Topic: UK

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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

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

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

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
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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
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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

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

New law to ensure furloughed employees receive full redundancy payments

The UK Government has published legislation, which will ensure that all furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Coronavirus, Calculation of a Week’s Pay) Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) ensure that various statutory entitlements based on a week’s pay and connected with the termination of employment are not reduced as a result of an employee being furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The entitlements included in the Regulations are:

  • redundancy pay for those with more than 2 years’ continuous service who are made redundant and
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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

UK points-based immigration system: Further details announced

On 13 July 2020, the Home Office published further details on how the UK’s points-based immigration system will work from 1 January 2021. As set out in the Policy Statement published in February, anyone coming to the UK for work, including EU citizens, will need to demonstrate they meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. There is no overall cap on the number who can apply under the Skilled Worker route.

The key change to note is that any employer wishing to employ EU citizens will need to have a sponsor licence and pay the … Continue Reading

UK Government: Plan for Jobs

On 8 July, the UK Chancellor announced proposals to help UK businesses have the confidence to retain and hire staff. The Government announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has helped employers pay the wages of 9 million employees across the UK.  However, the scheme will come to an end on 31 October 2020 and as the economy is now beginning to reopen, the summer economic update looks at the Government’s second phase of its response to the Coronavirus with a targeted Plan for Jobs.

The Plan includes the following proposals to support employers:

  • A Job Retention Bonus. This will
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New Guidance published for flexible furlough scheme

On 12 June the UK Government issued details of the flexible furlough arrangement which will operate from 1 July 2020. The new scheme will allow employees to work for their employer during some of the period and the employer will still be able to claim under the scheme in respect of the time where employees are on furlough.

Existing guidance has been updated and new guidance notes and examples have been published to cover the new flexibility.

What restrictions are there to an employer’s use of the scheme?

From 1 July employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for … Continue Reading

Furloughing new employees – deadline 10 June 2020

As set out in our previous blog post here the UK: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)  is changing.  This means that the CJRS is closing to new entrants form 30 June. Any new employees who an employer may wish to furlough and who have not already been furloughed,  must be placed on furlough on or before 10 June.

The new flexible furlough scheme means that employees will be able to return to work on a part time basis without affecting their employers’ right to claim under the CJRS in respect of the non-working days.

Full guidance regarding the amended scheme … Continue Reading

Flexible Furlough –Changes to the UK Job Retention Scheme

On 29 May, the UK Chancellor provided details of the proposed changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The changes require employers to start sharing the cost of the furlough arrangement and allow a more flexible approach to working while on furlough.

New Flexibility

The Government is introducing a more flexible furlough arrangement.  Employers will be able to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part time from 1 July, a month earlier than previously announced.

Employers will have flexibility to determine the hours worked and the shift pattern for their employees. They will then pay the full wages … Continue Reading

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