Welcome guest, please log in here   |    T +44(0)115 7180333   |   E   info@halborns.com

Archive

May, 2020

Executive People Update

Posted on: May 28th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

As part of keeping you in our focus during the coronavirus pandemic, our executive people update ensures you’re on top of the latest changes in legislation, case and employment law trends. Click here for more information about how we can support you to manage the latest changes.

Contact tracing 

The NHS track and trace system has launched today (without the anticipated mobile app). Contact tracers will be making contact via email, text and phone calls  if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. You will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days and “do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis“. Guidance for employers has been issued.

If you or your employees are contacted by the scheme, you’ll be directed to this website. The tracer will provide you the details necessary to sign into the website. You should explain to employees the importance of remaining vigilant against hoax or scam calls as contact tracers will not ask for personal details over the phone unless you’re unable to access the internet.

SSP claims portal and regulation amendments 

If you have less than 250 employees, you’re now able to claim back SSP from the government if it has been paid due to coronavirus. You can access the claims portal and further details here.

Amendments have been made to the SSP Regulations to mean that employees told to self-isolate at home for 14 days by the track and trace scheme are eligible for SSP.

Updated shielding guidance 

The government is now advising people to shield until 30 June 2020. This is important if you’re planning to unfurlough employees coming to the end of the period of 12 weeks explained in their initial shielding letter. You can find the specific paragraph here, or the full guidance here.

Record keeping during the pandemic

You must now keep a record for six years (previously five) of any correspondence to your employees putting them on, or taking them off furlough and any claims that you’ve made. We’d recommend keeping a record of all decisions made during the pandemic for the same period of time to provide a robust audit and evidence trail (should you need to rely on it).

New symptoms  

A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste are now classed as main symptoms of coronavirus. This is along with a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.

If you need support with the challenges, employment law risks and considerations of returning employees back to work, we’ve created a comprehensive guidance note to help. Click here to find out more.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (28 May 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Considering redundancies? – join our webinar

Posted on: May 27th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

When: 3rd June – 9:30am > Click here to register.

Challenging times can result in difficult decisions. When forced to consider redundancies, the impact across all levels of an organisation can be far reaching.

Providing the right support – to ensure that correct processes are followed, that HR teams are properly supported and that affected individuals are given the best possible chance to secure the right next step for them – can have a positive and lasting effect.

This unique webinar explores redundancy from three perspectives:

  1. Employment law
  2. HR process and communications
  3. The people impact

We’ll provide practical tips, guidance and solutions to help you navigate through the current complexity, help you understand where the risks are hiding and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your organisation and the people within it. Here’s a detailed agenda of what we’ll cover.

Click here to register.

New opportunities / challenges: flexible working requests

Posted on: May 26th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Working from home, furlough, unpaid leave – they’ve opened our eyes to the possibility of working differently.

Whether it’s a short term request or a longer term arrangement it’s likely there’ll be plenty of flexible working requests heading your way. Here are our top five suggestions to responding to requests:

  1. Be proactive – if you’ve identified opportunities to work differently whilst remaining productive and possibly saving on expense, make the first move.
  2. Understand your legal rights – only those employees with 26 weeks’ service at the point of the request have the right to ask for changes (and only if they haven’t already made a request for flexibility in the previous 12 months). You’ll need to comply with the Flexible Working Regulations, in particular by dealing with the request within three months. Click here for guidance on managing a flexible working request.
  3. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing – consider with the employee alternatives they may not have thought about, short term and long term options, and trial periods with built in flexibility to give you time to establish whether the new arrangement works for both of you. Whatever you agree, capture it in writing.
  4. Up to date policies – think data security, home working, company property to name a few.
  5. Employee management – from risk assessments so you can check a home working environment is safe, adjusting targets, challenges around driving performance, and alternatives to usual communication – they’ll all need thinking about carefully if you’re going to make sure that the new flexibility means continued productivity and team commitment.

We’ve created a ‘back to work guidance note’ to support you in comprehensive detail through the employment law issues, considerations and risk factors in returning back to work (including advice on managing flexible working requests). Click here if you’d like to find out more and purchase a copy.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (27 May 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Keeping agreement confidential – don’t settle for less

Posted on: May 21st, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

A settlement agreement which explains that the employee has to keep the terms and existence of the agreement confidential (or they’ll repay the settlement money) is open to challenge according to a recent High Court decision.

We’ve updated our template COT3 and settlement agreement templates to ensure there’s the greatest chance of enforcing confidentiality provisions in light of the High Court’s judgement.

The Court did suggest there are still things you can do to ensure the enforceability  of these clauses:

  1. Explaining how important confidentiality is to you during negotiations;
  2. Re-wording agreements to say that keeping confidentiality is a “strict condition” of retaining the settlement money; and/or
  3. Stating that a specific portion of the settlement money is being paid in return for confidentiality – so you can seek to recover that part of the settlement money if the confidentiality clause is breached.

We’ve updated our template COT3 and settlement agreement templates to re-word the confidentiality provisions, to give them the greatest chance of being enforceable in light of the High Court’s judgement.

If you have your own settlement templates, we’d highly recommend that you review them – click here for our support in doing so.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (04 June 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Employment law dates for your diary

Posted on: May 21st, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, a number of important dates have been moved. Here’s a reminder of what’s coming up.

31 December 2020 – free movement of EU workers due to end

The Immigration Bill is working it’s way through Parliament to pave the way for a points-based immigration system from 1 January 2021. The system will set out requirements for:

  • Education level
  • English language skills
  • Occupation and proof of a job offer in the UK
  • Minimum salary threshold of £25,600
  • Immigration Skills Charge for employers of up to £1000 for each migrant employed
  • £624 Immigration Health Surcharge for incoming workers to cover potential use of the NHS

4 April 2021 – Gender pay gap reporting

With coronavirus demanding time and resources, the 2020 deadline to publish pay gap has been suspended until 2021. The Government Equalities Office has confirmed they will not take any action against businesses who fail to report in 2020. If you’ve got great pay gap data though, you can still choose to shout about it now!

6 April 2021 – IR35 reforms

To support the economy, changes to IR35 designed to stop contractors working as ‘disguised employees’ by taxing them at a similar rate to employees, have been deferred to 6 April 2020.

Want to keep on top of the latest development and secure unlimited employment law advice? Click here to find out how

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (21 May 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.