Konsileo https://konsileo.com Protect Your Business. Properly. Sun, 06 Sep 2020 08:23:03 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://konsileo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/cropped-SquareButterfly-32x32.png Konsileo https://konsileo.com 32 32 Commercial Insurance Profile – September 2020 https://konsileo.com/commercial-insurance-profile-september-2020 https://konsileo.com/commercial-insurance-profile-september-2020#respond Tue, 01 Sep 2020 08:03:08 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=4026 What to Know if Working From Home Becomes the Status Quo

Despite the UK attempting to reduce lockdown measures and allow more organisations to reopen amidst the coronavirus pandemic, many employees may prefer to continue to work remotely.

Although working remotely may have been accompanied by certain challenges, employees have also been freed from the pressures and expenses of daily commutes. Additionally, employees may have other ongoing responsibilities that are made easier by working from home, such as caring for their families.

Even if employers do choose to reopen and request that employees return to the physical workplace, it should be understood that all employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks are eligible to submit a flexible working request.

Employees who have been productive and successful while working remotely may believe that they have proven to their employer that ongoing flexible hours and remote work will not detract from the organisation’s future. If granted, flexible working requests will allow employees to continue to work remotely as well as potentially allow for other liberties, such as flexible hours.

Employees who have been productive and successful while working remotely may believe that they have proven to their employer that ongoing flexible hours and remote work will not detract from the organisation’s future.

Employers may deny a flexible working request for a number of reasons—such as associated costs, inability to reorganise work or issues related to client needs—but should be prepared to provide clear evidence as to why a rejection was necessary. Regardless of the decision, employers are required to respond to such requests within three months.

According to a survey conducted by Lewis Silkin, by the end of June, 25 per cent of employers had already received requests from employees for ongoing remote work or increased working hours flexibility. Employers who intend to deny flexible working requests should be aware that rejection may lead to a discrimination claim per the Equality Act.

It is worth noting that remote work was already a rising trend prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Given the amount of experience that many employees have now been able to garner due to lockdown, employers should be prepared to give ample thought and consideration to any future remote work requests or organisational policies.

Important Benefits of Having a Commercial Crime Insurance Policy

Many employers may believe that they are not targets for criminals, but this kind of inattention or negligence can lead to devastating losses. Regardless of size or industry, a commercial crime insurance policy is a layer of security that all organisations should consider.

Commercial crime cover provides protection and recoups losses in the event that money, property or funds are stolen from an organisation. This insurance covers a wide variety of crimes. Some specific examples of incidents that could befall an organisation, but would be covered under a commercial crime policy, include:

  • Employee crime – Losses or damages related to money or other property being stolen by employees via theft or forgery
  • Fraudulent transfers – Losses or damages stemming from a perpetrator either conducting or arranging a fraudulent transfer of goods or funds
  • Social engineering – Losses or damages caused by a criminal impersonating a person of authority—such as a senior leader—and using their influence to steal money or property
  • Forgery or alteration – Losses or damages related to cheques or promissory notes being forged or altered

Understanding the Workplace Priorities of Generation Z

As employers seek to attract and retain the top talent of a new generation, it is important that they understand the priorities of members of Generation Z.

Generation Z consists of people who were born between 1995-2010. This generation already makes up a plurality of the world’s population, at 32 per cent. As such, members of Generation Z will soon make up a significant portion of the world’s workforce.

In order to attract and retain top talent, it is important for employers to understand what Generation Z employees look for when making their career decisions. Consider these statistics regarding members of Generation Z and their priorities:

  • Thirty-two per cent say they are motivated to work harder and remain at an organisation longer if they have a supportive manager.
  • Seventy-seven per cent say that an organisation’s level of commitment to diversity would influence their decision to work there.
  • Thirty-three per cent say they would never tolerate an employer who allowed them no input regarding their work schedule.

One of the most notable statistics found in a global 2019 study condcted by the Workforce Institute is related to Generation Z’s desire for measurable career advancement.

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Guidance for Sport and Gym facilities during COVID-19 https://konsileo.com/guidance-for-sport-and-gym-facilities-during-covid-19 https://konsileo.com/guidance-for-sport-and-gym-facilities-during-covid-19#respond Fri, 07 Aug 2020 11:09:55 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=4020 It is the responsibility of any organisation or business reopening during the coronavirus pandemic to take certain precautions and implement safety measures in order to maximise the safety of employees, customers and other parties. This includes organisations operating sport and gym, or leisure facilities.

These environments may require particularly stringent restrictions and policies. Management should conduct thorough risk assessments of both the premises and permissible activities in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and reduce the chance of spreading germs.

Limiting Contact
There are many ways that facility management should attempt to minimise the danger of COVID-19 for those on the premises.

A reduced maximum capacity may be required in order to allow for social distancing measures to be satisfied. Organisations should adhere to government recommendations and requirements, and should consider the nature of certain activities, such as how much movement is required. Certain activities or classes that are not able to be adjusted for social distancing or other safety requirements may need to be suspended.

Precautionary measures should be in place to limit the amount of contact that guests and employees have with each other.

The use of changing areas and showering facilities can be reduced by encouraging members to arrive already wearing their athletic gear. Similarly, members should be advised to travel back home in order to shower or change out of their exercise attire.

Facilities should also utilise visual indicators, such as signage and floor markings in order to help control social distancing and traffic flow throughout the premises. Entrances, exits and other high-traffic areas should be regulated and monitored in order to prevent people clustering close to one another. Introducing more one-way traffic routes through a facility can help alleviate the risk of spreading germs and reduce potential congestion. If a premises has more than one door, consider designating one to be used only by people entering the facility and another to be used for exiting.

For facilities that may have previously had a spectator element, it is generally advised that spectators and non-participants not be allowed on the premises. In the event that spectators are in attendance, the following precautions should be considered:

  • Control the number of spectators through pre-booking, ticketing or other controls at entrances.
  • Ensure that spectators follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Clearly mark the areas in which spectators are allowed.
  • In cases in which a child is participating in an activity at the facility, permit only one parent or caregiver per child to attend and spectate.

It is important for organisations to keep staff and visitors informed about any safety measures and to provide regular reminders in order to maximise compliance.

Ventilation
Providing ample ventilation and airflow in a facility is a key step to reducing risk. Management should especially prioritise areas in which high-intensity exercise activity takes place by implementing these measures:

  • Limit the maximum occupancy of indoor facilities to a minimum of 100sqft per person.
  • Ensure that ventilation systems provide 100 per cent fresh air and do not recirculate air between areas.

Other safety considerations pertaining to ventilation include:

  • Increasing the existing ventilation rate by fully opening dampers and running fans on full speed
  • Operating the ventilation system 24 hours a day
  • Increasing the frequency of filter changes
  • Using a carbon dioxide sensor in the absence of known ventilation rates in order to serve as an indicator of when it is necessary to switch on additional mechanical ventilation or open more windows

Cleaning
All organisations have had to further emphasise and prioritise cleaning on their premises amidst the pandemic. For sport and gym facilities, this means conducting a thorough cleaning of the entire area prior to reopening, and continuing to maintain thorough cleanliness regularly.

Workout areas and equipment, such as mats and weights, should be cleaned or disinfected after each use. Provide spray, cloths and instructions for users to follow these precautions. If equipment cannot be cleaned between each user, it should not be available for use.

Visitors and staff should be constantly reminded to adhere to good hygiene practices, such as proper handwashing. Management should post signs reminding guests about these practices and provide verbal reminders as well for those who may have impaired vision. Hand sanitiser should be provided in multiple locations throughout the facility.

Caution Is Key
As the UK continues its recovery process, it is important that all organisations and facilities being allowed to reopen be aware of the threat posed by a potential second wave of COVID-19 cases. In places like sport and gym, or leisure facilities, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is a threat that must be taken seriously.

The NHS is continuing to attempt to trace cases of COVID-19. As such, facilities should keep a temporary record with the names and contact information of customers and visitors for the previous 21 days. In the event of someone who has been on the premises testing positive for COVID-19, it will be important to be able to provide the data to the NHS and contact others who may have been infected in order to contain a potentially widespread outbreak.

For more information on how to keep facilities safe during the coronavirus pandemic, contact one of our brokers.

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Preparing for a Second Wave of COVID-19 Cases https://konsileo.com/preparing-for-a-second-wave-of-covid-19-cases https://konsileo.com/preparing-for-a-second-wave-of-covid-19-cases#respond Sat, 01 Aug 2020 09:55:05 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=4012 Even as the UK continues to ease lockdown measures, daily operations won’t be business-as-usual for many across the country. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is still going on, despite businesses reopening. Moreover, public health officials and experts are warning of a potential second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Of course, no one knows if or when a second wave of infection will strike—or whether it will be as bad as or worse than the first wave. As such, businesses across the country should start planning today so they’re properly prepared for a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Review Government Guidance
Similar to the first wave of COVID-19 cases, governmental guidance will play a large role in how your organisation should respond to a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted regions in different ways. A second wave of cases may follow the same suit, affecting different regions at different times and in varying capacities.

This means that businesses in one region may be able to remain open, while businesses in other regions may need to close or adjust for a second time. As such, it’s critical to understand and continually review all relevant orders to determine if your business needs to take action in the face of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Review Your Organisational Risks
Even if there aren’t recommendations to close your business or make changes to prevent the second spread of COVID-19 cases, that doesn’t mean your organisation is safe from the coronavirus. What’s more, some businesses may have greater exposures than others, underscoring the importance of performing a thorough risk assessment to determine how you should respond.

Similar to conducting a risk assessment for planning to reopen following the first wave of COVID-19 cases, your organisation should conduct a risk assessment in preparation for a re-emergence of COVID-19 cases. While the complexity of risk assessments will differ from business to business, they typically involve the following steps:

  1. Identifying the hazards—When it comes to planning for a second wave of the coronavirus, businesses need to think critically about their exposures, particularly if an infected person entered their facilities. When identifying hazards, it’s a good idea to perform a walk-through of the premises and consider high-risk areas. It’s also important to consider what tasks employees are performing and whether or not they are especially exposed to COVID-19 risks when performing their duties.
  2. Deciding who may be harmed by a second wave of cases and how—Once you’ve identified hazards to your business, you need to determine what populations of your workforce are exposed to COVID-19 risks. When performing this evaluation, you will need to make note of high-risk individuals (e.g., staff members who meet with customers or individuals with pre-existing medical conditions).
  3. Assessing risks—Once you have identified the risks facing your business, you must analyse them to determine their potential consequences. For each risk facing your business, you’ll want to determine:
    • How likely is this particular risk to occur?
    • What are the ramifications should this risk occur?

When analysing your risks, consider potential financial losses, compliance requirements, employee safety, business disruptions, reputational harm and other consequences.

  1. Controlling risks—With a sense of what the threats to your business are, you can then consider ways to address them. There are a variety of methods businesses can use to manage their risks, including:
    • Risk avoidance—Risk avoidance is when a business eliminates certain hazards, activities and exposures from their operations altogether.
    • Risk control—Risk control involves preventive action.
    • Risk transfer—Risk transfer is when a business transfers its exposures to a third party.

For preparing for a second wave of the coronavirus, control measures could include cleaning protocols, work-from-home orders and mandated personal protective equipment (PPE) usage.

  1. Monitoring the results—Risk management is an evolving, continuous process. Once you’ve implemented a risk management solution, you’ll want to monitor its effectiveness and reassess.

Remember, the COVID-19 pandemic so far has been rapidly evolving, and guidance can change quickly. Your business should be prepared to take action at short notice.

Maintain Workplace Safety
Maintaining workplace safety is crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19 at your organisation, and will continue to be crucial in protecting your organisation against a second wave of COVID-19 cases. There are a number of HSE workplace controls to consider if your risk assessment determines that COVID-19 poses a threat to your employees or customers. For instance, you should:

  • Implement administrative controls—Typically, administrative controls are changes in work policies or procedures that reduce or minimise an individual’s exposure to a hazard. An example of an administrative control for the coronavirus is establishing alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time.
  • Utilise PPE—Businesses should focus on training workers on proper PPE best practices. Employees should understand how to properly put on, take off and care for PPE. Training material should be easy to understand and must be available in the appropriate language for all workers.
  • Consider engineering controls—Engineering controls protect workers by removing hazardous conditions or by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard. For COVID-19, engineering controls can include:
  • Installing high-efficiency air filters
  • Increasing ventilation rates in the work environment
  • Installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards
  • Screen employees before they enter the building—To keep employees safe, consider conducting screening procedures to identify potentially ill employees before they enter the workplace. The Equality and Human Rights Commission permits employers to measure employees’ body temperatures before allowing them to enter the worksite. Any employee screening should be implemented on a non-discriminatory basis in accordance with The Equality Act 2010. Be sure to notify employees of this practice prior to implementation in order to avoid catching them off guard.
  • Be adaptable—You should be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations. This could involve identifying alternative suppliers, prioritising existing customers or suspending portions of your operations.
  • Create a dialogue with vendors and partners—Talk with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities, and especially those in your supply chain.
  • Encourage social distancing—Social distancing is the practice of deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. In terms of COVID-19, social distancing best practices for businesses can include:
  • Hosting meetings virtually when possible
  • Limiting the number of people on the job site to essential personnel only
  • Discouraging people from shaking hands
  • Encourage employees to stay home if possible—Statistically speaking, the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to minimise person-to-person contact. As such, employers are using the following strategies to encourage employees to stay home:
  • Expanding telecommuting policies to ensure as many employees as possible can work from home
  • Highlighting benefits offerings that employees might not know about, including short-term disability
  • Expanding leave policies
  • Offering financial incentives for employees to stay home and not come into the office
  • Manage the different risk levels of their employees—It’s important to be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
  • Separate sick employees—Employees who appear to have symptoms (e.g., fever, cough or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers and visitors, and sent home. If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19. The employer should instruct fellow employees on how to proceed based on HSE guidance.
  • Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene—Businesses should encourage good hygiene to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This can involve:
  • Providing tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles
  • Providing soap and water in the workplace
  • Placing hand sanitisers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection—Businesses should regularly sanitise their facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some best practices include:
  • Cleaning and disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails and doorknobs.
  • Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
  • Providing disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

Be sure to consider the needs of your business and implement strategies that are specific to controlling and promoting workplace safety at your organisation.

Communicate With Employees
It’s not possible for you to control the pandemic, but it is possible for you to help ease the stress your employees may be experiencing. In these uncertain times, it’s imperative that you clearly communicate your business’ plans as frequently as possible. Here are some tips for effective employee communications:

  • Be open with employees about management decisions and ask for suggestions to rectify problems.
  • Provide as much information as possible about the pandemic.
  • Communicate the future of the business with employees often—in meetings, on the company website, in newsletters and in blogs.
  • Be empathetic in your communications, as every employee’s situation may be different.

Additionally, try to give as much notice as possible if your organisation plans to make significant workplace changes, including shutting down operations or requiring employees to work from home.

Prepare Now to Stay Safe Later
Due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, rules and regulations are constantly changing. You should be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations. For more information on how to keep your business, employees and customers safe whether a second wave of COVID-19 cases occurs or not, contact us today.

Our brokers have access to additional COVID-19 resources and can offer industry-specific guidance.  They are very happy to discuss any aspect of your insurance coverage and COVID-19 risk management programme with you.

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Deciding Who Should Work From Home During COVID-19 https://konsileo.com/deciding-who-should-work-from-home-during-covid-19 https://konsileo.com/deciding-who-should-work-from-home-during-covid-19#respond Tue, 28 Jul 2020 12:05:48 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=4015 As organisations across the UK continue reopening and the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 cases looms, employers are facing difficult decisions regarding work-from-home arrangements.

Some employers are opting to extend work-from-home arrangements until next year, others are asking all employees to return to the office and some are offering a hybrid of the two models.

For employers that are either reopening in phases or allowing some employees to continue to work from home during the pandemic, the question of who should continue working from home becomes a pressing issue. This article will provide an overview of best practices for employers to consider when determining which employees should continue to work from home during the pandemic. 

Review Roles and Responsibilities
While working from home may have been a necessity in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may not have been the ideal format for specific roles. When considering which employees should continue or move to a work-from-home arrangement, it’s important to evaluate their specific roles and responsibilities.

For example, if the employee is in a customer-facing role or in a role that requires in-office attendance, working from home may not be feasible. Be sure to evaluate each role objectively and thoroughly to ensure due diligence, and document reasons supporting the role’s necessity for in-office work.

If the employee can fulfil their role’s responsibilities regardless of their physical location, they may be a good candidate to work from home or continue working from home.

Case-by-Case Evaluation
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each one of your employees in a different way. Some may have health conditions or have a family member with a health condition that puts them at a higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Some employees may be juggling child care or other caregiving responsibilities, which require them to work from home. Others may simply not be comfortable returning to the office.

Remember to remain as flexible as possible with employees during these difficult and uncertain times. Consider conducting an organisation-wide survey to gauge employees’ comfort levels with returning to the office. In addition, consider implementing a formalised process in which employees with individualised concerns about returning to the office or desire to remain working from home can submit a request. These requests should be reviewed objectively and in a timely fashion. In some cases, alternate working schedules, solutions, paid time off or leave may need to be leveraged if working from home is not feasible.

On the other hand, there may be some employees who would prefer to work from the office. Be sure to hear these requests and respond accordingly. Let employees who wish to return know about any health screenings, face-covering requirements and other controls in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the office.

Leave It Up to Departments
Department heads and managers may have the most insight into how employees are performing remotely. As such, allowing departments to make decisions on who can or can’t continue to work from home may be a good option.

As long as productivity isn’t impacted and deadlines are being met, it might make sense for employees to work from home. Additionally, if a specific department can do their job remotely and employees feel safer at home, it might make sense to allow entire departments to start or to continue working from home.

Be Transparent
To avoid potential unnecessary animosity among employees, be sure to clearly communicate your process and decisions regarding employees working from home or going back to the office.

When employees feel like you’re being transparent and open, it can help them rationalise your decision. Communication and transparency are key during these uncertain times.

For more information or work-from-home resources, contact one of our brokers.

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COVID-19 Response Questionnaire https://konsileo.com/covid-19-response-questionnaire https://konsileo.com/covid-19-response-questionnaire#respond Mon, 27 Jul 2020 13:40:40 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=4007 As a result of the unprecedented challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brings, businesses should review their protocols to ensure they are doing all they can to protect their workforce and manage their operations. This questionnaire gives businesses the opportunity to review categories specific to COVID-19 and take actions to address those risks.

COVID-19 Response Questionnaire

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Cleaning the Workplace https://konsileo.com/cleaning-the-workplace https://konsileo.com/cleaning-the-workplace#respond Wed, 15 Jul 2020 13:25:05 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=3999 When reopening your organisation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is of the utmost importance that you ensure that your workplace is clean. This process has many steps, but your diligence will go a long way in protecting both your employees and customers.

Before reopening
• Assess all sites, or parts of sites, that have been closed before restarting work
• Conduct thorough cleaning procedures of all sites and provide hand sanitiser around the workplace
• Check ventilation for potential necessary adjustments due to lower occupancy levels

 

Keeping the workplace clean
• Conduct frequent, regular cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses. Be particularly diligent about
areas that are frequently visited, such as break or entrance areas
• Clear workspaces, and remove waste and belongings from the work area at
the end of each shift
• Take extra steps if responding to a known or suspected case of COVID-19

 

Hygiene – hand-washing, sanitation facilities and toilets
• Use signs and posters to build awareness of more frequent hand-washing and proper hand-washing technique
• Remind employees to avoid touching their face, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue of
their arms
• Provide signage and reminder regarding hygiene standards
• Make hand sanitiser accessible in multiple locations around the workplace
• Set clear usage and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is maintained
• Provide hand-drying facilities, more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection

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Cyber-security Breaches Survey 2020 https://konsileo.com/3860-2 https://konsileo.com/3860-2#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2020 09:20:39 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=3860 This document provides a visual overview of the 2020 Cyber-security Breaches Survey, commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. You can use the statistics in this document to compare the effectiveness of their cyber-security efforts and learn how you can improve.


Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020

 

 

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Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act Aims to Aid Recovery https://konsileo.com/corporate-insolvency-and-governance-act-aims-to-aid-recovery https://konsileo.com/corporate-insolvency-and-governance-act-aims-to-aid-recovery#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2020 13:18:59 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=3847 The Act serves to implement various measures to help the economy and businesses recover following extended lockdown measures and closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On 25th June 2020, the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill received royal assent, becoming an Act just over one month after being introduced in Parliament on 20th May.

The Act has been created and approved with the goal of implementing various measures that will help the economy and businesses recover following extended lockdown measures and closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Insolvency Measures
The Corporate Insolvency Zand Governance Act includes a number of insolvency measures that are intended to provide support for businesses as they attempt to recover financially. These measures include:

  • Moratorium periods—The first insolvency measure in the Act aims to provide businesses that may be struggling with formal breathing space to develop a rescue plan. During this formal breathing space, no legal action can be taken against a company without leave of the court. The moratorium period allows businesses 20 business days to develop a plan while normal directors remain in control of operations— although, the process must be overseen by a licensed insolvency practitioner. The 20-day period can be extended to 40 business days, with additional extensions possible if creditors of the court agree.
  • Termination clauses—The Act includes a permanent change regarding the use of termination clauses in supply contracts. In the event that an organisation is in the midst of an insolvency or restructuring procedure, or obtains a moratorium period during this time, suppliers will not be permitted to cease providing supplies under contractual terms. The organisation will still be required to pay for any supplies provided while in the insolvency process, but will not be required to pay outstanding bills for past supplies while arranging a rescue plan. This measure also includes additional protections for suppliers in the event that the requirement to continue providing supplies may cause harm to their own business. Small suppliers will be granted a temporary exemption.
  • Restructuring plans—This measure allows organisations (or their members or creditors) to propose a new restructuring plan as an alternative rescue option if they are experiencing financial struggles. Such a plan would allow for complex debt arrangements to be restructured and support the injection of new rescue finance. The measure introduces a cross-class cramdown that will allow dissenting classes of creditors to be bound by the new plan if the court determines it to be fair and equitable, as well as if it is determined that the creditors would be no worse off if the company were to enter a different insolvency procedure. The goal of this measure is to enable more companies to recover rather than go through the liquidation process, which would provide poor returns for creditors and result in lost jobs.
  • Statutory demands—Furthermore, the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act creates temporary provisions that eliminate statutory demands made between 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2020, as well as restrict winding up petitions from 27th April 2020 through 30th June 2020. These measures are temporary and are intended to prevent aggressive creditors from taking action against companies that would otherwise be able to remain viable, but are struggling due to the pandemic
  • Wrongful trading suspensions—This portion of the Act temporarily eliminates the risk of personal liability for company directors as it pertains to wrongful trading. Such a change allows directors to be able to act with assurance and put forth all effort to continue trading during these uncertain times, without the threat of personal liability. This measure will apply for any trading taking place between 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2020.

It is worth noting that some financial services firms and contracts have been excluded from some of the measures contained in the Act, including:

  • Moratorium period changes
  • Termination clause revisions
  • Wrongful trading suspensions

Financial service firms will be included in the new restructuring plan measure, albeit with certain safeguards—such as a role for the financial services regulators.

Annual General Meetings and General Meetings
The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act also includes changes that will allow organisations under legal requirement to hold annual general meetings or general meetings to do so by means that their constitution would not normally allow. As such, directors may avoid exposure to liability for measures that require shareholder approval, and the rights of shareholders will not be violated.

This measure is intended to be retrospective from 26th March 2020 in order to protect any company that already had to hold a general meeting that did not meet the existing obligations of their organisational constitution. This measure won’t prevent shareholders from exercising their right to vote on resolutions or other matters brought before the meeting, although they may not be able to do so in person.

Planning for the Future
The UK government has three specific primary goals that it hopes the Act achieves, including:

  1. The introduction of new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency and restructuring regime to give companies the breathing space and tools required to maximise their chances of survival
  2. The temporary suspension of certain aspects of insolvency law in order to allow directors to continue trading without risk of personal liability, and to protect organisations from aggressive creditors
  3. The amendment of company law and other legislation for the purpose of granting organisations and other parties with temporary easements on company filing and annual general meetings (as such, these parties will be able to focus their resources more heavily on maintaining operations)

With the UK government hoping to continue easing lockdown measures and restrictions, many organisations may find themselves having to manage difficult financial situations. These measures—and the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act as a whole—are intended to provide additional security and financial flexibility for organisations as they attempt to recover.

For more information on the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act, or other guidance on navigating your organisation’s financial future, contact one of our brokers today.

 

 

 

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Commuting post-coronavirus https://konsileo.com/commuting-post-coronavirus https://konsileo.com/commuting-post-coronavirus#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 10:50:35 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=3851 The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought ambiguity and a general feeling of not knowing what to expect when returning to the workplace. One thing for certain is that businesses are reassessing their strategies to help plan for a smooth and thoughtful transition back to the workplace.

Part of that plan is acknowledging that previous work routines may need to change. Workforces will again need to be adaptive like they did with remote working. Employers should continue to demonstrate their willingness to be flexible to support employees. One of the most noticeable changes will be how employees commute.

People are craving normalcy. The majority of commuters will see no change in their post-pandemic travel habits; however, some people might shift to new travel modes if given the chance. This article explores how commute options may change and ways that employers can support employees commuting in a world altered by COVID-19.

Public Transport
It wasn’t that long ago that a workday commute meant standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the tube, trying to find an open seat on the train or holding a handrail while standing in a crowded bus. As the pandemic threat shifts, those types of transit situations may cause anxiety for commuters who are practising social distancing and avoiding large gatherings of people—especially people they do not know.

Employees who rely on public transport for their commute may be worried about contracting COVID-19. As a result, keep in mind that employees may prefer to travel at off-peak times or take a less busy route to reduce the number of changes.

Vehicles
It’s not surprising that public health experts predict that people will likely want to drive alone in their personal vehicles to avoid exposure to COVID-19 while commuting.

Discourage carpooling with co-workers or others not living in the employee’s household. For employees who rely on carpooling or other formal ride-sharing services to get to the workplace, encourage them to ask drivers about their cleaning procedures, and practise social distancing and good hygiene (e.g. wash hands, use hand sanitiser and avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth).

Walking, Cycling and Other Transport
For employees who live close to the workplace, they may opt to walk, or ride a bicycle or e-scooter as an alternative. However, these may be impractical modes of transport due to local climate or geography.

Consider understanding your employees’ locations and transport needs as you’re working on a return-to-work plan and outlining commuting benefits. Employees may change how they were getting to work before COVID-19.

Commuter Tax Benefits
Even before the pandemic, employers may have offered benefits for employees to use a variety of ride-sharing services. Now, there may be more financial reasons to start encouraging efficient commutes.

While some business travel costs may be non-taxable, if an employer pays for, or reimburses, the cost of personal commutes to a regular workplace, it will be treated as additional pay and therefore be taxable.

Some employers choose to provide a ‘Season Ticket Loan’ for employees who commute by train. This season ticket is generally more cost-efficient than daily tickets or monthly passes, and is interest-free up to £10,000. The loan is then repaid over 12 months by deducting the payments from an employee’s net pay.

Employees who choose to drive their own vehicles to the workplace should be advised that the HMRC does not consider daily commutes to be a business journey. As such, mileage accrued during such travel is generally not tax-deductible.

There are some circumstances in which your employees may be able to deduct daily commuting costs, such as while having to travel to a temporary workspace. Click here for more information on what may or may not qualify for this exception.

Other Considerations
To limit employees’ exposure to many other commuters, employers could offer parking subsidies or shuttle buses. If possible, renting a temporary, additional workplace that is centrally located to employees could shorten the commute or eliminate the need for public transport. Understandably, investing money in another workspace during the pandemic may not be the most ideal option.

If your company already has a remote work program in place, consider extending that for those who can get their work done from home—or allowing employees to work on-site and also remotely. Consider offering flexible hours to accommodate personal responsibilities that are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., caring for children or other family members). By standardising a mix of on-site and off-site remote work, employees could come into the workplace when it’s necessary for meetings and stay at home when it’s not. If it is essential to have everyone back in the workplace, consider staggering schedules so that employees do not have to travel during peak times. Most importantly, encourage employees to stay home if they are sick.

Our brokers have access to additional COVID-19 resources and can offer industry-specific guidance.  They are very happy to discuss any aspect of your insurance coverage and COVID-19 risk management programme with you.

 

 

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Managing Customers and Clients While Reopening https://konsileo.com/managing-customers-and-clients-while-reopening https://konsileo.com/managing-customers-and-clients-while-reopening#respond Thu, 18 Jun 2020 09:15:40 +0000 https://konsileo.com/?p=3855 As the UK begins to ease lockdown measures and restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, it is important that businesses that intend to reopen take every possible precaution. With customers and clients returning to your store or business, it is necessary that you provide them with guidance regarding new practices and procedures implemented to ensure the health and safety of both themselves and your employees.

Minimise Contact
One of the simplest and most effective steps to minimising the potential for spreading germs and diseases, such as COVID-19, is to have as little contact between people as possible. Prior to the pandemic, these types of measures may not have been on anyone’s mind, but as the UK attempts to get back to normal, following basic precautions will be a key step in achieving that goal.

Minimise the amount of contact at your business by taking the following steps:

  • Define the number of customers or clients that can reasonably fit on your premises, including outdoor areas, while also following the 2-metre social distancing guideline. Take into account total floorspace, as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.
  • Limit the number of customers in your business, particularly in any congested areas, such as doorways.
  • Encourage customers and clients to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the premises to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Discourage customers from unnecessary handling or touching products while browsing.
  • Suspend or reduce customer services that cannot be provided while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
  • Encourage customers to shop alone when possible, unless they require specific assistance.
  • Remind customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and that they must follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Observe how customers and clients navigate the premises, and consider how you may be able to adjust traffic flow to reduce congestion and contacts.
  • Ensure any changes to entries, exits and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled shoppers.
  • Provide additional parking or facilities, such as bike racks, in order to help customers and clients avoid using public transport.
  • Use outside areas for queueing.
  • Manage outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses.
  • Work with local authorities or your landlord to gauge the effects of your processes, such as queues, in public spaces.
  • If you operate a shopping centre, it is your responsibility to regulate the number of customers in the centre and the queuing process in communal areas on behalf of your retail tenants.
  • Provide clearly designated positions from which colleagues can provide advice or assistance to customers and clients while maintaining social distancing.
  • Work with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to consider methods by which you may be able to spread out the number of customers arriving throughout the day, such as by staggering opening hours.
  • Avoid sharing vehicles except within a family, such as while providing a test drive for a customer at an automobile dealership. If this is not possible, minimise the number of people in the vehicle, position the people in the vehicle as distanced as possible and use other safety measures, such as ensuring good ventilation.
  • Continue to keep customer restaurants and cafes closed until further notice, apart from when offering hot or cold food to be consumed off the premises.

 

Provide Guidance
In addition to implementing new safety measures and changing many aspects of your business’ pre-pandemic operations, another key step to providing a safe atmosphere for your customers and employees is actually communicating and explaining the changes. Any precautions and procedures that you implement may lack effectiveness if customers are not properly instructed.

Make sure that everyone at your business understands the rules and how to follow them by taking the following steps:

  • Provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to each customer upon arrival, such as by using signs and visual aids.
  • Inform customers that they should be prepared to remove face coverings safely if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.
  • Provide written or spoken communication of the latest guidelines to customers and clients both inside and outside of your business. Consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are visually impaired.
  • Consider creating social distancing champions to demonstrate social distancing guidelines to customers.
  • Ensure that your current guidelines are visible in selling and non-selling areas.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone is excited by the prospect of getting back to normal, but patience and proper precautions will be of paramount importance if progress is to be made. The sight of customers returning to your business, moving through the shop and making purchases is a welcome one, but it is up to you to ensure that everyone on the premises is being as safe as possible.

Our brokers have access to additional COVID-19 resources and can offer industry-specific guidance.  They are very happy to discuss any aspect of your insurance coverage and COVID-19 risk management programme with you.

 

 

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