Chancellor’s Budget commits to sick pay refund for small business, but many still need better contingency plans

Chancellor’s Budget commits to sick pay refund for small business, but many still need better contingency plans

The Chancellor’s has announced that statutory sick pay (SSP) will be refunded to employers to help with the costs and disruption of coronavirus.

This is welcome news for many employers, according to London legal firm iLaw, but it warns that employers still must consider their staff contingencies for delivering continuity of business to customers.

During his speech, Rishi Sunak announced the cost incurred by businesses, who have someone off work for up to 14 days, will be refunded and that £2 billion will be allocated to help firms that lose income due to statutory sick pay.

This funding will be available to all firms that employ fewer than 250 staff members, meaning that the majority of the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses will be eligible.

Julian Cox, Head of Employment at iLaw, said: “Many employers may be breathing a sigh of relief following the Chancellor’s Budget today and it is good to see that the Government is taking a pragmatic approach by refunding the costs of SSP for staff for up to 14 days.

“This will hopefully allow most businesses to shoulder the cost better while relieving the pressure on employees to come to work when they may need to self-isolate.”

The latest move comes after the Government extended the period of SSP from the first day that a person reports an illness last week. SSP is to be paid by employers to all workers, including those working through an agency.

To be eligible for SSP a person has to be earning at least £118 a week and will be paid a minimum of £94.25 a week.

“While this measure should be welcomed it is worth noting that many large businesses will not benefit from this refund,” added Julian.

“Even those that do receive a refund are likely to see their business affected if they can’t offer continuity of service or supply to their customers.

“This is why they must have contingencies in place to ensure that their business can remain open and operational.”

Julian explained that this could include helping staff to work remotely from home or speaking with customers to make them aware of delays and focussing on essential work.

Leap year and the impact on employment

Leap year and the impact on employment

As the world gets ready to mark a leap year, it is worth considering the potential impact that it may have on pay and your holiday entitlement.

Typically, most people have 253 working weekday days each year, but the edition of the 29th February (despite it falling on the weekend), means that this average is now 254 working weekdays.

For most this will mean an additional day’s work with no reward, but for some, it could mean additional pay and more holiday time.

Salaried Workers

For most of those working full time on an annual salary, they will not receive any additional pay for their extra day of work, as it will have already been factored into your salary.

This is because monthly pay is calculated as a twelfth of an individual’s pay packet, regardless of the number of days in each month. Those working pro-rate part-time for an annual salary will also not receive any additional pay.

The only exception to this rule is if your contract has a specific clause about extra pay on leap years, in which case you receive pay for the additional day you work.

Those on a very low salary should check whether the additional day tips them below the national minimum wage, as they may need to notify their employer if this is the case, as they would otherwise be underpaying and could be subject to a fine.

Hourly/Weekly Paid Workers 

Those paid by the hour or by the day can be asked to work the extra time, but they must be paid for it.

Unfortunately, if you are paid on a weekly rate then you only get paid for each full week you complete, meaning the extra day won’t mean more pay.

Shift workers or those on a zero-hours contract who work an extra day should also get additional time towards their holiday accrual.

If you are unsure of the rules surrounding leap years and employment rights, why not speak to our team today. 

What to avoid when trade marking your brand

What to avoid when trade marking your brand

A trade mark can be invaluable in protecting your brand and the products or services that it markets.

Without trade mark protection you may find that competitors use your logos, patterns or business name without your permission and benefit commercially from it.

When applying for a trade mark, your application must be submitted correctly and should sufficiently protect your brand now and in the future.

To help you avoid some of the common pitfalls of applying for a trade mark, our experienced trade mark team have outlined some basic points to consider.

Avoid generic 

Attempting to brand a product with a generic word or pattern that is non-distinctive may not hold up in court and could be challenged. The more the word or device you choose describes your goods or services the harder it will be to register and enforce.

Research, research, research

Just because you have come up with a distinctive name do not assume that no one else hasn’t used it previously. If another person has registered the trade mark and it has been in use within the last few years, then you may struggle or find it impossible to register a similar trade mark, particularly if it applies to a similarly classed product or service. You should do this early in the life of your business before you invest in branding and marketing to avoid any unnecessary costs.

Trade mark ownership

It’s important that you establish whose name the trade mark is under. Any ambiguity could lead to a dispute over who gets paid if a brand, or trademark, is sold or licensed in future. Make sure that ownership is aligned with the aims of the business and the people within it.

Don’t ignore application correspondence

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will contact you if they find that there is an issue with your trademark application. You must respond to this quickly because if you don’t your application could be declared void. It is best to seek immediate professional advice if you are unsure of the nature or details of the correspondence.

Mind your P’s and Q’s

There are legal restrictions that exist regarding the use of offensive words that could see your trademark application rejected. Be sure to check with the IPO or a professional adviser whether the words you intend to use are deemed offensive.

Back to class

Trade marks are categorised by product or service, of which there are 45 separate classes. This means that is possible to have a company or product name registered in one class and an identical company or product name registered by another company in a separate class. Do not assume that just because you are protected under some classes, that your brand is protected under all classes.

Remember, you can only enforce a trade mark if the services or products of the party can be related to yours in such a way that they may confuse the public.

Descriptive names

The UK IPO, and many overseas IPOs do not accept descriptive marks, as this would provide the trademark owner with an unfair monopoly in a word. Try and choose a distinctive word.

Seek help

The best advice that any professional can offer is to seek help. Trade mark rules can be deceptively complex and failing to get it right may mean that your product or service is not properly protected or may lead to you infringing on the rights of another trade mark owner.

Speaking with a dedicated trade mark attorney you can save time, money and most importantly the stress of getting it wrong. To find out how our experienced trade mark attorney Andrew Murch can help you, please contact us.

 

Spencer Matthews’ Clean Liquor Company raises £2m with the help of innovative London lawyers

Spencer Matthews’ Clean Liquor Company raises £2m with the help of innovative London lawyers

London law firm, iLaw, has helped TV star Spencer Matthews to raise £2 million for his brand The Clean Liquor Company through international investment firm Lightspeed Venture Partners and other investors.

Working with the firm, the brand beat 50 other competitors to be selected as Lightspeed’s “global leader in the low- and no-alcohol category”.

Assisting at all stages of the investment deal, iLaw worked with The Clean Liquor Company to make the transaction go smoothly.

The Clean Liquor Company was launched in November last year with its first product Clean Gin, which again was supported by the experienced team at iLaw, who assisted with the various stages of the company’s formation, including the registration of the brand’s trade marks and its manufacturing contracts, to ensure the product was delivered on time.

Speaking about his latest fundraising in a statement from the Clean Liquor Company, Spencer Matthews said: “The Clean Liquor Company was born out of a passion to make no and low alcohol products positive,

“Rather than non-alcoholic, non-flavour, non-fun, we wanted to create something that answered the demand for quality and flavour but without the negative effects of alcohol.”

Clean Gin has sold out twice nationally since its launch and is now stocked at almost 500 Sainsbury’s stores across the country.

The new investment it has secured will go towards its expansion into new regions, including India, Singapore, Australia and the US, as well as its ongoing development of a low alcohol rum.

Justin Ellis, a Partner at iLaw, said: “We are delighted to see that with our help, The Clean Liquor Company has managed to secure this funding through Lightspeed Venture Partners.

“This was a competitive bid that saw the brand face off against many big names in the industry to secure this important funding. With big plans for the future, I am sure Spencer and his team have much success ahead of them. And I look forward to trying the rum!”

The no and low-alcohol industry in the UK is growing rapidly, with the latest industry figures suggesting that the sector is already worth more than £60 million a year.

 

Businesses to gain free legal insights at Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday event

Businesses to gain free legal insights at Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday event

Innovative legal firm, iLaw, has once again been invited to attend Small Business Sunday, or #SBS, as it prepares for its 10th-anniversary event in February.

The London-based practice is a long-time supporter of the annual #SBS show and this year will be extending its help further by opening a free legal clinic, where guests can speak to members of their experienced team.

#SBS was created by Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis in 2010 to recognise up and coming entrepreneurs by sharing their stories online.

Every Monday night at 8pm, Theo selects his favourite six entrepreneurs from posts that used the #SBS hashtag.

These six winners are then re-tweeted to nearly 500,000 followers, giving them a free marketing boost, entry into the #SBS network of like-minded businesses and access to the free annual event.

Now in its 10th year, the show will be held on Friday 28 February 2020 at a secret location in Birmingham known only to SBS winners. It will offer a day of advice, networking and an opportunity for winners to collect a certificate and get a picture with Theo.

Justin Ellis, a Director at iLaw, said: “It is incredible to think that for the last 10 years business up and down the country have been able to benefit from #SBS.

“Theo has worked really hard to create a network, consisting of thousands of innovative businesses, and we are excited that we can play some role in advising them and helping them on their way to success.”

As a provider of legal services to a number of start-ups and established businesses in the tech, media and film sectors, iLaw has proudly sponsored the #SBS campaign since 2013.

Thanking the firm for their support, Theo Paphitis said: “The annual #SBS event is a key date in my calendar, as is a brilliant litmus test to see how the UK’s small businesses are doing.

“Having businesses like iLaw on board as our sponsor means that the #SBS winners get a brilliant day full of advice and networking – and all for free!”

To find out more about Small Business Sunday and the upcoming event, please visit www.theopaphitissbs.com