currently have such a provision, we suggest that you review the details and seek legal advice if any terms in your will require amendment.
- Lasting Power of Attorney – Similar to the above, should business owners be unable to make important decisions themselves, a lasting power of attorney is a useful mechanism. This measure grants the nominated individual the legal ability to make decisions related to the business, and other matters, on your behalf.
As the pandemic continues, Goldstein Legal will continue to share practical and legal guidance to assist business owners. Should you have any questions in relation to any of the matters discussed, please contact us on 01753 865 165.