Navigating the new normal

Coronavirus and your organisation (17 March)


All content on this page is correct as of March 17, 2020

Employment issues: what if working from home is not an option?

Following the government’s advice that people avoid non-essential contact, many organisations will be asking their staff to work from home. But what options are left when working from home is not possible? In the coming weeks, some organisations may face difficult decisions regarding staffing. In our latest employment blog, we examine what routes are available in this situation – and if layoffs or redundancy become necessary, what the main considerations are.

Click here for more.

Sick pay

Sick pay now becomes payable on the first day of absence for all those eligible to receive SSP. The Prime Minister appeared to refer to employees who have been requested to self-isolate on medical advice, even if they are not suffering from any symptoms and so remain able to work. It is likely that such individuals would be eligible for SSP by reason of deemed incapacity, provided they have been issued with a written notice by a medical authority advising them to self-isolate. This is confirmed by Acas guidance which has been updated following the government’s announcement.

GDPR and coronavirus: balancing the need for information with compliance

Regrettably one of the consequences of the heightened public health concerns has been the cancellation or postponement of many events.

Where organisations take steps to gather information on employees and visitors to their premises (such as recent travel updates), they are going to collect personal data and potentially special category data (i.e. health information). This should be used in compliance with data protection law. In times of acute public concern like this, data protection law should not stop people acting to protect themselves and others. However, understandably there can be a number of questions that come up frequently when thinking through the implications of how to comply with data protection requirements.

In our latest Data Privacy blog here, we look at what information you can collect, how you can collect it, and how you can use and share it while staying compliant.

Coronavirus and contracts: how should you approach matters?

The cancellation of events is just one issue that touches on a wider issue – what options does your organisation have if you need to break a contractual agreement?

A number of clients have approached us to ask what happens if they are unable to fulfil their obligations under a contract – for example by suspending a service or postponing a conference.

We’ve prepared an article on the most common issues and challenges to think about, with a detailed explanation of force majeure and frustration. Click here for more.

Cancelling or postponing AGMs

We are receiving lots of queries about cancelling and postponing AGMs and other members’ meetings.  The key issues include:

  • Whether you can cancel or postpone a meeting once it has been formally called
  • Whether proxies or remote attendance can count towards the quorum
  • What the consequences are of delaying calling an AGM, particularly if delaying would mean not complying with a requirement in your constitution. 
  • The impact on retirement and appointment of trustees, and other tasks usually carried out at an AGM

If you need any advice about holding or postponing your AGM at this time, please speak to your usual Bates Wells contact.

Charity update: regulatory latest

As COVID-19 continues to cause disruption in the day-to-day operations of charities, the Charity Commission, OSCR and the Fundraising Regulator have all published advice.

Click here for the full update, looking at annual reporting requirements, serious incident reporting and what to do about cancelling any fundraising events.

We’d love to hear from you

What issues are most concerning to you about the spread of coronavirus? Are there specific topics you’d like us to cover in our next update? Please take a moment to complete our survey.


This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of March 17, 2020.

How can we help?