On 20 May 2020, the UK Government published the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill (“CIGB” or the “Bill”) which proposes several changes aimed at improving the chances of company rescue and better overall returns for creditors. One of the proposed changes is to restrict parties’ ability to exercise contractual termination rights where a company enters into an insolvency or restructuring procedure, meaning that for most suppliers and supply contracts a termination clause will be ineffective upon insolvency. This will align the approach in the UK with that of a number of other jurisdictions.

These clauses can be referred to as “ipso facto” clauses; ipso facto translating to ‘by the very fact’. This extrapolates to situations where a party seeks to terminate a contract by the very fact of insolvency.

Continue Reading Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill – Restrictions Placed on the Exercise of Contractual Termination Provisions

On May 20, 2020, the Chicago City Council passed a new ordinance that bars employers from retaliating against employees who miss work for certain reasons related to COVID-19.  The ordinance, which became effective immediately after passage, imposes potentially significant financial penalties on employers who violate the ordinance.

The ordinance incorporates the definitions contained in the City of Chicago’s Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (Chapter 1-24-010 of the Municipal Code).  The ordinance applies to all employers with a business facility within the city’s boundaries, and generally to any employee who spends at least two hours working within the City limits in any two-week period.

Under the ordinance, employers may not retaliate against employees who:

Continue Reading Chicago Enacts New COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Law

On 20 May 2020, the UK government announced the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill (the “Bill”), introducing a mixture of permanent and temporary measures, the latter being in response to the financial challenges companies are facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. In the absence of extensive consultation with insolvency practitioners and industry experts, it remains to be seen how effective the measures will be in practice.

As anticipated, a new standalone moratorium, overseen by a “monitor”, has been introduced. The provisions largely mirror those put forward during the limited consultation in 2018 – the purpose being to provide a company with the breathing space to explore a rescue or restructuring of the business, which includes the newly introduced restructuring plan. It is not intended that the company has the form of rescue/restructuring in mind at the time the moratorium is applied for and the moratorium is not a gateway to any particular insolvency process. Notably, the moratorium enables the directors to remain in day to day control of the business and enables them to lead discussions regarding rescue and restructuring, albeit we expect that the monitor will provide invaluable knowledge and guidance in crafting the best form of rescue/restructuring. Current timelines indicate that companies may be able to seek this new moratorium as early as the end of June 2020.

Continue Reading Standalone Moratorium for Companies – Changes Introduced by the UK Corporate Insolvency & Governance Bill

The contract disputes now emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic are sure to lead to litigation in both courts and arbitral tribunals involving a wide range of businesses and industries. This litigation will raise novel issues requiring a practical guide on how companies can best position themselves to achieve favorable outcomes in COVID-19 contract disputes.

The key issues relate not only to affirmative defenses and burdens of proof, but also to the nature of relevant evidence, the importance of expert testimony and the major themes of winning strategies.

Continue reading on Law360.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

 

Like a number of states across the country, DC, Maryland, and Virginia (collectively, “the DMV”) have begun to reopen their economies by gradually easing restrictions introduced in late March to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Virginia and Maryland moved to Phase 1 of their respective reopening plans on May 15, 2020, while a number of local jurisdictions in both states and DC opted to delay their Phase 1 transition until May 29. Although the collective DMV has begun reopening, differences among the area’s jurisdictions persist. The easing of restrictions under the DC statewide plan is more limited than Virginia’s or Maryland’s Phase 1 plans, and several Maryland local jurisdictions are leaving in place some of the restrictions that are eased under Phase 1 of the Virginia statewide plan. Businesses with a presence in multiple DMV jurisdictions will need to understand and incorporate these distinctions as they restart operations across the region.

Continue Reading DC, Virginia, and Maryland Reopen Their Economies at Different Speeds, With DC and Several Local Authorities Lagging Behind

On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” to pause issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants who are outside the United States for 60 days.  As reported on this blog, although the proclamation is currently limited to aspiring immigrants who are outside the United States and do not yet have a valid immigrant visa, it has the potential to affect other visa categories. Specifically, the proclamation requires the Secretary of Labor (“DOL”) and the Secretary of Homeland Security (“DHS”), in consultation with the Secretary of State, to review nonimmigrant programs within 30 days and to recommend “other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.”

Continue Reading Suspension of H-1B, L-1 and H-2B Visas Reported To Be Under Consideration by the White House

The UK Government has, in keeping with past practice, used the arrival of the bank holiday weekend to update the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It has now published a second iteration of the Treasury Direction, which we have reviewed.

To read our commentary on the updated Direction, please visit MayerBrown.com.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

Following our recent update on Life in the Time of Corona, Part 3: Handling Collective Consultation in the UK, we have produced a practical checklist that highlights the steps that employers should consider when handling collective consultations in the UK during these challenging times, particularly when staff are working remotely.

To download the checklist, please visit MayerBrown.com.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

Effective May 27, 2020 at midnight Japan time, the Japanese government announced that it is banning entry of foreigners who have visited India, Argentina, South Africa or eight other countries for the past 14 days prior to arriving in Japan.  On May 22, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had placed a Level 3 travel warning level on these 11 countries, urging (but not forbidding) Japanese citizens not to travel to these countries.  There are now a total of 111 countries subject to the entry bans into Japan.

All Japanese citizens (and foreigners excluded from the entry ban) who have visited any of the countries subject to the entry ban will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days and will be subject to PCR testing upon arrival.  The current entry restriction measures with respect to all countries will likely continue to apply through the end of June and may be extended further.  Please refer to the following website (in English) for additional information.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

On May 25, 2020, the Japanese government announced that it is lifting the state of emergency for all of Japan.  Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Hokkaido had still been under a state of emergency.  The Japanese government will continue to monitor the state of COVID-19 in each prefecture every three weeks.

While the national government will announce general guidelines with respect to reopening the economy, each prefecture will establish its own plan for the reopening of businesses, schools and other establishments which were closed or restricted in use during the state of emergency.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.