Employment

Brexit: What next in the Article 50 judicial review?

The English High Court today held that the UK Government cannot trigger Article 50 of the EU Treaty to commence the UK’s exit from the European Union, or ‘Brexit’, without referring the matter to Parliament. This differs from the earlier decision by the Northern Ireland High Court, where the argument that exit required an Act of Parliament or some other form of Parliamentary mandate was rejected. Key points in the judgment  The UK Government had argued that in enacting the European Communities Act 1972 – the legislation which governed the UK’s entry to the European Union in 1973 – the …

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High Court hears legal challenge to Government triggering Article 50 to leave the EU

The High Court has heard 3 days of argument in legal proceedings brought by a group of individuals seeking to determine whether the UK Government has the legal power to trigger the Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union process to leave the EU without an Act of Parliament. A number of British citizens are suing the Government claiming that leaving the European Union will deny them rights derived from the treaties of the European Union which have been given force in UK law under the European Communities Act 1972, which they claim can only be removed by …

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Pay issues remain in the spotlight for employers

In recent times, pay issues have never been far from the spotlight. The Government’s proposals to introduce mandatory gender pay gap reporting have run alongside some high profile litigation relating to equal pay.   Although the concepts of gender pay gaps and equal pay are different, both place important obligations on employers and give rise to important considerations about how employers may wish to structure their business. Equal pay encapsulates the principle that men and women should have equal pay for equal work. Employees who feel that this principle has been breached must be able to demonstrate this by pointing to …

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Brexit timing clarified: employment law set to continue intact

The Conservative Party Conference has provided Theresa May, and her Government, with an opportunity to publicise their plans for the timing of Brexit. In her speech to the Conference on 2 October,  the Prime Minster announced that – Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be invoked by the end of March 2017, triggering the start of the UK’s formal withdrawal from the European Union.  At that point, the two year period of negotiations between the EU and the UK, to design the exit agreement, will commence. The UK will leave the Union by March 2019 (absent an agreed extension). …

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Holiday pay must include results-based commission: Court of Appeal decision in Lock v British Gas

The Court of Appeal has confirmed in its decision today in Lock v British Gas that holiday pay must include a representative element of results-based commission. The Court did not comment, however, on whether the 12 week reference period adopted by the tribunal for calculating the commission element was correct in all cases, and indicated that there may be questions as to what is the appropriate reference period in any particular case. The brief facts are that Mr Lock was employed by British Gas as a salesman, earning a basic salary of under £15,000 but with substantial potential for commission …

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Employers: Do your ‘right to work’ checks stand up to scrutiny?

Business immigration issues have not been far from the headlines since the Brexit referendum in June 2016 and, at the weekend, Theresa May announced that Britain will decide for itself how it will control immigration and that it “will be free to pass [its] own laws”. One of the key areas of focus in recent months has been on illegal working, where there have been significant developments. July 2016 saw the introduction of new measures creating a wider criminal offence with increased criminal sanctions, and the implementation of new enforcement powers for the Home Office – see our Be Aware …

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Termination payments – changes to the tax treatment

Following its consultation in 2015, the Government has now confirmed the changes which will be made in how termination payments will be taxed, and published draft legislation for comment. The changes will apply “from April 2018”. It is not clear at this stage whether payments pursuant to settlement agreements entered into before that time will be grandfathered under the existing legislation, but that may well be the case. Key points are: the existing £30,000 income tax exemption for termination payments will continue to apply, as will the unlimited exemption for employee national insurance contributions (“NICs”) (provided, as now, the payment …

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Employers must prepare for gender pay gap reporting as IFS report confirms 18% gap

Today’s publication of a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies brings the gender pay gap into sharp focus once again.  The report confirms that the hourly wages of female employees are currently about 18% lower than men’s on average, and that the impact of taking time out of the workplace for family reasons continues to have a significant impact upon a woman’s pay potential for the remainder of her working life. Although this news is unsurprising – concurring with previous reports – its publication is timely, coming at a point when addressing the gender pay gap is high on …

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The ill-treatment of domestic migrant workers because of their immigration status does not amount to race discrimination under the Equality Act 2010

Bethan Odey and Emma Phillips, Senior Associates in our Birmingham office, comment: The recent case of Taiwo v Olgaigbe and another; Onu v Akwiwu and another [2016] UKSC 31 has highlighted the issues which can arise in respect of the employment rights of migrant workers. The case involved Ms Taiwo and Ms Onu, both Nigerian nationals who entered the UK lawfully with a domestic worker’s visa. Ms Taiwo and Ms Onu were subjected to mental and physical abuse, paid less than the minimum wage and denied the required rest periods. Eventually, Ms Taiwo and Ms Onu fled their employers and …

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Privacy Shield adopted by European Commission and US Department of Commerce

Earlier this month, the European Commission (EC) voted to adopt the final version of the new EU/US data protection scheme, the Privacy Shield, which provides a mechanism for the valid transfer of personal data from the EU to the US.  The scheme was approved simultaneously by the US Department of Commerce (DoC).     The Privacy Shield is a replacement for the previous EU/US data transfer scheme,  the Safe Harbour Agreement,  which was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice in Autumn 2015.   Click here and here for previous Be Aware posts on Safe Harbour and here for our GENIE post …

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Business immigration in post-Brexit Britain

Matthew Leon, Associate in our Edinburgh office, and Heather Barc, Associate in our London office, comment: A significant consequence of June’s Brexit referendum result is that businesses are left operating in an uncertain environment. Employers now face a number of questions particularly in relation to immigration.  What happens to the status of EU member state nationals in the UK?  What can be done to ensure that businesses are able to continue resourcing their businesses effectively with the right skills? The important thing to remember is that until the UK formally commences the Brexit process by triggering Article 50 of the …

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Despite Brexit, businesses need to start preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published an Overview of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for organisations. The changes anticipated by GDPR are wide-ranging and require a cross-organisational compliance framework that will take time to assess and implement effectively. Organisations which process data within the UK should start their planning now if they have not already done so. The result of the 23 June 2016 referendum on membership of the EU means that the Government will ultimately need to consider the effect on the GDPR. However, Brexit should have little, if any, impact on GDPR compliance planning. The …

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Right to work checks: Extended criminal liabilities for employers

Germaine Machin-Cowen and Aaron Lyons, Associates in our Sheffield office, comment: On 12 July 2016, a number of changes under the Immigration Act 2016 will come into force, including extended criminal offences for employers in relation to illegal working. Background All employers in the UK have a duty to prevent illegal working by carrying out certain checks – known as ‘Right to work checks’ – on all employees before they commence employment. Failure to carry out these checks, and to properly retain copies of right to work documents, can result in civil and criminal liabilities for employers. A civil penalty …

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Brexit: 10 steps for employers to take now

Following the vote in favour of Brexit on 23 June,  there is uncertainty as to what comes next.  Much will depend on who replaces David Cameron and what the government’s Brexit strategy will be, how and when Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked to trigger the formal exit process, and how the EU approaches the negotiations with the UK. In the meantime, there are no immediate changes to employment or immigration law as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, so it is business as usual for now, although organisations should address the immediate after-effects …

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EU referendum: UK votes out – what now for employers?

23 June 2016 will go down in history as the date the UK population voted to leave the European Union. Despite the magnitude of this decision, however, its employment law impact will not be felt immediately and employers will have a period of time to collect their thoughts. This is anticipated to be the start of a minimum 2 year period of negotiations to determine the UK’s future role on the global stage. There are a number of options to facilitate the UK’s ongoing relationship with the EU once the exit is formally instigated, and only time will tell which …

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