2020 is finally coming to a close, but there are still several milestone moments in the months ahead, before we welcome 2021.
With the potential to have a considerable impact on people and employers alike, we’ve laid out the biggest events due to happen from now until New Year.
The end of the furlough scheme
31 October marks the close of the furlough scheme that has been supporting thousands of UK businesses since March. For many, the scheme has been a vital lifeline, enabling them to continue trading without having to make difficult redundancies.
However, as the second wave of COVID-19 crashes in, the Government have not abandoned businesses in their time of need. Enter the next stage of the Job Support Scheme.
From November employers will have to bring back employees for at least one day a week (20% of hours). Similar to furlough, the Government will top up people’s pay up to a cap of £1,541.75 per month. Employers must now decide if and how they will take advantage of this new support.
Make the most of the Job Retention Bonus
Announced on 2 October, the Job Retention Bonus can be claimed by employers who have kept on any employees who were previously furloughed.
To be eligible for the bonus, the employer must have paid the “minimum income threshold” to the employee throughout the tax months:
- 6 November to 5 December 2020
- 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021
- 6 January to 5 February 2021
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
During the pandemic, the UK has been witness to a host of retail administrations. The High Street was struggling even before COVID-19, and some businesses haven’t been able to cope with the further drop in footfall.
Nevertheless, things have been steadily improving, and the approach of Christmas shopping season in the form of Black Friday (27 November) and Cyber Monday (30 November) is another reason for retailers to stay positive.
With online shopping still on the up and retail sales having continued to increase for the fifth consecutive month, these highlights of the retail calendar could be exactly what is needed to keep up this newfound momentum.
Usually associated with packed stores and frenzied shoppers, Black Friday will look a bit different this year. However, it has the potential to keep retailers on the rocks from falling into the depths of the second wave.
For businesses that are considering restructuring, our corporate restructuring and insolvency team can give you the guidance you need.
Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday
The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday has persuaded many homeowners to look for a new property. Buyers have the chance to save £15,000, a considerable amount enabling people to buy homes they might not otherwise have been able to afford.
However, although the holiday doesn’t end until 31 March 2021, buyers need to get the ball rolling by early November if they are to reap the benefits. This is because the discount doesn’t apply unless the property completes before the end of March.
If you’re looking to sell or buy your own home, or are looking to invest in residential properties, speak to a member of our residential conveyancing team to see how we can help.
Switching on the Energy White Paper
Following numerous delays, the current prediction for when the Energy White Paper is to be published is Autumn 2020. Having originally been planned for summer 2019, many businesses are waiting with bated breath to see what information it will provide about the UK’s pathway to net zero.
Although it is unknown what exactly the White Paper will cover, it is likely that it will include the widespread introduction of green infrastructure, balanced against the need to keep consumer costs down.
For now, the UK will have to wait and see whether it will be enough to pave the way to a successful future for the energy sector.
Get ready for Brexit
The end of the Brexit transition period is rapidly approaching, and with COVID-19 having taken up much of businesses’ time this year, they must ensure they are prepared.
From changes to commercial dispute processes to securing European workforces, there are a number of elements that organisations should consider before 31 December.
Businesses whose workforces consist of a number of lower skilled migrant workers will face particular challenges, with many ‘low skilled’ job roles not meeting the skills level for sponsorship. As such, it is important for employers to seek guidance from professionals.
Our Brexit & Beyond hub contains the latest news, articles, briefings, commentary and webinars concerning the legal implications of Brexit ensuring that you have all the information to drive your strategic thinking now and in the future.
Keeping you updated
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