Covid 19

Draft Furlough letter template

15th March 2020 – Covid-19

The Licensees Association is pleased to assist our members with the attached and embedded of a furlough letter to use for any member of your team as required.

It is very self explanatory but if you need any guidance then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

DRAFT FURLOUGH LETTER

Dear [ ]

VARIATION OF CONTRACT

I refer to our [telephone call / meeting earlier today].

As discussed, on 21st March 2020 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Scheme”). The Scheme will enable employers to contact HMRC for a grant to cover some of the wages of their workforce who are kept on the payroll but are furloughed / temporarily suspended from work due to the Coronovirus.

We have taken the decision to request that [all employees working [define]] or [some of our employees] agree to being furloughed for an initial period of [ ] weeks from [ ]. We will of course continue to monitor the current situation and if we are able to re-open our [stores, units, shops, offices] before the [ ] we will contact you to request that you return to work, and your period of furloughed leave will immediately come to an end. [It may also be necessary in cases of a sudden shortage in the number of staff that we have retained due to illness etc. to request that you return to work to cover those absences on short notice.]

We are asking you to agree to being furloughed as an alternative to considering other alternatives such as redundancies, lay-off or agreeing to unpaid leave. We anticipate that most employees will be better off receiving the benefit of the Job Retention Scheme than they would otherwise be under any of these alternative options.

[We can confirm that whilst you are furloughed it is important that you do not undertake any work for the Company, whether voluntary or otherwise].

In terms of your pay during the furloughed period, we will pay you a sum which amounts to 80% of the employment costs which we are able to claim under the Scheme, which is a maximum of £2,500 for each employee per month. The specific details as to how this sum will be calculated are currently not known as we are awaiting further details about the Scheme from the Government. We will communicate with you again regarding this as soon as we are provided with the detail. For the avoidance of doubt once the period of furlough ends, the way in which your pay is calculated will return to normal.

If you accept the request to be furloughed, with the exception of the way in which your pay will be calculated as set out above, all other terms and conditions will remain unchanged.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for all your hard work and continued support of the business through these unprecedented times.

Please can you reply by return of [email] stating that you have read and understood the above and that you agree to the terms above and accept the proposal to be furloughed with effect from [ ]. [Or replace with alternative arrangements such as post, telephoning their line-manager, or using voting buttons].

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries.

Kind regards/Yours sincerely

<<ENDS>>

Support from leading DRJ Accountants

18th March 2020 – Covid-19

The Licensees Association is working closely with DRJ Accountants, one of the country’s leading accountancy firms with a dedicated team who live and breath hospitality.

They have created the following guidance and support for hospitality business owners: –

1. Business Rates

Business rates for all retail and leisure businesses suspended for 12 months, regardless of the rateable value of the property.

If you have already received a business rates bill from your local authority and there was money to be paid, do not pay it as you will be re-billed with nothing to pay for 12 months from April 2020.

2. Grants available

£25,000 grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. SME grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.

Nothing has been released yet in terms of how to apply for these grants. Local authorities are currently working with the Government to work out how the funds available are going to be split.

Having made enquiries to relevant professionals, we are still unsure as to how the level of these grants will be determined and whether any further financial evidence will be needed. It was previously believed that this would be an automatic process, however this may no longer be the case; we will keep you informed.

3. Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Introduction of The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance.

This is only a guarantee scheme for you to easily and quickly apply and receive funds. These loans should be available from next week. As far as we know, you will apply through your usual bank or other lenders.

4. HMRC Time To Pay

HMRC Time To Pay Scheme. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Join the DRJ Accountant Facebook group to stay quickly up-to-date and have discussions with other people within the industry to share tips and advice in this ever changing situation

Support from our legal partner Freeths

17th March 2020 – Covid-19

The Licensees Association is working closely with Freeths, one of the country’s leading legal firms with a dedicated team who live and breath hospitality.

They have created the following guidance and support for hospitality business owners: –

1. Trading through Covid-19: key issues for directors

Unfortunately short to medium-term cash-flow issues are expected for many hospitality businesses. Directors must be particularly alert to the effect that these circumstances may have on their statutory duties. As the scale and duration of the outbreak remains unknown, directors should take steps to prepare both the company from a commercial perspective but also themselves on an individual level, against any inadvertent breaches of duty. Read more…

2. Q&A for employers on managing their workforce

In this rapidly changing public health situation, employers are facing scenarios they have never had to deal with before. In this Q&A we respond to some of the most common questions we are being asked about staff and self-isolation, keeping staff safe and issues over suspension and layoff. Read more…

3. What steps can tenants take to survive the crisis?

In this rapidly changing public health situation, employers are facing scenarios they have never had to deal with before. In this Q&A we respond to some of the most common questions we are being asked about staff and self-isolation, keeping staff safe and issues over suspension and layoff. Read more…

If you want to know more or have specific question then we urge you to contact the team at Freeths.

Alison Foxton is contactable clicking here or by calling 0845 272 5723.

WE are on YOUR side…

16th March 2020 – Covid-19

We are in the most uncertain of times. The entire hospitality sector is facing a challenging and turbulent period.

At The Licensees Association we are calling for the immediate support from PubCo’s.

In an open letter sent, by our CEO, Nick Griffin, to the trade media and to CEOs of pub operating businesses, Nick call for PubCos to step up and support their licensees with a host of options to alleviate the immediate and potential long-term pressures faced by every leased/tenanted pub owner.

The suggestions to assist include: –

If a site shuts it should be commercial rent free for the period of closure.

Following re-opening it should have a negotiated rent for an agreed period to allow for a re-build of confidence.

If evidence of a severe downturn in business can be shown year on year, increased discounts should be made available to ease pressure.

If for any reason whatsoever, you the POB or your nominated supplier cannot deliver tied goods then there should be an accepted automatic release from the tie, without penalty or claw back, for like for like quantities, until you can fulfil your delivery obligation.

An agreed waiver on tight timescales within pubs code for serving of MRO etc to enable people to concentrate on other issues, staff cover etc.

Nick Griffing commented: “Now is the time for the industry to come together and for the pub operating businesses to stand behind these hardworking licensees – because without them they simply don’t have a PubCo they have a number of empty properties.”

The Licensees Association is the only trade body to have called on the pub operating businesses to come forward and pro-actively support their leaseholders/tenants.

You can see the full letter by clicking on the News link below.

Our News & Articles

JUNE 29th 2020

Nick Griffin, CEO comments on CEO the current Re-opening & Flexible furloughing rules that lay ahead over the next few months

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