Topic: Europe

Subscribe to Europe RSS feed

UK: The end of the Brexit implementation period – implications for pensions

At 11pm on December 31, 2020, the Brexit implementation period ended and the last-minute trade deal agreed by UK and EU negotiators took effect through the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).  What does this mean for UK pensions and what steps should employers and trustees be taking?

What is the impact on UK pensions law?

UK pensions law remains basically unchanged following the end of the implementation period and the TCA coming into force.  It is not expected to change significantly in the short term.

For example, any trustees or employers hoping this may spell the end to the … Continue Reading

The EU- UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement – implications for employment and immigration

On 31 December the UK parliament implemented the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020. This makes provision to implement into UK law the three main future relationship agreements with the EU including the EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). What does the TCA mean for employment and immigration law?

Employment

A significant portion of UK employment law is derived from and grounded in EU law. Under the EU Withdrawal Agreement all EU employment legislation which had effect on 31 December 2020 is adopted into UK law and so workers’ rights which existed prior to the end of the implementation period … 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

Can French employers require their employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Further to the approval by EU authorities of the vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, and further to the recommendations of the French Health authorities on the vaccination programme, the French vaccine campaign against Covid-19 was launched yesterday, at the same time as in all EU countries.

In France, the Government established a specific strategy regarding the vaccine campaign. This includes targeting the most vulnerable and exposed persons first, and progressively extending the Covid-19 vaccine to the rest of the population.

French employers are now asking whether they can insist that employees are vaccinated before returning to the workplace. However, … Continue Reading

Rupture conventionnelle : les pièges à éviter

La rupture conventionnelle a connu un grand succès tout au long de ces dernières années.

Il est vrai qu’elle allie facilité d’utilisation tout en assurant une sécurité juridique et financière au salarié qui souhaite quitter son emploi.

La rupture conventionnelle consiste en une rupture amiable du contrat entre le salarié et son employeur tout en permettant au salarié de bénéficier d’une indemnité de départ et de l’assurance chômage.

La procédure est relativement simple. Il convient d’organiser un ou plusieurs entretiens de négociation entre l’employeur et le salarié, de compléter et signer le formulaire fourni par l’administration, d’envoyer le formulaire à … 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

Can employers require their employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine?

With the announcement that one of the Covid-19 vaccines has received approval from the UK regulator, employers are now asking whether they can insist that employees are vaccinated before returning to the workplace. There are clearly legal and moral issues that need to be considered.

Firstly, the anticipated Covid-19 vaccination programme in the UK will not be made mandatory as the UK government does not have legal power to do this, alongside the challenges and human rights concerns this would raise in any event. The UK Government has the power to prevent, control or mitigate the spread of an infection … Continue Reading

Transfert partiel d’entreprise : les errements de la Cour de cassation

Dans une décision du 30 septembre 2020, la Cour de cassation revient une nouvelle fois sur le sort des salariés transférés dans le cadre d’un transfert partiel d’entreprise.

Lorsqu’une partie de l’activité d’une entreprise est transférée à un repreneur, il convient de vérifier si les salariés transfèrent également à ce repreneur. Aux termes de l’article L1224-1 du Code du travail, le contrat de travail des salariés attachés à cette activité est automatiquement transféré au repreneur si une entité économique autonome est transférée.

L’entité économique autonome est définie par une jurisprudence constante comme un ensemble organisé de personnes et d’éléments corporels … Continue Reading

UK Pensions: Pensions Regulator calls on trustees to pledge to stop scammers

Last week, the Pensions Regulator (TPR) launched a new initiative that asks pension scheme trustees, administrators, advisers and providers to publicly pledge that they are taking appropriate action to protect their scheme members from scammers. The pledge is aimed to encourage better understanding of the warning signs of a scam, and to improve internal processes that could protect members.

UK Pensions

Pension scams have been an increasing problem in recent years, with members targeted either to transfer their defined benefit pension pots in to a fraudulent scheme, or to a legitimate scheme but encouraged to invest in high-risk or unregulated investment options. … Continue Reading

Guidance published on the Extension of the UK Furlough Scheme

Further to our blog post on 5 November, when the UK Government announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will remain open until 31 March 2021, the Government has now published detailed guidance on the extension of the scheme. The guidance is comprised of a number of different documents covering such matters as which employees can be claimed for and how to calculate the claim under the scheme.

The main points to note from the guidance are as follows:

  • For the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 the Government will pay 80% of wages for hours not
Continue Reading

UK Job Retention Scheme extended until 31 March 2021

Further to our post about the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Chancellor announced on 5 November that the CJRS (also known as the furlough scheme) will remain open until 31 March 2021. The Government also published a policy paper setting out further details of the CJRS, confirming that the scheme rules will remain the same except where indicated otherwise.

The main points to note are that:

  • For claim periods running to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The £2,500 cap
Continue Reading

Sick leave under German employment law: Termination, medical certificates by phone and latest topics

Termination in case of the threat of taking sick leave

Employees who respond to an instruction by their employer with the threat of taking sick leave can be dismissed without notice. It is irrelevant whether the employee actually falls ill later or whether the instruction by the employer was unlawful. In a recent decision, the Higher Labor Court Rhineland-Palatinate (LAG Rhineland-Palatinate, 21.7.2020 – 8 Sa 430/19) has once again confirmed the previous ruling of the Federal Labour Court.… Continue Reading

Furlough Scheme extended and the Job Support Scheme postponed

On 31 October 2020, the UK Government announced a the new national lockdown due to begin on Thursday 5 November. On the same day, the Government announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was due to come to an end on that day, would be extended to continue during the period of lockdown. The Job Support Scheme (JSS), which was due to come into effect on 1 November as a replacement scheme, has now been postponed until the CJRS ends.

The level of support available under the CJRS during November mirrors that which was available under the CJRS … Continue Reading

Chancellor announces amendments to the UK Job Support Scheme

As we announced in our blog post here on 24 September the UK Chancellor outlined additional government support to help businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19, which would come into force once the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends on 31 October 2020. However, with further restrictions being placed on businesses and the introduction of a three tier lockdown, the Government announced on 22 October that the level of support to be provided under the Job Support Scheme (JSS) would be increased.

The JSS relating to businesses that can remain open has been renamed the Job Support Scheme Open (JSS … Continue Reading

Job Support Scheme – Expansion for Closed Business Premises

In our previous blog post here  we told you about the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which is due to come into force on 1 November, and will provide support to employers where employees work reduced working hours. On 9 October, the Government announced an extension of the JSS to provide temporary support to businesses whose premises are legally required to close as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions set out by one or more of the four governments of the UK. The purpose of this expansion is to help businesses through that temporary closure, by supporting the wage costs of … Continue Reading

UK Migrants stranded abroad due to COVID-19. – will their ability to settle in the UK or apply for further leave to remain be impacted?

The effects of the global pandemic are far reaching; few have been unaffected by measures and restrictions introduced in response to the spread of COVID-19. As borders have closed and visa processing services have been suspended, those living and working outside their home jurisdictions have, and continue to face, uncertain times.

Some migrants made the decision to return to their home jurisdictions as the reality of long term border restrictions unravelled, worried they would be unable to see family for unknown periods of time. As this coincided with widespread working from home, many employers permitted their employees to continue to … Continue Reading

Remote control: Can eSigning improve your pension scheme governance?

Having first embraced eSignatures to solve the problem of signing documents during lockdown, I can now see a more general application. Using eSignatures can massively speed up the process of having an idea, approving it and crucially, getting the relevant decision makers the documents to implement. My observations below.

The challenges of signing pension deeds

We are all used to executing legal documents physically. Paper engrossments are printed and bound, everyone sits around a table and the authorised persons sign on the dotted line. The lawyers then take the signed documents and create certified copies for everyone. This is tried … Continue Reading

Will intra country commuting continue post Brexit? UK Government issues new guidance on frontier workers.

A frontier worker is an EU, EEA or Swiss national, who is economically active in the UK (through employment or self-employment) but resides outside the UK. Under the EEA right of freedom of movement, such nationals are currently free to travel and work in all EEA countries.

However as freedom of movement comes to an end, the UK Government is introducing a Frontier Worker Permit, due to be launched later this year. Those individuals who hold ‘frontier worker status’ by 31 December 2020 will be able to maintain this status, providing they apply for a Frontier Worker Permit by 1 … Continue Reading

Chancellor announces new Job Support Scheme

The UK Chancellor has outlined additional government support to help businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19.

There had been calls from businesses for the chancellor to help protect jobs once the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends on 31 October 2020. As a result the chancellor has announced the new Job Support Scheme which will be introduced from 1 November to protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19. The scheme protects employees who are in work and will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due … Continue Reading

Testing employees for COVID-19, self-isolation and sick pay

On 10 September the Department of Health and Social Care published guidance for employers on the legal obligations and matters that they need to consider if planning to introduce their own testing for COVID-19. With current infection rates increasing this is ever more important for employers to help protect business continuity. In addition, employers need to be up to date with guidance and legislation regarding self-isolation and sick pay.

Government guidance on testing

The guidance clarifies that employers should not be using the NHS Test and Trace service for testing their employees. That service is for those who display symptoms … Continue Reading

Management and foreign languages: Communication with the works council

Managers of international companies are often confronted with the problem of having to communicate with their employees and the works council in a foreign language that they do not fully master. This can easily lead to conflicts. In a recent decision in June, the Nuremberg Regional Labor Court (ref. 1 TaBV 33/19) has now clarified the scope.

The works council of a German branch of a Spanish clothing company demanded that communication with the branch manager, who at the beginning hardly spoke any German, be conducted exclusively in German during meetings or negotiations. Appraisal interviews and staff meetings had been … 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

Talking Turkey – Salvation for Investors from UK Defined Benefit Schemes?

The UK Pensions Regulator has offered some comfort to investors and funds which may have been deterred from investing in UK companies with historic defined benefit liabilities.

It is unusual, as a matter of English law, for the corporate veil to be capable of being pierced – normally the liability incurred by one group company will not, as a matter of course, taint others in its group. Liability for defined benefit pension liabilities is a notable exception – provided certain conditions are met, the Pensions Regulator can look to other group companies or controlling shareholders to provide cash or guarantees … Continue Reading

LexBlog