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Employment Law

Government budget announcement 2021 – employment impact

Posted on: March 3rd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has just announced the budget for 2021. Below are the key employment-related headlines:

Furlough extended – the scheme will be extended until the end of September 2021. Employees will continue to be entitled to 80% of income, but from July you will be required to contribute an additional 10%, and in August and September an additional 20% (in total) towards the furlough payment.

Furlough fraud – the government are investing £100million in new HMRC investigators to tackle furlough.

New apprentices – incentive payments doubled to £3000 for new apprenticeship hires.

National Living Wage – increase to £8.91 in April.

Pension – lifetime allowance frozen this year.

Personal tax thresholds – current personal tax thresholds frozen for this year.

Highly skilled migrants – review of the visa application process.

We’re updating our relevant guidance notes and FAQs and will issue these as soon as possible.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (3 March 2021), 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.

 

 

Why employment status matters

Posted on: March 2nd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

The Supreme Court’s judgement clearly sets out why Uber drivers are in fact workers and not self-employed. Below is our take on taxis and tests for employment status:

Decision –‘keeping it real’ has never been so important. The Court made it clear that the reality of the arrangement trumps what is written in any agreement or contract – if there’s inconsistency between the terms agreed and the practical arrangement, it’s the latter that the Court will consider.

Uber’s reality – Uber’s tight control over when and how work was done, the reliance on Uber to provide drivers with work, and drivers’ inability to influence Uber’s terms of work all indicated worker status.

Consequences – in Uber’s case all of this meant that instead of working with self-employed individuals (without rights to National Minimum Wage and holidays), Uber are responsible for ensuring that drivers have no less than statutory minimum pay, time off, and holiday, all at Uber’s cost.

Proactive steps – if you engage individuals on a self-employed basis, now (following this decision and the impending IR35 changes) is a great time to audit those arrangements and give yourself the opportunity to address any anomalies or potential risks. You’ll find more detail in our latest updates in this area.

Get in touch if you need support with consultants and understanding employment status.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (2 March 2021), 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.

Brexit series #7 – employees refused settled status

Posted on: February 25th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

By 30 June 2021 employees who are EU citizens need to apply under the settled status scheme in order to ensure that they can continue to live and work in the UK beyond that date.

If their application is turned down, what are your options?

Appeal/review – ensure the employee immediately lodges an application to secure a review of the decision or an appeal. They should be allowed to continue working for you pending a final decision, although government guidance on this point hasn’t yet been published so we’ll update you when we have clarification.

Apply for a visa – if you have a sponsor licence and the role they’re doing qualifies under the new immigration rules the employee can apply for a visa. You’ll need to ensure that they have the right to continue to work for you in the meantime or take steps to terminate their employment if not. Take advice before committing to this route.

Termination of employment –  there are a number of different options available to effect the termination of employment of an individual who no longer has the right to work in the UK. It may be possible to end their employment without notice and without following a ‘fair process’, but advice must be taken before embarking on those discussions.

Get in touch if you’d like more information about how our annual, fixed fee Intelligent Employment service can support with the employment law implications of Brexit.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (25 February 2021), 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.

New salary, new restrictions?

Posted on: February 23rd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

It’s a good time of year to consider whether you have the right post-termination restrictions in place to protect your business.

Here’s what you need to think through…

  1. What are your key assets? Think carefully about what you want to protect, from customers, employees, suppliers, and tender information – it’s all capable of protection.
  2. Do you really need to stop employees from working with competitors when they leave? Difficult to enforce and off-putting to new starters, whilst well drafted non-compete provisions are potentially enforceable, they should be entered with caution and following advice.
  3. How long do ex-employees remain a threat to your business? Once their influence has disappeared you’ll not be able to limit their actions and your business becomes ‘fair game’. Ensure that the duration of the restrictions lasts only as long as the assets you’re trying to protect otherwise they will be unenforceable.
  4. What are you going to offer in return? It’s not possible to introduce new restrictions for existing employees unless you offer ‘consideration’ – so what form does that take? Extra holidays, salary increase, new role etc, whatever the case, it should be clear to the employee that the additional benefit is offered only in return for their acceptance of the new restrictions.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how our extensive drafting expertise can support you to introduce robust and enforceable post-termination restrictions into your contracts.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (23 February 2021), 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.

Part #2: Consultancy agreements – commercial protection

Posted on: February 11th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

With IR35 changes fast-approaching, ensuring consultancy agreements are flexible, consistent with self-employed status, and protect key commercial exposure is vital. Here are our thoughts:

Equipment – set out whether the consultant can use your property in delivering the services and if so whether there will be a charge for doing so.

Invoicing – be clear when you expect to receive an invoice from the consultant, what the invoice should cover, and when payment should be made.

Expenses – provide an expenses policy which identifies whether the consultant can incur expenses on your behalf and if so the process for doing so.

Authority – stipulate whether or not the consultant can make binding decisions on your behalf, any limits on the decisions they can make, and the authority they need to secure.

Notice – set out the notice required from both yourselves and the consultant during the life of the contract (in particular make it clear that if you want to end the contract before the consultant starts working with you what notice will be due).

Insurance – make sure the consultant has got adequate insurance for the services they’re providing so you can rely on it in the event that things go wrong.

Get in touch if you’d like us to review your existing consultancy agreement terms, or you’d like access to our consultancy agreement template.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (11 February 2021), 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.