Topic: UK

Subscribe to UK RSS feed

Germany: An Employer’s duties dealing with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Q&A

COVID-19 is spreading across the world and companies everywhere are faced with its challenges. In circumstances where a COVID-19 case impacts your German workplace we recommend close coordination with the public health authority on how to proceed. In doing so – especially against a possible liability for illness or even death – it will show that you, as an employer, have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that you have protected your employees. For further guidance please check our Q&A list:

1. Can employees be forced to take unpaid leave or flexitime or to reduce their working hours?

There is … Continue Reading

UK Pensions: Regulator plans big shake-up for DB scheme funding: “fast track” or “bespoke” options

On March 3, 2020, the Pensions Regulator published the first of its two planned consultations on a revised DB funding regime. The first focuses on an entirely new approach for valuations and sets out eight principles underlying the new framework of “fast track” or “bespoke”. This consultation closes on June 2, 2020.

The second consultation is planned for later in 2020 and will focus on the revised DB funding code itself.

The key principles underpinning all valuations

The Regulator identifies eight core principles to underpin all valuations:

  • Compliance and evidence – trustees should be able to compare actual
Continue Reading

UK: Pension Scams – How to help protect your pension scheme members

In HMRC’s latest Pension Schemes Newsletter published at the end of February 2020, it was noted that the Pensions Regulator has published a new scheme transfer checklist, for use by pension schemes if their members request a transfer.

The checklist, which was published in conjunction with the FCA, sets out a list of questions that schemes should ask themselves before agreeing to transfer a member’s pension. Answering ‘yes’ one or more of the questions may indicate a cause for concern. Examples of such warning signs could include:

  • the receiving scheme is newly registered with HMRC;
  • the receiving scheme is
Continue Reading

The UK proposes a new points based immigration system

On 19 February 2020 the UK Government published its policy statement setting out its proposals for a new points-based immigration system. Following the UK’s exit from the EU, free movement of workers will cease and all EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally from 1 January 2021.  The Government will introduce a new immigration system which will be a points-based system giving priority to highly skilled migrants.  This arguably has particular implications for certain industry sectors such as construction, hospitality and social care where many people employed by those sectors are low-paid workers and a significant number of them … 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

A new immigration landscape: Migration Advisory Committee Recommendations

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its widely anticipated report on 28 January 2020, setting out its recommendations for a new UK immigration system to be launched in time for the end of free movement of people on 31 December 2020. The Government will be considering the recommendations in the context of its Immigration Bill, expected to be published in March 2020. The main recommendations are set out below.

Possible role of a points based system

 

1. Skilled worker route for entry with a job offer. The current Tier 2 General category should be retained and apply … Continue Reading

UK Pensions – Could ethical veganism impact on future pension fund investments?

UK Pensions – Could ethical veganism impact on future pension fund investments?

January 2020

In an employment tribunal preliminary hearing on 3 January 2020, Judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical veganism satisfies the tests required for it to be a philosophical belief, with the result that it was protected under the Equality Act 2010. For a belief to be protected under the Act, it must meet a series of tests including being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not being incompatible with human dignity and not conflicting with fundamental rights of others. The ruling means that ethical vegans are … 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

Ethical Veganism is a Protected Characteristic

An employment tribunal in the UK has held that ethical veganism is a protected characteristic under UK discrimination law.

In the UK an employee is protected from discrimination in the workplace under one of the nine protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.  This includes protection in respect of religion, religious belief and philosophical belief.

The case involves an employee at the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). He raised concerns that the organisations pension fund invested in some companies that tested products on animals or otherwise infringed the central tenets of his ethical veganism.  The disclosure was made … 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

All I want for Christmas is… some UK pensions reforms?

OK, so even I am not that obsessed with pensions, love it though I may. I’m also a realist about how long it may still take. But there’s no denying that pensions have been largely ignored recently with all the hoo-ha in the UK over Brexit and the general election. The Pension Schemes Bill died when Parliament dissolved for the election, and even that failed to deal with many of the burning issues of the day. But we have a new Government now, so what is on my Christmas wish list?

Allow trustees to invest for good

Pension trustees are … Continue Reading

Supreme Court awards employee compensation amounting to 5% of the revenue of outstandingly profitable patent in Shanks v Unilever

The ownership of a company’s intellectual property is a sensitive subject for many companies. A recent case considered the compensation an employee may be entitled to under the Patents Act 1977 where the patents are held to be of outstanding benefit to the employer.

As it is often a company’s employees who create intellectual property, it is vital that the company’s interests are safeguarded in this respect. The general position in the UK is that intellectual property created by employees in the course of their normal duties of employment is automatically owned by their employer, and that this applies also … Continue Reading

What is the real reason for dismissal?

The Supreme Court in the UK has held in the case of Royal Mail Group Ltd v Jhuti that, where the real reason for dismissal is a protected disclosure which has been hidden from the person determining the dismissal, by a person in a position of responsibility, the dismissal is automatically unfair, even where the decision maker relied upon the reason for the dismissal in good faith.

In this case the employee made a protected disclosure to her line manager. As a result she was put under pressure to withdraw her allegations by that line manager, which she duly did.  … Continue Reading

Right to work in the UK and requests for evidence

A recent UK case considered whether an employer acted reasonably in requiring an employee, who was not a national of the European Economic Area (EEA), married to an EEA national, to produce documentation to show his right to work in the UK.

In the UK:

1) it is illegal to for an employer in the UK to employ somebody who does not have a right to work in the UK;

2) an employer can avoid liability for a civil penalty for breach of the above obligation if it carries out the requisite right to work checks before an employee’s employment … Continue Reading

Covert monitoring in the workplace – impact on an employee’s privacy

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has held that Spanish shop workers’ right to privacy under Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights was not violated when their employer obtained evidence of theft from covert CCTV footage of the employees.

The case involved five employees who worked as cashiers at a supermarket chain.  The employer noticed stock discrepancies and as part of the investigation installed CCTV cameras, both visibly within the store and hidden cameras at the checkouts.  Although customers and staff were aware that CCTV cameras operated, the employees were not aware … Continue Reading

Legal advice privilege in employment

A recent decision in the UK Court of Appeal has provided guidance in the area of privilege in employment claims.

In Curless v Shell International Ltd, the Court of Appeal had to consider whether legal advice privilege should be disapplied to an email on the basis that the advice fell within the “iniquity principle”.

Legal advice privilege applies to confidential communications between lawyers and their clients. However, legal advice privilege does not apply where the advice is iniquitous, i.e. where the communication or document came into being for the purpose of furthering a criminal or fraudulent design. In this case … Continue Reading

UK Pensions – new criminal offences relating to corporate transactions under the Pension Schemes Bill 2019

In its response to its June 2018 consultation on plans to improve the powers of the Pensions Regulator, the Government’s stated aim was to better protect members’ benefits in corporate deals. This was to be achieved by improving the ability of both the Regulator and scheme trustees to monitor relevant corporate transactions and other events which may have impacted adversely on the funding of a final salary (defined benefits) pension scheme.

In February 2019, the Government published its response to the June 2018 consultation and outlined its plans to go ahead with proposals for criminal sanctions to prevent and penalise … Continue Reading

Extension of whistleblowing protection

Workers in the UK are protected from suffering a detriment where they have made a protected disclosure under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996). To be protected under section 47B ERA 1996 the individual must be a worker as defined by s203(3) of that Act.  A recent decision of the Supreme Court considered whether the right should be extended to other office holders, in this case a District Judge.

The District Judge is an office holder and as such does not fall within the definition of worker. She made various disclosures regarding the justice system and claimed that she … Continue Reading

UK Pensions: Paying for the sins of the fathers – how far back must you make up pension underpayments?

 

Trustees of UK pension schemes which include old guaranteed minimum pensions have got a bit of a dilemma on their hands at the moment. They have to equalise benefits between men and women to paper over the inherent inequality in the GMPs themselves, which means correcting past underpayments.  There are many questions raised by that, but the one I’m interested in now is how far back.  For many schemes it may be more of a judgment call than you think.  So what’s the issue?

If you realise that you owe someone money that you should have paid them back … Continue Reading

New single enforcement body for employment rights

As part of the UK’s Government’s “Good Work Plan” to ensure fair and decent work for all, transparency and clarity of workers’ rights and effective enforcement of those rights, proposals for a single enforcement body were published for consultation in July this year.

Currently in the UK, the majority of employment rights are enforced by the individual through an employment tribunal. However, there are some exceptions where various enforcement bodies take a role to protect particularly vulnerable workers. Examples of this are enforcement of the right to the national minimum wage by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), enforcement of the … 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

The End of Free Movement in the UK?

The UK Government’s announcement, that free movement will end the day after a no deal Brexit on 31 October 2019, has left many wondering how the rights of EU citizens will be impacted in the days that follow.

Whilst some have speculated that it is unlikely that this means anything different than the original ‘no deal’ plan that was published some months ago (under the previous Home Secretary), others, including the Home Office, indicate that there could be immediate practical implications with reference to a ‘new immigration system’ being ‘developed’ and that plans will be revealed in due course.

These … Continue Reading

New fast track visa to cement the UK as a science superpower

The Home Office has announced a new fast-track immigration offer for individuals with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. The scheme will provide a three-year visa, during which the individual can come and go from the UK at will. Following the three year period, those on the scheme can apply for indefinite leave to remain. If successful, this will provide a permanent right to reside in the UK and access to healthcare and benefits on the same basis as British citizens.

There will be no minimum salary requirement, and the individuals do not need to secure a … Continue Reading

UK Pensions – is the current annual allowance limit unfair and unworkable?

UK Pensions – is the current annual allowance limit unfair and unworkable? 

The Revenue has been forced, finally, to face up to the fact that the annual allowance changes in relation to pensions contributions which attract tax relief, and which were brought into force in April 2016, are unfair and unworkable. The Treasury announced on 7 August 2019 that there will be a consultation on proposals to vary contribution rates for NHS staff to minimise the impact of the annual allowance on them.

Currently, the annual allowance (broadly the rate contributions can be paid to a defined contribution scheme or … Continue Reading

LexBlog