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Keeping up to date

We take seriously our responsibility to keep you up to date so that you can use changes in employment law to commercial advantage. By understanding and interpreting the latest case law and legislation we can deliver updates to you that are concise and usable. With imagination, we are able to ensure that developing law can be used to allow you to achieve commercial solutions, cost effectively and expediently.

Reluctant returners?

Posted on: February 11th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

With the government soon to announce whether we can begin to take steps to return to something that resembles ‘normal’, you’ll be thinking about planning for a return.

Here are a few things to consider…

Increased contact – hopefully you’ll have been in regular contact with your team, but now more than ever you’ll want to ensure employees feel engaged. Update on developments in the business will bring them up to speed and organising virtual team events are a fun and easy way to reintegrate.

Working practices – it’s likely things will look completely different on employees’ return. Share any alterations to working practices, procedural changes, or anything that has changed the way the employee will need to carry out their role so they hit the ground running.

Finding flexibility – returning employees will have to consider any caring, childcare, or travel arrangements before they return. Being open to flexible arrangements (altered start / finish times for example) will help to smooth the transition back into the business.

Listen to concerns – most will be happy to return, some might need extra reassurance. Explain clearly the steps you’ve taken to make the workplace safe and secure and make sure they have a copy of your safe return to work and / or coronavirus policy with the details (click here for a copy of ours).

Remember the rules – absent employees might want to be helpful by picking up work, but remind them that carrying out any work whilst still furloughed could jeopardise your ability to claim reimbursement under the Job Retention Scheme.

Get in touch if you need support in making your plans or managing a return to the workplace. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (17 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.

Getting ready for a return – flexible contracts

Posted on: February 11th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

If you’re planning to continue the trend away from traditional and carry on with the contemporary, don’t forget to check that your employment contracts will keep pace.

Place of work – clearly setting out the place of work remains important – the consequence of failing to do so means you may find yourself with expenses claims for travel to the office from home.

Mobility – setting out clearly the terms of any flexibility and the circumstances when it might be withdrawn should avoid dispute if the new approach doesn’t work well.

Variation – we’ve all experienced that it’s impossible to predict what the future holds – giving yourself a general right to amend terms will provide greater flexibility to react to any future uncertainty.

Get in touch if you’d like us to review your current contracts or support you with making changes moving forward.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (16 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.

Legal lightbulb – people law, policy and practice

Posted on: February 10th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

As part of keeping you in our focus, our ‘legal lightbulb’ update ensures you’re on top of the latest changes in legislation, case law, and people trends.

Furlough claims now publically available

HMRC have now published a list of all employers who made claims in December 2020 under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. With no information yet available as to the value of the claims the impact of the list is questionable. From this month HMRC will publish the claim value in banded ranges (such as £10,001 to £25,000, for example).

Key dates

This time of year means employment law change and deadlines. Here are a few of them but if you want more detail you can find it here:

April 2021 – National Minimum Wage increases to:

  1. Age 23 and over (National Living Wage rate) – £8.72 to £8.91 (age of eligibility will be reduced from 25 to 23 and NLW will be the statutory minimum wage for those aged 23 and over).
  2. Age 21 to 22 – £8.20 to £8.36
  3. Age 18 to 20 – £6.45 to £6.56
  4. Age 16 to 17 – £4.55 to £4.62
  5. Apprenticeship rate – £4.15 to £4.30

4 April 2021 – the deadline for private companies with 250 employees or more (on the snapshot date 5 April 2020) to publish their gender pay gap report. Reports can be published at any point prior. Click here for more information

6 April 2021 – large employers will be liable for unpaid tax in respect of ‘employed’ contractors. Here’s more detail from our latest updates regarding IR35, consultants, and employment status.

Updated CJRS Treasury Direction

The Treasury have published an updated Treasury Direction for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme taking into account the fact that the scheme is almost 12 months’ old and continues until 30 April 2021. The Direction makes the following amendments:

  1. Any furlough pay in March / April 2021 must now refer back to the employee’s pay in the corresponding month in March / April 2019 (not March / April 2020 as that period may include employees who were already on furlough pay).
  2. The deadline for amending claims made in the previous month has been extended from 15th of the following month to the end of the following month.
  3. The CJRS is formally extended to 30 April 2021.

Get in touch if you’d like to speak to one of our expert employment lawyers regarding anything we’ve covered above.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (10 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.

Ending employees’ employment? Does furlough offer support?

Posted on: February 3rd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

When bringing an end to an employee’s employment you’re unlikely to be able to rely on furlough pay or support. Here’s our summary of HMRC’s position on termination payments and support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS):

Notice pay – since December 2020 HMRC have confirmed that when an employee is serving notice, their notice pay will not be covered by the CJRS.

Payments in lieu of notice – if you end the employee’s employment with a lump sum notice payment then you are not entitled to recover that payment from the CJRS.

Statutory redundancy payments – it is clear that the CJRS cannot be used to fund statutory redundancy payments.

Ex gratia payments – payments that you’re choosing to make without any contractual requirement to do so, and that aren’t in return for work done, cannot be claimed through the CJRS.

Lump sum payment in lieu of holiday – if an employee has unused accrued holiday entitlement when their employment comes to an end, this cannot be claimed through the CJRS.

There are complicated rules around amounts which should be paid to employees on termination – always take advice. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (04 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.