Employment law and Covid: Over half of UK workers want to change career path following the pandemic.
As the world of work opens up again and lockdown restrictions lift, many people are considering a change of occupation.
The break in normality caused by Covid-19 gave many workers the chance to consider their direction in life and ask themselves if they are on the right path.
According to a study entitled How we live conducted by insurance and investment company Aviva, 60 per cent of those questioned are intending to make a career change as a result of the pandemic. This is an increase of 7 percentage points on the July 2020 figure of 53 per cent.
The study also found that under-25s are the most likely to be considering a different career, with 87 per cent of them wanting a change.
Nearly 700,000 additional workers plan to move to a role where they can help others.
For one-fifth of those questioned, they hope to generate an income stream from a hobby they have.
There is also a desire for some to continue working from home as well as ambition for 7 per cent of respondents to set up their own business.
We offer our best tips for making #TheBigShift to a new job or for starting an enterprise of your own.
If you are thinking of resigning it is important to follow the procedure set out in your employment contract or employee handbook. This generally requires notice to be given verbally or in writing stating that you are going to leave your position. You will then be required to work out your notice period before you depart.
Your employer may offer you a settlement agreement if they would like you to leave earlier or if there is a legal dispute between you. You are required by law to take legal advice before signing a settlement agreement as it is a waiver of your rights.
Taking on a new role
When you find a new position, you should ensure that the employment contract you sign gives you all of the rights and benefits that you are expecting. While it may not seem important initially, further down the line you may end up wishing you had insisted on better terms before agreeing.
You should also check that you understand and agree to any restrictive clauses that it may contain. For example, a clause that prevents you from working for a similar business in the area after you leave, which you could ultimately find too restrictive.
If the contract contains a clause that you are not happy with, you should raise it with your new employer and see if they will negotiate it to something that is acceptable to you.
Setting up your own business
If you want to set up your own business, a sound business plan and a solid legal foundation are fundamentally important. The pandemic has given businesses new hurdles to jump over but has also helped many become more innovative and flexible in their approach.
You cannot assume that restrictions are at an end, particularly if your business will be relying on any overseas input, so you will have to factor in the likelihood of difficulties arising at some stage when you put your plan together.
Whether you will be starting a company or creating a partnership, a sound legal footing is vital to avoid problems in the future. While you may get on well with your fellow directors or partners now, as situations change and your business grows, priorities may change and you may want to follow different paths.
A sound shareholders’ agreement or partnership agreement will attempt to address all eventualities so that those involved know exactly what they have agreed to and what rights they have.
Issues such as major decision making and how a director or partner can leave will be addressed and the agreement should also contain robust dispute resolution clauses detailing the process to be gone through should a disagreement arise.
This can go a long way to avoiding difficulties, as those involved have a clear idea of what they can and can’t do.
Taking on employees
If you will be taking on members of staff, you will need to ensure you have a comprehensive employment contract in place as well as an employee handbook that clearly sets out the rights and responsibilities that you and your employees have towards each other.
To ensure that your position as an employer has a solid legal basis and that you have robust documentation in place that you can rely on in the future, should the need arise, you should take the time to ensure that you have covered as many eventualities as possible.
For most businesses, taking on commercial premises is the biggest financial commitment they will make. A commercial lease can be exceptionally onerous, however, it is essential to examine every clause in detail before signing.
You cannot simply hand back the keys and walk away when you have finished using a commercial property and if you do not negotiate the right deal for you, you could end up paying for an expensive property for months or years after you wish to leave.
You will also be required to hand the property back in a good state of repair, which could be problematic if it was not in a good state of repair when you took it on. For this reason, you may need to obtain a surveyor’s report before you sign the lease and ensure that clauses are included specifying that you do not need to deal with condition issues that were already in existence at the time the lease commenced.
It is always recommended that you seek legal advice before signing a commercial lease to ensure you fully understand the liability that you are taking on and that your rights and interests are protected as far as possible.
For more information about starting your own enterprise, see Launching a new business in the UK: what do I need to know before I get started?
Facing a new future, post-Covid-19
For those looking to take on a new challenge now that restrictions are lifting, exciting times lie ahead.
While the past year has undoubtedly been difficult, using it as a catalyst to make the change to a new career or business opportunity could mean for many that something positive has come out of a dark time.
Get in touch with us
At Lincoln & Rowe, we understand the importance of helping our clients keep their businesses running smoothly. We have extensive experience in dealing with contract difficulties across a range of sectors.
We can also work with you to put the right contract documentation in place for future transactions to ensure that your business has a solid legal foundation. We were named as the ‘Commercial Disputes Specialists of the Year’ in the Corporate Livewire Innovation & Excellent Awards 2020 as well as ‘Boutique Litigation Law Firm of the Year’ in both the 2019 and 2020 Global Awards by ACQ5. Partner, Dipesh Dosani, was named Commercial Litigation Lawyer of the Year in 2019 and 2020 in the ACQ5 Law Awards.
If you would like to talk to one of our expert legal team about a contract dispute, call us on 020 3968 6030, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form and we’ll be happy to help.
The above information is for general guidance on your rights and responsibilities and is not legal advice. If you need more details on your rights or legal advice about what action to take, please contact a legal advisor.