Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have been warned not to expect a ‘light touch’ from the authorities if they fail to follow the health and safety guidance on returning to the workplace.
The message came during a video conference meeting held by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and leading regional law firm Wright Hassall – a strategic partner of the Chamber.
Seven experts from different departments of the law firm gave an insight into various areas of the law affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, including an update on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which allows companies to furlough staff.
Businesses were told that they must have furloughed staff by June 10 if they want to make use of the scheme, which is being phased out in stages up to October 31.
Chris Nagle, Events, Communications and Marketing Manager at the Chamber, said: “We are extremely grateful to Wright Hassall for giving such incredible, up-to-the minute insight to our members.
“There were lots of messages from the event and two very significant points stood out that almost every business will need to be aware of.
“Firstly, the Health & Safety Executive is not going to be lenient on businesses if they do not follow Covid-19 guidance as they return to their workplaces. The advice here was to ensure there is a risk assessment that shows you’ve heeded the guidance and consulted staff on it.
“It was suggested that the HSE might want to make examples of some businesses early on to ensure that all other firms follow the guidance.
“In terms of furlough, it was an extremely useful update on the way this is going to be phased out up to October 31 but the key date for now is June 10. If companies want to make use of the scheme for certain employees, they have to have been furloughed by this date.
“The team also gave updates on contracts as well as mergers and acquisitions, which was extremely useful for businesses on the call.”
Sarah Perry, Managing Partner at Wright Hassall, added: “The event with the Chamber was a great opportunity to give an update to businesses on various aspects of the law that have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
“If any companies are unsure about what they should be doing in any of these aspects of their business please do come and talk to us.”
For more information on support available go to the Chamber’s Covid-19 Business Recovery Hub