Topic: Contracts

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Germany: Exclusion clauses put to the test

Regularly agreed in employment contracts, exclusion clauses shorten the statutory limitation period for claims arising in the employment relationship and ensure certainty between employer and employee especially with regards to claims that are years old. In a remarkable decision the German Federal Labour Court (BAG, 26.11.2020 – ref. 8 AZR 58/20) has fundamentally changed the case law with regard to the drafting of these clauses. A large number of the exclusion clauses used in practice are now likely to be ineffective.… Continue Reading

Is the failure to enhance shared parental leave pay discriminatory when adoption leave pay is enhanced?

In the case of Price v Powys County Council, the Employment Appeal Tribunal have upheld the tribunal’s decision that there is no sex discrimination where an employer pays a man on shared parental leave less than a woman on adoption leave.

In the UK, Shared Parental Leave (SPL) provides flexibility for parents to take leave to care for their child. Eligible parents can take up to 50 weeks  SPL in the first year after the birth of their child, or in the first year after their child’s placement for adoption, with up to 37 weeks of Shared Parental Pay … Continue Reading

The National Minimum Wage and care workers who sleep in: Supreme Court decision

The Supreme Court handed down its decision in the joined cases of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake and Shannon v Rampersad and another (T/A Clifton House Residential Home) which concern an employee’s right to the national minimum wage for periods of time when they are required to remain at home on their shift and/or residential care workers who ‘sleep in’ but they are not actually performing some specific activity. The Supreme Court dismissed the two appeals, which will be welcomed by employers in the care sector, providing them with more certainty. In doing so the judges also reviewed previous cases … Continue Reading

Employment Appeal Tribunal rules on carry over of holiday pay.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has handed down its judgement looking at a workers right to claim holiday pay.

The claimant, Mr. Smith, worked for the respondent, Pimlico Plumbers between 2005 and 2011, and was considered throughout the six year period to be self-employed independent contractor. As such, he had no entitlement to paid annual leave, although he took periods of unpaid leave. In 2011, the claimant alleged that the respondent had fundamentally breached the contract and so terminated the contract, claiming for, amongst other things, holiday pay. The initial hearing considered the claimants status, and, having been held by … Continue Reading

Supreme Court decision in Uber v Aslam

The Supreme Court has today handed down its decision in Uber BV and others v Aslam and others, upholding the Employment Tribunal decision that the drivers are ‘workers’ within the meaning of S.230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) and the equivalent definitions in the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 (NMWA 1998) and the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR 1998).

There are three levels of employment status in the UK: self-employed, worker and employee. Self-employed individuals are not entitled to the same employment protections as workers and employees, and so, for example, are not entitled to protection … Continue Reading

L’accord national interprofessionnel du 26 novembre 2020 : « soft law » à la française

Le télétravail s’est largement développé en France au fil des années, et naturellement, ce mode de travail a été particulièrement utilisé, bon gré mal gré, par les entreprises au cours de l’année 2020, à la faveur de la crise sanitaire, et des recommandations (plus ou moins liantes) du Gouvernement.

Les bases du télétravail ont été posées par un accord national interprofessionnel signé par les partenaires sociaux en 2005 (étendu en 2006), dont certaines dispositions ont été transposées par une loi du 22 mars 2012 dans le Code du travail. Ces règles ont eu pour objet de créer un véritable statut … Continue Reading

Government consultation on reform of post-termination non-compete clauses in employment

On 4 December 2020, the UK Government launched a consultation on reforming post-termination non-compete clauses in employment contracts. The consultation seeks views on proposals to require employers to pay employees for the period of the restriction; requiring employers to provide additional transparency by providing in writing the exact terms of the non-compete clause before their employment commence; introducing a statutory limit on the length of non-compete clauses; or, alternatively prohibiting the use of such clauses altogether.

Post termination restrictions or restrictive covenants are often included in employment contracts. Non-compete clauses are one type of restriction, which limits an employee’s ability … Continue Reading

The Financial compensation for a non-compete provision can be invalid if too high says the French Supreme Court!

In France, the rules governing post-termination, non-compete and/or non-solicitation clauses in employment contracts have been established through case law. Restrictive covenants in an employment contract are only considered enforceable by French courts if they meet the following criteria (which are cumulative) :

– They do not extend beyond what is reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate interest of the employer;

– they are limited in terms of activity, geographical area and duration and the extent of the restrictions should be adapted appropriately to reflect the specific employee’s status and duties;

– they comply with any applicable sector-wide collective bargaining agreement; … Continue Reading

Transfer of undertaking to multiple transferees

In a recent case, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has considered what happens to the employment contract of a transferring worker where there is a transfer of an undertaking to multiple transferees. The ECJ held that the contract should be split in proportion to the tasks performed by the worker of the time devoted to those tasks. However, if the division of the contract is impossible or results in a deterioration in the working conditions and rights of the worker, the contract may be terminated.

The case involved an employee of ISS Facility Services in Ghent. ISS was responsible … Continue Reading

Professional Cyclist held not to be an employee or a worker

The EAT has held that an employment tribunal was entitled to conclude that a professional cyclist was not an employee or a worker of the British Cycling Federation. In Varnish v British Cycling Federation (t/a British Cycling) the claimant had commenced proceedings before an employment tribunal claiming, amongst others, unfair dismissal and discrimination.  The preliminary consideration for the employment tribunal was whether the claimant was an employee or a worker within the meaning of s230 Employment Rights Act 1996.

The claimant had entered into a series of written “Athlete Agreements” with British Cycling (the respondent), the last of which was … Continue Reading

EU rules on worker status

The ECJ has ruled on the definition of worker status under the EU Working Time Directive in the case of B v Yodel Delivery Network Ltd – is this good news for businesses? Time will tell.

Background

The Working Time Regulations (1998) (WTR) transposes the EU Working Time Directive (WTD). Regulation 2 of the WTR, provides that  a ‘worker’ means an individual who enters into or works under a contract of employment or any other contract, whether oral or in writing or express or implied, whereby the individual undertakes to perform personally any work or services for another party. The … Continue Reading

COVID-19 / Germany: Admissible measures and co-determination rights

The rapid spread of COVID-19 within Europe and the beginning of the pandemic have led many of our clients to consider how employees and, if necessary, customers can be protected against any further spread of the infection and which employment law related measures should they be taking. We have summarised and answered the main questions in a table below. This table is intended as guide for questions arising at short notice and represents the current legal opinion of our colleagues working in the field of German employment law.

Please note, however, that the current legal assessments, in particular with regard … Continue Reading

UK: An employer’s duty to its employees in the context of Coronavirus

The World Health Organisation has declared that the Coronavirus is a public health emergency of international concern and the first reported cases have appeared in the UK. What steps should employers be taking in relation to their employees?

Travel to affected areas

Employers owe a duty of care to their employees to take reasonable steps to protect their health and safety and to provide a safe place and system of work. Employers should therefore not insist that an employee travels to an area affected by the virus for work related purposes.  Government advice should be followed, particularly for those UK … Continue Reading

UK set to introduce ‘world first’ right to two weeks’ parental bereavement leave

The UK Government has announced that a new right to two weeks’ parental bereavement will come into force from 6 April 2020.

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations (which have been laid before Parliament and are awaiting final approval) implement a statutory right to a minimum of two weeks unpaid leave for all employed parents following the loss of a child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of their length of service.

Parents will be able to take bereavement leave at any time within a period of 56 weeks after the … Continue Reading

Skilled Worker Immigration Act

On 1 March 2020, the Skilled Worker Immigration Act  will come into force. The law completely opens up the German labour market to skilled workers from countries outside the European Union. In addition to the measures set out in our blog the German legislator has included further measures including an accelerated administrative procedure and more efficient recognition procedures.

  • Accelerated procedures: The employer is able to reduce the official processing time by initiating the procedure himself following an agreement with the competent immigration authority. As soon as all necessary documents are available and the authority consents to entry, the skilled worker
Continue Reading

Upcoming Employment Law Changes in 2020

As we start the new year with a new Government in the UK, we consider the important employment law changes that will, or may, come into effect in 2020.

New right to a written statement of terms

Currently, employees who have been continuously employed for more than one month must be provided with a written statement of terms within two months of employment commencing. From 6 April 2020, this right is being extended to include workers as well as employees. In addition, the right to the written statement will be a day one right, meaning that workers will be entitled … Continue Reading

De nouvelles obligations pour les plateformes de mise en relation

Les plateformes de mise en relation (comme Uber ou Deliveroo), qui sont de plus en plus utilisées en France, font pourtant l’objet de nombreuses critiques, principalement fondées sur les conditions de travail des travailleurs indépendants qu’elles utilisent dans le cadre de leur activité.

Le Gouvernement français s’est donné pour mission d’encadrer l’activité de ces plateformes, en particulier en ce qui concerne leur responsabilité vis-à-vis de ces travailleurs indépendants.

La loi Travail du 8 août 2016 a créé, au sein du Code du travail, une partie dédiée aux travailleurs utilisant ces plateformes, et a mis à la charge des plateformes une … Continue Reading

France: Le harcèlement sexuel susceptible d’être exclu en cas d’attitude ambigüe de la victime

Le harcèlement sexuel est défini, dans le Code du travail, par « des propos ou comportements à connotation sexuelle répétés qui soit portent atteinte à [la] dignité [du salarié] en raison de leur caractère dégradant ou humiliant, soit créent à son encontre une situation intimidante, hostile ou offensante ».

Le Code du travail prévoit également une assimilation aux faits constitutifs de harcèlement pour « toute forme de pression grave, même non répétée, exercée dans le but réel ou apparent d’obtenir un acte de nature sexuelle, que celui-ci soit recherché au profit de l’auteur des faits ou au profit d’un Continue Reading

France: Provocative acts do not necessarily fall within the scope of sexual harassment if the victim’s behaviour is ambiguous

The French employment Code defines sexual harassment as “repeated sexual comments or conduct that either violate the [employee’s] dignity because of their degrading or humiliating nature or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation against the employee“.

The French employment Code also assimilates to sexual harassment “any form of serious pressure, even non-repeated, exercised for the real or apparent purpose of obtaining an act of a sexual nature, whether it is sought for the benefit of the perpetrator or for the benefit of a third party“.

However, on 25 September 2019, the French Supreme Court (Cour … Continue Reading

La perte de contrôle d’un camion par un salarié n’exclut pas la faute de l’employeur

Dans le cadre de leurs missions, les salariés doivent respecter l’ensemble des règles (notamment de sécurité) applicables. En particulier, les chauffeurs routiers sont astreints au respect du Code de la Route.

Mais l’employeur est également responsable de la sécurité de ses salariés et, si l’obligation de sécurité n’est désormais plus une obligation de résultat, il n’en demeure pas moins que la responsabilité de l’employeur peut être engagée au titre de l’obligation de sécurité lorsque celui-ci a manqué à ses obligations à ce titre.

Dans le cadre de cette affaire, le salarié, chauffeur d’un poids lourd, avait perdu le contrôle de … Continue Reading

France: The complex consequences of the occurrence of gross misconduct during the notice period

The general rule under French law is that when employment contracts are terminated, employees are entitled to a prior notice period, the length of which depends on the status of the employee (executive or non-executive), their length of service, and in some cases their age.

The applicable rules are generally set by the sector-wide collective bargaining agreement (a large majority of employers in France are subject to such collective bargaining agreements).

Employees may either be asked to work during their notice period, or be released from working during it. In the latter case, they are entitled to receive their full … Continue Reading

New EU rules for protection of whistleblowers

On 7 October 2019, the EU Council formally adopted the new Whistleblowing Directive that will guarantee whistleblowers EU-wide standards of protection. The Directive obliges both public and private organisations and authorities to set up secure reporting channels, so that whistleblowers can report violations of EU law as safely as possible. Member States have two years to transpose the rules into national law.

The main elements of the new legislation are:

  • Companies with more than 50 employees and national and regional administrations and local municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants will be obliged to set up secure reporting channels. They will
Continue Reading

What are an employer’s chances of overcoming an employee’s claim for overtime in France ?

The basic working time arrangement in France is 35 hours per week, and although there are a number of alternative working time arrangements potentially available, this is still the one that applies to the majority of French employees. However, this is not a maximum working week – employees working beyond that amount are entitled to overtime.

Employers must be able to prove the actual number of hours worked by their employees and must therefore ensure such hours are properly recorded. In the absence of proper records, the employer may have difficulties in overcoming a claim for overtime payments made by … Continue Reading

Facilitating HR Management: Electronic medical certificates

As part of the “Third Bureaucracy Relief Act” the German government intends to introduce an electronic submission procedure for medical certificates regarding the incapacity of employees. More than 80 million of such certificates are issued every year by doctors in Germany. Replacing extensive documentation and record-keeping duties will allow medium-sized companies in particular to reduce existing manual processing workloads.

According to current German law an employee must submit a medical certificate of incapacity to the employer at the latest by the fourth day of absence due to illness. In the future, employers will be able to retrieve electronic certificates directly … Continue Reading

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