In order to bring things to life, and help you work out how to deal with the people issues that you face as a result of COVID-19, we have produced the following case study with suggested answers. Please note that we have applied the current government guidance (available as at 3 April 2020) alongside already existing employment laws. Where the position is not 100% clear, we have applied a common sense approach and have taken into account the insight that we have gleaned from speaking to over 250 businesses during the course of the last few weeks. We understand that additional guidance is due from the government any day now and so the position may change once that is published.

Getting to know the company

Paper & Stuff Limited’s Head Office is in leafy Wilmslow, Cheshire. It is a family business and was established in 1759 and has 300 employees. It produces and sells fancy notepads, pencil cases, lunch boxes, cool backpacks and stationery aimed at the teenage market, alongside colouring books, stickers, glitter pens and crayons for younger children. It has a series of small retail outlets across the North of England (in Chester, York, Manchester and Leeds), a factory in Stoke where it manufactures all the products, and it also supplies supermarkets in the Midlands and down South (in Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Oxford, Cheltenham and Kent).

All of its retail units have been forced to close following recent government instructions. As the schools have closed (and probably won’t re-open properly until September now), the demand for the teenage products has decreased massively and is unlikely to pick up anytime soon. However, it has seen an increase in demand for the products aimed at younger children (probably because parents are trying to find something to keep them occupied at home whilst they are working) which are largely sold in the supermarkets. As a result, it needs the factory to keep running but on limited capacity. It has calculated that it only needs 25% of the people in the Head Office and 50% of its people in the factory. From a financial perspective, revenue was down 76% in March.

Meet its key workers


The company has been severely affected by the Coronavirus. Tessa and her management team are desperately trying to save the business. It would be sad to see it collapse after so many years

This case study is not intended to be legal advice and should not be relied on as such. If you would like advice on your specific situation, please get in touch with one of the Knights Employment team.