As the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to evolve, businesses are changing the way they operate and tailoring their services to respond to new regulations and challenges. Below, we’ve compiled insights, advice and useful links from members of our trusted legal network which will assist your business to navigate these challenges and counter the disruption.

Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on COVID-19 legal ramifications and is current at the time of publication. We will endeavour to update this information as the situation evolves but are not responsible for inaccuracies in this regard. In addition, any legal advice expressed is that of our trusted associates and not of William Buck. .

Ash St. Legal & Advisory | Insights and information for businesses impacted by COVID-19 Coronavirus

Key Q&As for impacted businesses: As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, businesses need to quickly adapt their work practices and introduce new risk management measures. Employers and employees have a range of questions associated with their leave and other entitlements. We cover the most common questions being asked right now.

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The importance of establishing a due diligence defence during a pandemic: Samantha Carroll, Practice Director for Governance, Compliance and Regulations provides her views on how (and why) to protect your organisation against liability and reputation risk arising from exposure to COVID-19 outbreaks.

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Where has your data been smeared? With working from home being the new norm so is a rise in cybercrime. Check out the top 5 security tips to help protect your business.

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COVID-19 | Your Regulatory Roadmap (14 April to 27 April): What you need to know about the changing regulatory environments from peak regulatory bodies and the government.

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Virtual Witnessing of Documents: From 22 April 2020, the requirement for witnesses to the signing of documents to be physically present is no longer required. Access the full list of documents that this applies to and practical tips for the virtual witnessing of documents here

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Coleman Greig | Access useful information and latest news about commercial, employment and family law issues

Changes to Australian insolvency laws: Businesses now have a safety net to enable them to continue trading and manage their cash flow during the current period of uncertainty as opposed to facing insolvency and mandatory closure. The amendments and measures are only temporary and will be in force for six (6) months, however, if the COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, then the time frame may be extended.

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Accounting implications of COVID-19: A glance at some of the accounting and reporting effects of COVID-19 on businesses. Find out details of whether coronavirus an adjusting or non-adjusting event and whether you need to adjust your financial statements.

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Is COVID-19 impacting your Building & Construction business? “Take these steps to identify areas in contracts involving different parties, that can expose you to the detrimental effects of COVID-19.”

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500M Housing Stimulus Package reportedly being considered by the NSW Government: With COVID-19 resulting in a call for more affordable and social housing, the NSW Government is considering a $500 million property spending spree.

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HWL Ebsworth Lawyers | Latest updates and impacts of COVID-19 on Government and commercial clients

Are you facing the hard decision on whether you need to stand down your employees? Read your rights and alternatives to standing down here.

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Franchising news – what affect does COVID-19 have on your franchising business? Businesses are having to make quick and sometimes uncomfortable decisions in order to sustain themselves into the foreseeable future.”

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Global Pandemics and snake oil salesmen in a digital world: With an increase in online exploitation, Australia’s regulators are responding to bringing these threats to the public attention and seeking to prevent them wherever possible.

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ASC measures to assist with capital raisings during Covid-19: Take a read on the new measures that have been introduced by the ASX to facilitate listed entities raising capital in response to COVID-19.

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Electronic execution, virtual meetings and the corporations act: A legislative instrument has been introduced to provide temporary changes to the Corporations Act 2001 in response to COVID-19 – what you need to know and the gaps in the framework that you need to be aware of.

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COVID-19 and consumer law – How businesses can manage their obligations and exercise their rights: Government restrictions imposed in light of COVID-19 have left many businesses dealing with the fall-out from cancelled events, suspended services and delays in the supply of product and services. As a result, businesses are now facing consumers requesting refunds.

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Super Alert: Latest Government announcement in relation to the retirement income covenant and APRA’s latest quarterly superannuation statistics.

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McPherson Kelley | Latest industry and technical news

Blanket restrictions on all foreign investment amid COVID-19: Effective 29 March 2020 the government announced temporary changes on all proposed foreign investments into Australia. This means FIRB approval will be required on all proposed foreign investments irrespective of the value or nature of the investor or asset. This temporary change will see the monetary screening threshold reduced to $0.

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IP considerations when you want to pivot production to fill COVID-19 shortages: With severe strains on the production and supply of key products in the medical, hygiene and protective equipment fields, a number of companies have pivoted their production facilities to help meet that shortfall. Louis Vuitton is repurposing its perfume production lines to make hand sanitiser in France, iPhone manufacturer Foxconn making surgical masks in China or car manufacturers making ventilators. Unsurprisingly, there are a range of intellectual property implications for this change in production.

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What to consider when adapting your business model: Many businesses have looked at taking their services online such as gyms now providing online fitness classes, restaurants and cafes moving to home delivery of meals, and even adjusting the business model to meet a new manufacturing or service need. While businesses evaluate how to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative to consider the legal consequences.

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A checklist to guide franchisors through COVID-19: “Have a ‘check-in’ with your business to ensure you’re readjusting to weather the impact of COVID-19.”

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Code of conduct for negotiating commercial leases during COVID-19 released: “Are you a landlord or tenant? Take a read of the mandatory Code of Conduct (Code) and how the leasing principles will affect you in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Covid-19 Faqs | What your business needs to know: The latest thinking and advice regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and what it means for you.

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ASIC position on holding AGMs during Covid-19: ASIC’s response in relation to enforcing the time period in which AGMs are required to be held and guidance on technological resources to assist companies in dealing with COVID-19 restrictions

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Retail and Commercial lease regulations around Covid-19 take effect in NSW: Check out the latest updates on retail and commercial lease regulations in response to COVID-19.

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A checklist to guide franchisees through COVID-19: Franchises, like all other businesses across Australia, are rapidly adjusting to weather the impact of COVID-19. This checklist contains areas that need to be considered to move forward.

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McCabe Curwood | Stay up-to-date with interesting perspectives and latest news

Force majeure interpretation and drafting tips: The coronavirus has placed unprecedented pressures on businesses with respect to their ability to continue to perform their contractual obligations. Practical tips to help assess whether a force majeure clause in your existing contracts may cover the coronavirus, and things to look out for in such clauses in future contracts that you or your business are considering entering into.

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How your business can navigate cybersecurity in a work from home environment: In light of these increased risks, business need strategies in place to mitigate cybersecurity threats. Ensure you have the best Response Plan and a robust ICT governance framework.

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ASIC announces a delay to regulatory activities due to COVID-19 – but big questions remain. “Find out what ASIC’s ‘issues of immediate concern’ detail and will your industry be covered?”

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COVID-19: Navigating business insurance issues: Practical issues faced by business insurance and guided steps for insurers and insureds to help prepare themselves for the continuing changes as a result of COVID-19.

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Fair Work Commission – two applications to reduce redundancy pay: Find out what the two contrasting decisions by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in reducing the amount of redundancy pay due to incapacity to pay entails.

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Does your project qualify for accelerated assessment? Does your project qualify for accelerated assessment? Take a read of the priority project criteria issued by the NSW Government.

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Understanding the new Residential Tenancies Amendment (COVID-19) Regulations: Mandatory rental negotiation conditions and increase in minimum termination notice periods are just the key pointers of the new Residential Tenancies Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation.

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NSW Government buys time on development – Lapsing periods, existing use abandonment and appeal rights extended in response to COVID-19: With the NSW Government passing the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment, both development proponents and consent authorities will be significantly impacted.

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Sparke Helmore | Insights on the latest measures impacting individuals and businesses

Construction projects and delays: The likelihood of an industry-wide lockdown of construction sites is increasing. Depending on the terms of contracts, contractors and subcontractors may be potentially exposed to breach allegations for failing to progress works and to claims for delay damages, whether liquidated or general in nature.

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COVID-19 impact on contracts and leases: Landlords need to understand the terms of their leases to know how to respond to impacts from the coronavirus. Normally a tenant can’t withhold rent because it is experiencing financial difficulty, however as of 29 March 2020, the State Governments will have the power to make regulations relating to retail and residential tenancies.

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National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME commercial leasing principles during COVID-19: Key issues you need to know on how the Code is intended to operate and how that will affect you.

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NSW building, construction and significant infrastructure working days’ restrictions relaxed due to COVID-19: Is ‘Sunday’ the new ‘Monday’ for construction workers? With the new orders in place, building and construction now have new seven working day weeks.

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Are blue skies ahead for M&A deal-making in Australia? The current crisis has caused havoc, however, it has also seen many companies go from strength to strength. Pivoting has enabled companies to thrive and M&A deals are expected to pick up with the opportunities expected post market mayhem.

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Workplace COVID-19 weekly wrap-up 1 May 2020: What a return to work will look like as restrictions are eased in conjunction to the 10 National Cabinet Workplace Principles.

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Have any questions on COVID-19 and your business? Contact us today.