Topic: Contracts

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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
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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
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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

Control or trust: Legal claim to home office?

Digitization and  technological advances are accelerating the flexibility of working conditions leading to a changed understanding of leadership. A key topic of debate is the “home office” which is currently used by approximately 12 per cent of employees in Germany for all or part of their working time. On this topic, the German government is currently considering a bill requiring companies to comply with a worker’s desire to work from home – based on their assessment that 40 per cent of all employees could realistically work from home and that the majority of employees would be interested in doing so.… Continue Reading

Holidays for Term-Time only workers not subject to pro rata reduction

The law on holiday leave and pay in the UK is continually developing. The Court of Appeal has recently ruled on another holiday entitlement case, holding that permanent employees, who work for only part of the year, are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks and that employers cannot pro-rate their holiday entitlement to reflect the number of weeks actually worked.

The case involved a part-time music teacher who was engaged under a permanent zero-hours contract and was entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday. During the term she had no normal working hours but the employer paid her an agreed … Continue Reading

In its first decision on restrictive covenants in more than a century, the UK Supreme Court upholds a 6-month non-compete covenant adopting the more liberal approach to the rules of severance

In the case of Tillman v Egon Zehnder Ltd [2019] UKSC 32, the Supreme Court has upheld a 6-month non-compete covenant, adopting the more liberal approach to the rules of severance.

The Court ruled that on its proper construction, the covenant was unreasonably wide in that it restrained the employee from holding a minority shareholding in a competing business but held that the offending part of the covenant could be severed so as to make it enforceable.

Legal background

In the UK restrictive covenants are prima facie void as being in restraint of trade unless they go no further than … Continue Reading

Crouch, bind, set: Folau to tackle Rugby Australia in the Federal Court

The termination of Israel Folau’s $4m playing contract has set the scrum for a Federal Court case which is likely to shape the landscape of religious expression and vilification in the employment context.

Background

Folau’s controversial “warning” on Instagram stated that “Hell awaits” those who are “homosexuals … thieves and atheists”, among others, telling them they should ”Repent!” because “only Jesus saves”.

Along with NSW Rugby, Rugby Australia’s (together, Rugby Bodies) initial decision to sack Folau because of a high level breach of the Professional Players Code of Conduct was upheld by a Code of Conduct hearing.  The parties … Continue Reading

What records must an employer keep to record working time?

A recent European Court of Justice decision has held that in order to comply with the provisions of the EU Working Time Directive (No. 2003/88), employers are obliged to set up a system for measuring actual daily working time for individual workers. What impact will this have on UK employers and their obligations to their workers?

The recent case of Federación de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras v Deutsche Bank SAE considered what records an employer was obliged to keep to comply with the Working Time Directive.  Under Spanish legislation, there are no requirements for workers to have records maintained by … Continue Reading

Loi Pacte : Que faut-il en attendre dans les relations employeurs / salariés ?

La loi « Pacte » (Loi relative à la croissance et la transformation des entreprises) a été adoptée en lecture définitive par l’Assemblée Nationale le 11 avril dernier, après de longs mois de débats devant l’Assemblée Nationale et le Sénat.

Elle a fait l’objet d’un recours devant le Conseil Constitutionnel, saisi le 16 avril dernier. Les commentaires ci-dessous sont donc sous réserve de la décision de cette instance.

Le but affiché de cette loi est de donner aux entreprises, notamment les TPE, ETI et PME, les moyens d’innover, de se transformer, de grandir et de créer des emplois. Cependant, cette … Continue Reading

What to expect in 2019

Following a Government-commissioned review of employment working practices in the UK which was published in 2017, a number of developments in employment law reform are expected over the coming months.

The Government published its latest proposals in December, covering a number of areas for change, some intended to improve the enforcement of employment rights, some to increase transparency and clarity of rights between employers and workers (including issues relating to employment status) and others to improve the rights of atypical workers. This post highlights some of the key areas for change.

Employment status

A key area for change is in … Continue Reading

The beginning of a revolution (by the French lower courts) ?

French President Emmanuel Macron implemented a significant reform of the French employment code in late 2017, with the intention of providing employers greater flexibility and predictability in managing labour relations.

One of the most controversial measures was the creation of a grid applicable to the amount of indemnities due to employees for unfair dismissal, setting minima and maxima as a function of the length of service of the employee and the headcount of the employing entity.

Prior to the adoption of the grid, courts were free to determine the amount of damages payable to unfairly dismissed employees based on the … Continue Reading

Employees on Long term sickness – when can an employer dismiss?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently confirmed that employers should take care when dismissing an employee who is entitled to participate in a permanent health insurance (PHI) scheme and is absent from work by reason of long term ill health. It held that there is an implied term that an employer will not dismiss an employee for incapacity if that would prevent the employee being entitled to long term disability benefits.

Where an employee is absent due to ill health then on termination of employment, the employer may face a claim for unfair dismissal and for disability discrimination.   Capability … Continue Reading

Employee rights on bereavement

In the UK, compassionate leave for employees in the event of bereavement has until now been dealt with by way of employment policies. There have been no specific legal rights on bereavement, whether in relation to the death of a family member or anyone else close to the employee. Any rights which they have to leave and/or pay in these circumstances are dependent on what is agreed with their employer, either by way of contractual rights or rights set out in a workplace policy.

However, following a period of consultation, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018, which for … Continue Reading

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