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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

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
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
05
2014

Adjudication Update
#Construction

Parties to a construction contract, much like any other contract, may find themselves embroiled in a dispute at some point during the life of the contract. For disputes ‘arising under` a construction contract, adjudication is a compulsory procedure (it cannot be contracted out of), developed in order to provide a speedy (usually adjudicators must render their decision within 28 days of appointment) and cost efficient resolution to a dispute, on an interim basis. The reason that it is ‘interim` is that the decision of the adjudicator is binding on the parties temporarily, or at least unless, or until the underlying dispute is determined through litigation, arbitration or by agreement....

Sep
05
2014

Changes in the application of VAT to lease surrenders
#Real Estate

Landlords and tenants will welcome a recent change in HMRC policy on the application of VAT to the surrenders of leases....

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

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

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?...

Sep
03
2014

Capital Allowances: fixtures in commercial buildings
#Real Estate

Rule changes from 1 April 2014 could have serious effects for commercial property owners....

Sep
02
2014

The Defamation Act 2013: what is serious harm?
#Dispute Resolution #Crisis Management

The Defamation Act 2013 (the "2013 Act") introduced a requirement that a statement must have caused (or be likely to cause) serious harm to the Claimant`s reputation for that statement to be defamatory. In order to show serious harm, a business (defined as a body that trades for profit in the 2013 Act) has to show that it had suffered, or was likely to suffer, significant financial loss as a result of the publication of the defamatory material. The relevant section of the 2013 Act came into force on 1 January 2014 and only applies to allegedly defamatory statements made since that date...

Sep
01
2014

Killing two birds with one answer: when jurisdiction is founded on choice of law
#Dispute Resolution

As the commercial world becomes increasingly international, the English Courts are called upon more and more often to rule on cases involving litigants that are not based in this country. In cases between litigants of different nationalities, the English Court may also need to determine which country`s law will apply to the dispute. This article looks at the peculiar circumstances where the separate questions of whether the English Courts have jurisdiction and what the is the law applicable to the dispute become intertwined...

Aug
29
2014

Making a Will - The distinction between memory and testamentary capacity
#Real Estate

A recent case in the Court of Appeal (Simon v Byford and others [2014] EWCA Civ 280) reviewed the test of capacity for those seeking to make a Will. The Court of Appeal drew a clear distinction between capacity and memory. It held that the test for capacity depended on the potential capacity to understand, rather than memory, and stated that the test for capacity did not extend to unknown or unintended consequences of testamentary dispositions...

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
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
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
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
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

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
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
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....

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