Emergency Legislation for Coronavirus
- AuthorJames Hodgson
The Government has recently passed all stages of its emergency bill through the House of Commons. The bill has cleared the House of Lords, and is expected to become law later today. The bill provides the Government with wide-ranging powers to be used if and when necessary. Among the key points of the new legislation are:
Business closures and restrictions on events
The new legislation gives the Government the power to restrict events and shut down business premises. In addition, if ministers decide an event or venue poses a threat to public health, the owner or organiser can be forced to cancel, close or restrict access, with fines a possible outcome for anyone not complying.
The Government is also using secondary legislation to enforce social distancing rules; this allows ministers to enforce the new rules without waiting for the full bill to pass.
The new legislation allows employers to reclaim statutory sick pay funds from HMRC to help with the burden of increased staff absence. Employees can receive the payments from the day they stop working.
When will the legislation come in to force?
It is expected that the new bill will become law by Thursday 26 March 2020.