2020 was a year full of newsworthy moments, with each twist and turn impacting businesses and individuals in different and challenging ways.
Throughout this unusual time, we’ve been here to break down the news and offer guidance, via both our services and our expert blogs and insights.
During such an unstable period, where the situation changed from one day to the next, we created a useful bank of information to help answer your questions and concerns.
We kept on top of the news agenda, providing you with blogs that unravelled the latest government guidance and gave insight from our teams on the most talked about issues at the time.
Here are the blogs that you found most helpful in 2020:
At the end of March 2020, the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) suspended all services to protect their staff and applicants. However, this led to a backlog of visa applications at UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
As the UK immigration system gradually reopened, the UKVCAS and UKVI worked together to develop the Identity Verification (IDV) app, which is still in use today.
The app is free to use for those who are eligible and requires applicants to submit their information to the UKVI by taking a photograph of themselves and their travel documents and uploading them via their smartphone.
For employers, this means they won’t be left in limbo about the immigration status of their employees during the pandemic.
Get in touch with our business immigration team for more information.
Throughout the pandemic, the Job Retention Scheme has been a vital lifeline for businesses in the UK. Furlough leave has allowed companies to save both money and their staff, with the Government paying up to 80 percent (capped at £2,500) of wage costs. Without it, many more businesses would have been forced to make redundancies or even close for good.
A number of changes have happened to the furlough scheme over the past year, and our employment team’s comprehensive Job Retention Scheme blog has been continually updated, covering everything you need to know.
Relationship breakdowns are already complicated enough without the extra stress that a pandemic adds, especially when children are involved. Many parents were left concerned about the status of recently obtained child arrangement orders and whether they will be able to see their children with social distancing and self-isolation guidance in place.
Our child arrangements blog answers the most common questions that our family team have been asked throughout 2020, offering reassurance to parents in this difficult position.
In October 2020, it was announced that there had been a 550 percent increase in people writing wills in the six months prior. Clearly, people were – and still are – worried about the risks of COVID-19, with many wanting to ensure their affairs are in order should the worst happen.
Making a will is always important, and thankfully being in lockdown doesn’t mean that you have to wait until things return to normal. Initial meetings can take place over video conference and further communication is able to happen via email or telephone. Wills can also be witnessed via video conference until 31 January 2022. Learn more about this new process from our private client team.
Moving away from the topic of the pandemic, another of our most popular blogs looks at whether businesses can force their employees to include pronouns in email signatures. There is no legal requirement for employees to publicly state their preferred pronouns, although people can do so if they wish.
Requests from employers to do this may be done in the name of inclusivity, but it’s a tricky tightrope to cross, as this information could impact the way that employees are treated, in turn leaving employers open to discrimination claims. Our employment team can offer further guidance should you be unsure of what information is acceptable to request from your staff.
There has also been light amongst the darkness, so here are our most-read positive news stories:
At the start of the pandemic, we signed up to the C-19 Business Pledge, a global initiative which encouraged businesses and universities to join the international coronavirus effort to help the most vulnerable.
Through our dedicated coronavirus resource hub and free helpline, we’ve supported both our clients and local businesses, and we will continue to do so.
On 1 May 2020, we implemented a major restructure of our senior leadership team. These changes were made to support our ambitious plans for growth, as well as increase collaboration across the business, in turn creating a more agile operational model.
In the second half of 2020, we made a number of promotions and appointments within our membership. This included a host of new ordinary and preferred members, as well as four new partners.
From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.
Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.
SHMA® ON DEMAND
Listen to our SHMA® ON DEMAND content covering a broad range of topics to help support you and your business.
David Pendle, Associate Director | Andrew Gore, Partner
Standard Method – the implications for plan-making and development opportunities across the East Midlands
This webinar will focus on what on the implications are for plan-making across the […]
Peter Snodgrass, Partner & Head of Agriculture
Agriculture: Brexit and the impacts on farmers and land owners
Peter Snodgrass, Head of Agriculture at Shakespeare Martineau, will be in conversation with Jason […]
Debra Burton, Legal Director
DIY Will Drafting and Digital Assets – what can go wrong?
Discussing the common problems encountered with badly drafted Wills including construction issues, the risk […]
Rhys Wyborn, Partner
IR35 – what changes are expected in April 2021?
In this webinar, Rhys Wyborn – partner in our employment team reminds employers of […]
All the latest views and insights on current topics.
Planning & Environmental
Women in Planning mentoring scheme launches for International Women’s Day
News Women in Planning mentoring scheme launches for International Women's Day 2021 Enquire Now […]
Corporate & Commercial
Redundancies during COVID-19: Coronavirus job retention scheme extension provides some relief
Guides & Advice Redundancies during COVID-19: Coronavirus job retention scheme extension provides some relief Get […]
How to handle construction disputes effectively
Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday – extension announced by the Chancellor and help to get on the housing ladder
Corporate & Commercial
The Job Retention Scheme Your questions – answered
Shakespeare Martineau advises on multi-million pound sale of Prolectric
Homeworking: how to deal with workplace injuries
How can we help?
Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333