PM sets out roadmap amid continued concern for hospitality sector

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined his roadmap for lifting coronavirus restrictions and the gradual reopening of the economy in England.

Julian Cox, employment law specialist and partner at BLM, comments on the impact of the measures on the hospitality sector:

“Though today’s statement from the PM does give some light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, there is still going to be significant anxiety amongst hospitality operators given they will remain closed for the months ahead.

“Whilst furlough is still available until 30 April 2021, it is not a panacea. Employer national insurance and pensions contributions still need to be picked up and rent is still due on commercial premises. Until reopening begins, which for indoor hospitality will only start in earnest after the furlough scheme is due to end, continuing to employ furloughed staff is going to become increasingly unviable the longer lockdown continues. Today’s announcement could unfortunately push many in hospitality owners to look at significant restructures, overhaul pay and working hours or commence redundancy consultation.

“There’s a risk that when these decisions are made in a last ditch attempt to keep a business going, some missteps could be made. If redundancy consultations or changes to employee terms and conditions do not follow proper legal procedure, we could be looking at a wave of unfair dismissal and employment tribunal claims within hospitality this year. It will only inflict further damage on business already struggling to recoup losses from 2020.”

Julian’s comments can be seen in Personnel Today, HR Grapevine and HR Today.

Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to clients of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

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