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COVID-19: what you can do

18 March 2020
Jason Ashton
Read Time 3 mins reading time

With all of the uncertainty at this current time, we know it will take time to sift through the legalities of, and understanding the rights in, your various contracts.

While everyone’s situation will be different, our five top tips for protecting your business are:

1. Monitor the Australian Government Guidelines daily and understand the changing Australian Government requirements as they are issued and how they might impact your business. (Visit health.gov.au) (“legal requirements”).

2. Stay in regular contact with key contracts / clients / suppliers / subcontractors (“key stakeholders”) and report on events and delays as they occur.

This should include a reference to the legal requirements, a brief update on how any changes in the legal requirements are impacting your business, your current status and any action you are taking.

It’s ok to acknowledge that the impacts are ongoing and that you don’t know the full extent of the impacts as yet.

Be aware of the timing requirements and notice requirements for your most important contracts and prioritise issuing notices in accordance with those contract terms, even if you think your claims will be rejected (which is likely to be the standard default position).

3. Confirm all discussions with key stakeholders in writing (preferably) or keep a detailed note especially if you are agreeing a change to any usual arrangements.

Confirmation of who and what was agreed will be particularly important. As time goes on it is going to be hard to recollect what you have agreed or advised each key stakeholder if you don’t have a record.

4. Contracts – the terms can be varied by agreement, there may be threats of termination or they could be frustrated. Some will have exceptions for changes in law and legal requirements.

All of these issues pose risk and opportunity for your business depending on the contract terms. This will take time to sort through in the future and require individual legal advice.

Therefore reiterating point 3, it is vital to keep your documentation in order so you can get the advice when you need it later. If you need immediate or urgent individual advice please contact us.

5. Be proactive and get specialist advice from all of your key advisers such as your insurance broker, financial adviser, employment specialists so you know your full position.

Know what your insurance does and does not cover as soon as possible. Know what your employment options and risks are, and what you can do to minimise impacts on your business. Consider the legal issues regarding “close contact” in your workplace in the context of health and safety obligations. Also consider the need for your employees to travel internationally.

Our Employment, Safety & Migration team can assist to provide specialist advice. Your financial advisor can assist with mitigating the cashflow impact on your business and developing strategies to manage these issues. Consider all options with your finance advisors including what concessions or extensions may be available for the short / immediate term.

Finally, this is an unexpected and uncertain time so expect delays, be patient, flexible and be innovative.

Contact us for any assistance to help you and your business through the COVID-19 pandemic.

stay up to date with our news & insights

COVID-19: what you can do

18 March 2020
Jason Ashton

With all of the uncertainty at this current time, we know it will take time to sift through the legalities of, and understanding the rights in, your various contracts.

While everyone’s situation will be different, our five top tips for protecting your business are:

1. Monitor the Australian Government Guidelines daily and understand the changing Australian Government requirements as they are issued and how they might impact your business. (Visit health.gov.au) (“legal requirements”).

2. Stay in regular contact with key contracts / clients / suppliers / subcontractors (“key stakeholders”) and report on events and delays as they occur.

This should include a reference to the legal requirements, a brief update on how any changes in the legal requirements are impacting your business, your current status and any action you are taking.

It’s ok to acknowledge that the impacts are ongoing and that you don’t know the full extent of the impacts as yet.

Be aware of the timing requirements and notice requirements for your most important contracts and prioritise issuing notices in accordance with those contract terms, even if you think your claims will be rejected (which is likely to be the standard default position).

3. Confirm all discussions with key stakeholders in writing (preferably) or keep a detailed note especially if you are agreeing a change to any usual arrangements.

Confirmation of who and what was agreed will be particularly important. As time goes on it is going to be hard to recollect what you have agreed or advised each key stakeholder if you don’t have a record.

4. Contracts – the terms can be varied by agreement, there may be threats of termination or they could be frustrated. Some will have exceptions for changes in law and legal requirements.

All of these issues pose risk and opportunity for your business depending on the contract terms. This will take time to sort through in the future and require individual legal advice.

Therefore reiterating point 3, it is vital to keep your documentation in order so you can get the advice when you need it later. If you need immediate or urgent individual advice please contact us.

5. Be proactive and get specialist advice from all of your key advisers such as your insurance broker, financial adviser, employment specialists so you know your full position.

Know what your insurance does and does not cover as soon as possible. Know what your employment options and risks are, and what you can do to minimise impacts on your business. Consider the legal issues regarding “close contact” in your workplace in the context of health and safety obligations. Also consider the need for your employees to travel internationally.

Our Employment, Safety & Migration team can assist to provide specialist advice. Your financial advisor can assist with mitigating the cashflow impact on your business and developing strategies to manage these issues. Consider all options with your finance advisors including what concessions or extensions may be available for the short / immediate term.

Finally, this is an unexpected and uncertain time so expect delays, be patient, flexible and be innovative.

Contact us for any assistance to help you and your business through the COVID-19 pandemic.