Hindsight is 20/20 (literally!), we know that. A lot of the time we do look back and reflect on what we’ve done and find something we wish we did completely differently. We’re all a bit guilty of it.
So, on that note, would things have been different if your business had been properly protected from a legal perspective before Covid even struck? We know a lot of SMEs were treated pretty badly during Covid, which wasn’t helped at all by lacking legal protection.
What if you had:
1) Airtight, robust contracts in place from the get-go with your customers, suppliers etc. that contained the necessary clauses to assist when situations like this come about (not that it’s a common occurrence!). Covid meant a lot of businesses were unable to perform their obligations or were unable make payment to suppliers/be paid by customers. Clauses like these may have helped:
- Force Majeure: a clause which deals with events beyond an individual’s control
- Change in law circumstances: which provides certainty for people by setting out which party will be responsible for costs incurred for complying with any law changes
- Material Adverse Change (MAC): one for buyers in the midst of a corporate acquisition. Used to protect the parties against risk of unforeseen circumstances or events
2) Fully understood your responsibilities and obligations as an employer, from an employment law/legal perspective, and had the correct contracts in place to help with this? In particular, having a full understanding of sick pay/non-sick pay obligations
3) Had a proper HR support function by your side and in place to assist, including having the proper documents, policies and procedures prepared. Performing a HR audit regularly makes all the difference
4) Fully protected your business via intellectual property protection. This includes trademarking your business name, and also making sure you ‘tell the world’ about your copyright. Not only can a great IP portfolio act as a great form of income in itself, but proper IP protection will also lessen the blow if someone were to steal your business name or copyrighted works. You don’t need IP issues on top of everything else going on!
5) Had flexible working processes and procedures implemented, especially regarding your contracts. How many of you and your colleagues are still WFH? Of course, nobody could have foreseen this, but you always have to prepare for the ‘what-ifs’. That includes considering things like your privacy documentation and cybersecurity matters for flexible working/working from home
6) Undertook regular health and safety in the workplace audits
As we said, nobody could have foreseen what has happened over the past year, but this just underlines how important it is to have things like the above implemented in the first place. That way, you do have that extra layer of protection covering you when it comes down to it
So, is your business ‘Covid complaint’? We can help get your Covid policies and procedures in place and assist with things like returning to work documentation and changing your contract to reflect remote working, so that your business is protected in ‘the new normal’