Archives: Employment (UK)

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When do beliefs attract legal protection at work?

An employer is likely to find a wide variety of beliefs held by its employees. We’re all aware that some people hold (and perhaps we share) firm beliefs as regards climate change, and there is certainly a growing trend towards a vegan lifestyle and beliefs. Others may hold beliefs in spiritualism, life after death, and … Continue Reading

German federal labor court gives further clarifications on controversial aspects with regard to vacation entitlements

Under German law, the (mostly mandatory) provisions of the German Federal Vacation Act (Bundesurlaubsgesetz – BUrlG) constitute the basic legal framework for vacation entitlements. The Federal Vacation Act itself has not been changed for years. However, there are still a number of unanswered questions and controversial debates regarding vacation claims in Germany. In 2019, the … Continue Reading

Maryland clamps down on non-competes

Maryland employers who wish to require their employees to sign a non-competition agreement beware. Effective October 1, 2019, non-competition agreements under Maryland law are valid only if the employee earns more than $15/hour or $31,200 annually. (See SB 328.) For employees who earn equal to or less than that, the agreement will be considered in … Continue Reading

Guarding against sexual harassment in the workplace: a robust policy is only the starting point

One in two women have been sexually harassed at work according to a survey conducted earlier this year by the Trades Union Congress. It is timely, therefore, that last month saw the launch of a specialist legal advice line for women in England and Wales experiencing sexual harassment at work. The advice line, run by … Continue Reading

Macron scale of damages for unfair dismissal: the lower French industrial tribunals strike back

In two decisions both rendered on 17 July 2019, the French Supreme Court ruled that the Macron scale (a mechanism introduced on 24 September 2017 to provide for caps and floors on damages for unfair dismissal) complies with international conventions ratified by the French government. These decisions were rendered through a specific procedure (demande d’avis) … Continue Reading

22 years is long enough – German Federal Labour Court rules that fixed-term employment contracts without material reason are permissible

In general, the conclusion of a fixed-term employment contract is permissible if it is justified by a material reason (section 14(1) of the German Act on Part-time and Temporary Work (Teilzeit– und Befristungsgesetz – TzBfG)). Term limitations without a material reason are only permitted for a maximum period of two years (section 14(2)1 of the … Continue Reading

Covert recordings at work on the rise in the UK

It is becoming increasingly common for employees to make covert recordings of meetings held with their employer. The reasons behind these recordings vary from a simple desire to keep a record of what is said to attempts to entrap their employer and use the recording against it in court proceedings. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) … Continue Reading

UK government consultation: UK to legislate on use of confidentiality (non-disclosure) agreements in the workplace

At the end of 2018, a report from a committee of the UK parliament called on employers and regulators to take a more proactive role in relation to sexual harassment in the workplace, including in relation to the use of confidentiality (non-disclosure) agreements. In its recent response to that inquiry, the government has set out … Continue Reading

Positive news for employers wishing to enforce post-termination restrictions

In an eagerly awaited decision, the Supreme Court gave its judgment on the meaning of wording commonly used in non-compete post-termination restrictions and the possibility of severing such wording where it would otherwise render such a restriction unenforceable. Background Ms Tillman was the Joint Global Head of Financial Services of executive search and recruitment firm … Continue Reading

Recording working time: do changes lie ahead?

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently decided that the Working Time Directive (WTD) imposes an obligation on employers in all EU member states to record all working time, not just excess hours or overtime. This marks a significant departure from standard practice and may mean that employers will, in future, be required to … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal: holiday pay must include regular voluntary overtime

Does pay for regular voluntary overtime need to be included in the calculation of holiday pay? Yes, says the Court of Appeal in a decision which confirms several prior Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decisions that the entitlement to holiday pay under the Working Time Directive (WTD) must include pay for regular voluntary overtime. As we … Continue Reading

Further blow for self-employed status: Tribunal finds that Hermes couriers are “workers”

Employment status in the UK The UK recognises three categories of employment status: employees, workers and self-employed contractors, each with varying levels of protection under employment law.  Employees are entitled to the full suite of employment rights, while self-employed contractors have very little protection under employment law. Workers who are not employees sit somewhere in … Continue Reading

Supreme Court decision announced in Pimlico Plumbers case

The Supreme Court has delivered its ruling on the landmark Pimlico Plumbers case, upholding previous decisions that an ostensibly ‘self employed’ plumber was in fact properly classified as a ‘worker’ with valuable employment rights under UK law (including discrimination protection and holiday pay). The case has been closely monitored because of its impact on organisations engaging large numbers … Continue Reading

Employment Tribunal Fee Regime: An Unlawful Barrier to Justice

The Supreme Court has today found in favour of the trade union UNISON in its judicial review of the UK Employment Tribunal fees regime, unanimously holding that the legislation implementing the current regime is unlawful both under domestic and EU law. The immediate consequence is that the Tribunal fees regime is quashed with effect from … Continue Reading

Taylor Review: a review of the Review

Today, the much-anticipated Taylor Review was published, with a speech by Matthew Taylor outlining his recommendations, followed by comments from Prime Minister Theresa May. The opening lines of the Review set out Taylor’s ambition: “The work of this Review is based on a single overriding ambition: All work in the UK economy should be fair … Continue Reading

Can contracts for those working in the gig economy move with the legal tide?

The status of those working in the ‘gig economy’, whether they are genuinely self-employed or, in reality, workers or employees with greater employment law rights, has become a highly charged issue – and one increasingly the subject of legal challenge, notably involving Uber, Citysprint and Pimlico Plumbers in recent years. The ongoing review into modern … Continue Reading

SMCR Conduct Rules go live!

Reed Smith will be hosting a breakfast seminar on the SMCR 28 March 2017. Visit reedsmith.com for more information. On 7 March 2017, the Conduct Rules in FCA Handbook and PRA Rulebook were extended to cover thousands more employees at UK Banks And Building Societies (including UK branches of overseas banks). As part of the … Continue Reading

Gender Pay Gap Reporting – Do we need more?

Today is International Women’s Day. What originally started life in 1909 as a single protest organised by the Socialist Party of America in New York, is now a global event with the backing of the United Nations and some of the world’s largest corporations. The theme of this year’s campaign is #BeBoldForChange. The UK Government’s … Continue Reading

What does the future hold for Employment Tribunal reform?

The Ministry of Justice has recently published its review of the introduction of Employment Tribunal (‘ET’) fees. The fees were first introduced 2013 and many groups have raised concerns that they are a potentially serious barrier to bringing claims in the ET, particularly for less well off workers and those who have just lost their … Continue Reading

Modern Slavery Business Reporting: Beyond Compliance

A year after the introduction of the business reporting obligation in the Modern Slavery Act 2015 we take a look at the approach taken to statements to date and possible future developments in this area. Introduction Modern slavery and human trafficking are two of the biggest human rights challenges of our time. The Modern Slavery … Continue Reading

CVs: the whole truth?

At the start of July, in just one of the ever stranger twists and turns taken by the UK’s main political parties this summer, Andrea Leadsom was caught in a storm of questions about the true nature of her 25-year track record in the City of London. The pressure eventually led her campaign team to … Continue Reading

Changes to tax treatment of termination payments

The UK Government has announced changes to the tax treatment of termination payments following the conclusion of its recent consultation. Draft legislation has now been published which will come into force in April 2018. The main changes are as follows: All payments in lieu of notice (“PILONs”) will be fully taxable regardless of whether there … Continue Reading

Protecting Whistleblowers in the UK – Is the Law Sufficient?

With instances of whistleblowing hitting the press on an ever-increasing basis, does UK law do enough to protect employees who blow the whistle on their employer’s wrongdoing? According to a new report published by the international NGO, Blueprint for Free Speech, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation (the “Report”), the answer to this question is a … Continue Reading
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