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Sep
18
2014

Will Scottish employment law change whatever the outcome today?
#Employment

It has been interesting that the trade unions have generally maintained neutrality in the independence debate, leaving the issue to their members individually, although the RMT notably has supported independence. However, as Scots voters go the polls today, whether or not Scotland votes for independence  it seems unlikely that current laws on discrimination, working time and TUPE will remain the...

Sep
18
2014

Payments to small and medium sized employers for military reservists
#Employment

New regulations come into force on 1 October 2014 which will help employers employing military reservists. At the moment, when called up, military reservists are paid directly by the Ministry of Defence. Employers can claim expenses in respect of additional costs incurred whilst replacing the reservist (to a maximum of £110 per day). However, from 1st October, small and medium sized employers wi...

Sep
11
2014

Should we follow Germany`s example and ban emails to employees on holiday?
#Employment

It was recently reported in the Guardian Newspaper that the German employment minister is considering new "anti-stress" legislation, including banning companies from contacting employees out of hours. She is quoted in the German press as saying "There is an undeniable relationship between constant availability and the increase of mental illness. We have commissioned the Federal Institute for Occu...

Sep
11
2014

Ante-natal appointments from 1 October 2014 - the new right to accompany pregnant women
#Employment

The new right for employees and qualifying agency workers to unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman to ante-natal appointments comes into force on 1 October 2014. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has just published a guide for employers. The new right applies to the pregnant woman`s husband, civil partner or partner (including a same-sex partner), the father or parent of...

Sep
11
2014

Acas publishes new guidance on dress codes for employers
#Employment

The new guidance can be found at http://www.acas.org.uk/dresscode Dress codes can be used by employers for a number of reasons, for example as a way of communicating a corporate image or for health and safety reasons. Some key points: Employers must avoid unlawful discrimination in any dress code policy Employers may have health and safety reasons for having certain standards Dress codes m...

Sep
04
2014

Zero hours exclusivity ban and plans for codes of practice
#Employment

The government has launched a consultation on its proposed exclusivity ban in zero hours contracts. It also seeks views on penalties and remedies. The results of the consultation will be used to determine the necessity for and scope of further regulations to deal with avoidance of an exclusivity ban, when it comes into force. The consultation will close on 3 November 2014. The government has als...

Sep
04
2014

Employer failed to take reasonable care to deduct PAYE despite engaging payroll agent
#Employment

A tribunal has held than an employee was not liable for amounts that his employer under-deducted under PAYE because his employer did not take reasonable care to comply with the PAYE rules. It decided that an employee was not liable for his employer`s PAYE under-deduction because, in simply abandoning payroll matters to its payroll agent, his employer did not take reasonable care to comply with t...

Sep
04
2014

Is shared parental pay another pay time bomb?
#Employment

The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 come into force on 1 December 2014 and apply in respect of babies expected to be born on or after 5 April 2015. A key issue for employers to consider, particularly those who pay more than the statutory minimum amount of maternity pay, is what rate of shared parental leave to pay?...

Aug
28
2014

"Religiously orientated" swear words in Christian`s presence was not harassment
#Employment

Using expletives with religious overtones can be common to hear on the street and when talking to friends or colleagues.  For example, language such as "Oh my God" and "Jesus Christ" can be used to express surprise and disgust.  In M v P Care Home Ltd the Employment Tribunal ("the ET") assessed whether these expletives with religious overtones amounted to religious harassment. M, a Christian car...

Aug
28
2014

Monitoring communications - how far can an employer go?
#Employment

Malky Mackay and Iain Moody are two names that have dominated sports headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. Mackay and Moody have been reported to the Football Association (‘FA`) after the sensational revelation of their text message exchanges, which have been considered ‘`sexist, racist and homophobic`. The revelation came just as Mackay and Moody were due to work together at Crystal Palace...

Aug
21
2014

Illegal inducements to union members
#Employment

There are some relatively unknown and underused legal provisions which make it unlawful for employers to make any kind of offer directly to a unionised employee, for example a new bonus scheme, which could be construed as an attempt to induce the employee to give up collective bargaining rights. However, the fact that at least three cases were heard on this point last year could be an indication...

Aug
21
2014

TUPE: where there is a change of client and "tasks of short term duration"
#Employment

It is a rule that in relation to a TUPE service provision change that the client for whom the services are provided must be the same before and after the transfer. This rule derives from the Court of Appeal case of Hunter v McCarrick [2013] IRLR 26. In a further recent case on the issue, Horizon Security Services Limited v (1) Ndeze (2) The PCS Group, the client had changed when a management comp...

Aug
14
2014

Government may end £30,000 tax exemption on termination payments
#Employment

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has recently published its final report which includes the taxation of termination payments as well as considering some other areas. Termination payments Currently, although payments and benefits received in connection with a termination of employment are taxable, the first £30,000 can be paid tax free, provided it is genuinely paid on account of redundanc...

Aug
14
2014

Shared parental leave
#Employment

In July 2014 the Government published the final Shared Parental leave Regulations. The new Regulations were introduced in order to offer greater flexibility for new parents in deciding who will take parental leave to look after the baby. (This topic was covered in a previous employment buddy blog at the end of November when the Government announced its commitment to introducing new regulations.)...

Aug
14
2014

OTS to review rules on employment status
#Employment

The OTS has also announced that it will be reviewing the current rules determining the divide between employment and self-employment, an uncertain and complex area for businesses, particularly in light of the increasing diversity of working practices. The OTS will consider whether existing rules create uncertainty and who this impacts, as well as trends in employment law, HMRC guidance and how ot...

Aug
07
2014

Buddy Quiz July - How did you do?
#Employment

Thank you to everyone who completed the last Buddy Quiz, posted throughout July. We have posted the answers to the questions below so you can check how you did. 1. The Queen`s Speech identified various employment law proposals which included higher penalties for    employers who fail to pay the minimum wage. However, what is the current minimum wage for those aged    21 and over? £6.31 per...

Aug
07
2014

Government plans to stop temp agencies recruiting exclusively abroad
#Employment

BIS has recently published a consultation that aims to tackle recruitment agencies that discriminate against workers in Great Britain by advertising exclusively overseas, as part of wider plans on illegal working and penalising unscrupulous employers. Currently, under the legislation governing the recruitment sector, there are two legally defined types of business - employment agencies (often re...

Aug
07
2014

Is obesity a disability?
#Employment

Mr Kaltoft worked as a childminder for 15 years before he was dismissed. Throughout his employment, Mr Kaltoft had a BMI of over 40, making him ‘severely obese` according to World Health Organisation rankings. His employer alleged that Mr Kaltoft`s obesity prevented him from performing his role fully, for example, by making it impossible for him to bend down to tie the shoelaces of the children in his care (although it also denied that it dismissed him because of his obesity). Mr Kaltoft believed that he had been dismissed because of his obesity and brought a discrimination claim in a Danish District Court....

Aug
04
2014

Illegal immigrants can claim race discrimination against their employer
#Employment

In the rather harrowing case of Hounga v Allen, the Supreme Court has held that the fact that a domestic worker was working illegally in the UK was not a defence to her discrimination. Miss Hounga is a Nigerian national who came to the UK in 2007 aged 14 to work as an au pair for Mrs Allen under a visitor visa. This visa was obtained, with Miss Hounga`s permission, using a false passport and was...

Jul
31
2014

Restrictive covenants: courts cannot give effect to commercial common sense
#Employment

The Court of Appeal has reaffirmed the well established principle that whilst a court can generally interpret an ambiguous clause it cannot rewrite a clause on the grounds that it does not make common sense and is contrary to the intention of the parties.  Restrictive covenants are often used in employment contracts in order to guard against unfair competition.  They allow an employer to protect...

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