As lockdown easing brings closer the possibility of a return to ‘business as normal’, commercial lawyers are warning that company bosses should review internal policies to ensure they are still workable, and develop new ones to fill any gaps.
Robert Williams, who heads up Employment law at local Legal 500 firm GHP Legal, believes the greatest need will be for local businesses to review their risk assessment policies, but unforeseen difficulties that may lay ahead will bring an unprecedented need to identify new ones.
With offices in Wrexham, Oswestry, Chirk and Llangollen, GHP Legal has itself had to adapt to and cater for the different rules applied in England and Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Clearly risk assessment will be a priority”, says Robert Williams, “but companies may also need to develop a vaccination policy alongside. Absence policies may also need to be reviewed as there are likely to be some employees who are less than keen to return to work after a year of working remotely or being furloughed.
“On top of all of this we are currently preparing to advise clients about a series of employment law changes coming into force in April, so employers have got a busy time ahead and advance preparation might ease some of the pressure.”
Among the pending employment legislation changes are an increase to the National Minimum Wage on 1st April, increases to statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental and parental bereavement pay on 4th April, increases to statutory sick pay and the introduction of IR35 off-payroll working rules on 6th April. In addition, there are extensions to furlough and gender pay gap reporting for bosses to consider.