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Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme — UPDATE 16 April 2020

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme — UPDATE 16 April 2020

Following our previous update, yesterday (15 April 2020), HMRC has issued a further update to its employer and employee guidance on the Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme). We now have the following recommendations:

  1. The eligibility date, being the date when the employee has to have been on the employer's payroll to qualify for the Scheme, has changed from 28 February to 19 March 2020. This means that a large number of employees who started employment after the 28th February will now qualify for the Scheme

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme - UPDATE

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme - UPDATE

Following on from the Government’s announcement of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we now have some further information about the scheme following updated guidance issued by the Government (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme).

In summary, the following will apply:

-  Employers will be able to apply to HMRC for a grant to cover 80 per cent of an employee’s regular wage or £2,500 per month (whichever is lower) plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions for employees who are not working but

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme

In the midst of a period of uncertainty for all sectors across the U.K, it was a welcome change for us all to hear the Chancellor’s announcement on Friday 20 March that the Government will cover up to 80% of employee costs if your business has no work for them.

Guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

This is an incredible and unprecedented lifeline for employers but there are obviously some conditions attached to this which we try to iron out below. This is a new scheme and new information for

Right to a Written Employment 'Contract' From Day 1

Right to a Written Employment 'Contract' From Day 1

Currently, employers are only required to give new employees a written employment 'contract' stating their main terms and conditions within two months of starting work.

Following the governments Good Work Plan, the requirements will change for those starting work on or after 6 April 2020. In summary, the changes are:

  • The obligation will extend to ?workers? as well as employees
  • It must be provided on or before the date on which they start work
  • Only certain limited information can be provided later
  • The

Ethical Veganism - A Protected Belief Under The Equality Act 2010

Ethical Veganism - A Protected Belief Under The Equality Act 2010

In the recent case of Casamitjana v League Against Cruel Sports an employment tribunal ruled that ethical veganism can be a philosophical belief worthy of protection under the Equality Act 2010.

It is well known that the Act (which protects against discrimination, harassment and victimisation) covers religion and religious beliefs. It is less well known that it can also extend to certain philosophical beliefs.

In concluding that the claimant?s beliefs were worthy of protection the tribunal took into account his dedicated and strict adherence to

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace ? EHRC Guidance

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace ? EHRC Guidance

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published new guidance in relation to sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace. In this blog we will look at the guidance, and what it means for employers.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination and harassment because of, or related to, one or more of the nine protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation).

There is no length of service requirement for an

Parental Bereavement Leave ? what you need to know

Parental Bereavement Leave ? what you need to know

In January 2020, the government confirmed that paid parental bereavement leave will be introduced for eligible employees on 6 April 2020. Here we look at the new entitlements, and discuss how employers can support staff going through a bereavement.

Quite amazingly, there has been no legal obligation for employers to provide paid time off for grieving parents. The Employment Rights Act 1996 affords employees the legal right to take ?reasonable? time off to deal with an emergency, which includes the death of a child.

Election 2019: Implications for Employment Law

Election 2019: Implications for Employment Law

As we wake up this morning we are presented with the seismic shift in the landscape of UK politics with the Conservatives taking control of the House of Commons with a landslide victory. Whilst the reality of what lies ahead in the next 5 years remains to be seen, there will of course be an impact on employment law as a result of this election.

In their manifesto, the Conservatives proposed to create a single enforcement body for employment rights to enforce employment law

Government Launches Consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Government Launches Consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The government has just launched a consultation on how to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace. The consultation seeks views on how employers can be encouraged to better prioritise the prevention of sexual harassment.

Consideration is being given to a new duty to require employers to actively protect staff from harassment in the workplace. This would enhance current requirements by placing a preventative duty on employers to take action, for example, implementing an equality policy, raising awareness, providing training and dealing effectively with complaints.

The

Tribunal to Determine Whether Veganism Should Receive the Same Legal Protection as Religion

Tribunal to Determine Whether Veganism Should Receive the Same Legal Protection as Religion

It is fairly well known that the Equality Act 2010 affords protection against discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of religion (or religious beliefs).

Perhaps less well known is that it can also provide protection in relation to certain philosophical beliefs.

To be protected such philosophical beliefs must be more than an opinion or viewpoint ? it must be a genuinely held belief in relation to weighty and substantial part of human life and behaviour. It must also be serious and important, and have

Brexit what are the employment implications for businesses?

Brexit what are the employment implications for businesses?

As we approach 29 March there are changing levels of uncertainty around what might happen when the UK leaves the European Union, it is a good time to consider what options your business might have to take ahead of a possible Brexit.

The current position is that at 11pm on 29 March 2019 the United Kingdom will leave the E.U. This is known as the ?withdrawal date?. A European court has ruled that the UK can decide to halt the process and stay in the

Age Discrimination - a timely reminder of this issue

Age Discrimination - a timely reminder of this issue

Earlier this month, Acas issued guidance on age discrimination and information for workplaces outlining important points for businesses to consider including steps to take to avoid age discrimination in the workplace and examples of how age discrimination might occur.

Age is one of the nine protected characteristics within the Equality Act 2010. This means that an employee is protected against discrimination because of age. It is important to remember that this discrimination doesn't only occur when a 'young person' receives better treatment than an 'older

HR Resolutions for 2019

HR Resolutions for 2019

Before we all down tools for Christmas, it might be an idea to think about what sort of ?resolutions? you wish to make for your business in the coming year. Sometimes, the personnel issues are the ones that go to the bottom of a to-do list so now is a good time to think of what you are looking to achieve.

  1. Ensure your contracts and policies are up-to-date

One area that tends to go to the bottom of a to-do list is contracts and policies.

Fair Work Charter for Severe Weather

Fair Work Charter for Severe Weather

The Scottish Government and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) have jointly created A Fair Work Charter for Severe Weather, setting out guidelines for both employers and workers for managing the effects of severe weather on work. The Charter was developed as a response to the severe weather brought in by the ?Beast from the East? at the beginning of 2018 which had an impact on commuters and those with caring responsibilities.

The Charter is an extension of the 2016 Fair Work Framework which

Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental Health in the Workplace

Last week was National Stress Awareness Day, and is a good way to remind employers they should be ensuring the welfare of their employees, in particular their stress levels and overall mental health. Employers have a legal and moral obligation to ensure they aren?t discriminating against staff, specifically because of their mental health. Reasonable adjustments, by altering working conditions, to help employees with a disability, including mental health problems is the law.

While many organisations understand the impact of mental health in the workplace, it

Autumn 2018 Budget - key employment announcements

Autumn 2018 Budget - key employment announcements

On 29 October 2018, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, delivered the Autumn 2018 Budget. The Budget included the following measures of interest to employment practitioners:

  • Following the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, the government will increase the national minimum wage from April 2019 to the following rates:
    • Apprentices: ?3.90 an hour;
    • 16-17 year olds: ?4.35 an hour;
    • 18-20 year olds: ?6.15 an hour;
    • 21-24 year olds: ?7.70 an hour;
    • National living wage (workers aged 25 and over): ?8.21 an hour.
  • The government will meet its

Acas Early Conciliation - Increase From Previous Year

Acas Early Conciliation - Increase From Previous Year

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has published statistics on its early conciliation (EC) service for the period April to June 2018. The statistics show that the total number of EC notifications had increased by 53% as compared to the equivalent quarter of 2017.?The figures also show an increase in the proportion of EC cases which thereafter proceeded to a full employment tribunal claim: 23% of EC cases went forward compared to only 17% in the same quarter for 2017.

Acas early conciliation is

Acas Publishes New Advice on Job References

Acas Publishes New Advice on Job References

Acas, also known as The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, has produced new guidance on job references. Aimed at both employers and employees, it is based around the most frequently asked questions put to the Acas helpline. It explains what references are and provides information on what they should include, when they are required and how to deal with issues or problems. In particular, the guidance covers the following common questions:

  • Does a reference have to be provided?
  • What can a reference include?
  • Can an

Only 6% of UK working traditional 9am-5pm hours

Only 6% of UK working traditional 9am-5pm hours

Working nine-to-five is no longer the working norm according to a YouGov survey.

The survey reveals that a mere 6% work the traditional 9am-5pm workplace hours. Interestingly, only 14% of those polled would opt for these hours if given the choice.

A significant proportion (66%) said they would prefer to start earlier and finish earlier, with the most preferred options being 8 till 4 or 7 till 3.

Whilst this reflects a shift in labour requirements generally, it also shows a change in attitudes towards

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

It is quite a thought returning to work after a period of maternity leave and here we look at the things an employee will want to think about before going back to work.

    • You must take at least 2 weeks off after your baby is born (compulsory maternity leave), which is increased to 4 weeks if you work in a factory. Other than the compulsory maternity leave period, you can take up to 52 weeks maternity leave.
    • If you do not wish to take the

Sickness Absence at Lowest Rate on Record

Sickness Absence at Lowest Rate on Record

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics establish a significant fall in the number of sick days employees are taking off work. The figures reveal that employees took off an average of only 4.1 days in 2017, compared to 7.1 back in 1993 (the year records began).

The available data shows that the sickness absence rate started slowly decreasing in 1999, and continued to fall following the 2008 credit-crunch. There will be a multitude of factors contributing to this. It is suggested that the

More than ?390,000 of Employment Tribunal Awards Unpaid Due to Insolvency

Figures obtained from a freedom of information request to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) reveal that over ?390,000 of employment tribunal awards remained unpaid in 2017 due to insolvency of the employer.

The real amount may be significantly higher as BEIS is only aware of unpaid awards when it is notified by a claimant.?Experts suggest that these figures could be indicative of there being an element of "phoenixing", where an employer intentionally becomes insolvent to avoid the debt, and then creates

Philosophical Beliefs ? what are these and how are employees protected?

Philosophical Beliefs ? what are these and how are employees protected?

There have been a few recent employment tribunal decisions which have considered the position of philosophical beliefs, and what beliefs are protected. The Equality Act 2010 protects the rights of employees to practise their religion without fear of discrimination. However, certain employees hold philosophical rather than religious beliefs and these may be protected by law.

In 2009, an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision defined the criteria of a philosophical belief. It must:

  • be genuinely held
  • be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint, based

Fathers' Rights in the Workplace - Government Response

Fathers' Rights in the Workplace - Government Response

The government has recently published a response to the Women and Equalities Committee report on Fathers and the Workplace.

In March 2018, the Women and Equalities Committee published a report, Fathers and the Workplace, calling on the government to make improvements to fathers' rights at work. This included, for example, removing the qualifying period for paternity leave to make it a right "day one" from the first day of employment, and increasing the rate of statutory paternity pay to 90% of earnings.

The government has

It's getting hot in here: is it ever too hot to work?

It's getting hot in here: is it ever too hot to work?

Here?s a sentence we don?t often get to say: it?s getting hot! The coming days are set to see record temperatures across the UK, giving us the feeling of an actual summer for the first time in a long time. While we?ve had to contend with previous weather issues (the Beast from the East to name but one), being too hot is not often one of them. Here we look at the things that employers should be thinking about while we?re enjoying the current hot

The World Cup - Employers Ready For Kick-Off?

The World Cup - Employers Ready For Kick-Off?

With all the gorgeous weather we?ve been having, the start of the World Cup 2018 seems to have crept up on us (or is that just me?). The World Cup takes place in Russia between Thursday 14th June and Sunday 15th July. Football match times in the UK will vary between 11am and 8pm.

The World Cup is a big sporting event for many employees who may want to follow their favourite football team (sadly this does not include Scotland this time). Some

Building Your Limited Company: Steps to Success

Building Your Limited Company: Steps to Success

A limited liability company is a popular choice when considering business models. It has relatively small costs to set up and get going. However, the essential requirements can appear daunting.

This guide outlines the key elements below and gives sources that are available for support.

Articles of Association

These are the building blocks of your company. They state how important functions will operate e.g. Directors? powers. Model Articles are available on the Government?s website that cover all of the basic functions. However, they may not

Taxation of Termination Payments to Employees ? New Rules in Force

Taxation of Termination Payments to Employees ? New Rules in Force

Termination payments are often made to employees when the termination of their employment is governed by a settlement agreement.?New rules affecting the taxation of termination payments came into effect on 6 April 2018.

What are the changes?

There has been a change to the taxation of ?payments in lieu of notice? (PILONs), which are commonly part of any overall settlement.

Where employment terminates on or after 6 April 2018, there will now be no distinction between contractual and non-contractual PILONs. Both will now be subject

Employment Law Update - 2018

Employment Law Update - 2018

Each year, we see a number of proposals which have an impact for employees and employers alike, and this year proves to be no different. We thought that it would useful to give you an employment law update.

While some of the changes are those which we see every year, there are some which will have a greater impact on organisations.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

30 March 2018 was the date on which specified public authorities, including government departments, the armed forces, local authorities, the

The Abolition of Employment Tribunal Fees

The Abolition of Employment Tribunal Fees

Following the abolition of employment tribunal fees, many questions remain.? We will aim to clarify the situation as it currently stands.

When were tribunal fees abolished?

They were abolished on 26 July 2017, following a ruling by the Supreme Court that they were unlawful.

I have already paid tribunal fees - can I reclaim them?

Yes.

The government is putting in place a system to reimburse those who have had to pay employment tribunal fees in relation to their claim.? The details of the

Handling Subject Access Requests for Employers

Handling Subject Access Requests for Employers

Under the Data Protection Act, employees can ask to see any personal data about them that their employers hold. These are?called a Subject Access Requests (SAR), and can create potential legal problems for employers. What are the risks around SARs? And how employers should handle them?

The Risks

A SAR will likely be time-consuming and costly to an employer. They may need to look through a lot of data in order to find all of the information required.

SAR?s can also be risky for employers

Driving Employment Rights Forward

Driving Employment Rights Forward

What do you need to know about the Uber Employment Tribunal Case and how will this affect employment rights?

In a landmark decision, an Employment Tribunal has held that Uber, popular smart-phone taxi app, must treat its drivers as ?workers? opposed to self-employed. This gives Uber drivers a range of employment rights ? whilst placing obligations on Uber to uphold these. However, this case is likely to have wide reaching implications. This blog will look at the key facts of the Uber case ?

What should I know about hiring students?

What should I know about hiring students?

In 2015, 77% of university students worked to help fund their studies. With the new university year beginning, what do employers, and students, need to know about hiring students?

  1. ? Regulations for Younger Workers ?

Most university students are over the age of 18, but some students may be younger. Workers under the age of 18 have additional employment rights. For example 16 & 17 year olds are entitled to a 30 minute rest break if they work more than 4.5 hours. It is

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace ? What You Need to Know

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace ? What You Need to Know

In August 2016 a TUC survey of 1,500 women found that more than half of women of the women surveyed have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment is a key issue in the workplace today that has a severe impact on employers and employees. With this in mind we look at what you need to know about sexual harassment at work.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment is a broad term that covers a variety of situations. Both men and women can be

Key Changes Introduced by the Trade Union Act 2016

Key Changes Introduced by the Trade Union Act 2016

In a year that has seen headlines dominated by strikes of junior doctors and Scotrail staff, the introduction of the Trade Union Act 2016, is likely to be of great interest to both employers and employees. The Trade Union Act 2016 (TUA), which is expected to come into force throughout the year, incorporates a number of changes for the Trade Union regime throughout the U.K.

The Key Changes

Balloting

Before industrial action can take place, a Trade Union must ballot its members. Members will cast

How will Brexit affect employment law?

How will Brexit affect employment law?

On Friday the 24th June 2016 the country woke up to the news that the majority of voters in the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union. Whilst the implications of this referendum will be far reaching, the question on a number of people?s lips is how will Brexit affect employment law?

The UK will continue to remain a member of the EU until there is agreement on when we will leave. However, there are a number of employment issues that are

Maternity Related Discrimination: some worrying statistics

Maternity Related Discrimination: some worrying statistics

The Department for Business Innovation and Skill (BIS), together with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), commissioned research exploring pregnancy and maternity related discrimination in the workplace. The research involved interviews with over 3,000 mothers and over 3,000 employers in Britain.

While you may not all have the time or inclination to read the full report, the information that stemmed from the research is worrying, considering rights in relation to maternity and pregnancy discrimination have been around for so long.

Some of the key

Managing employees working from home

Managing employees working from home

An area of employment law which is gaining more ground is the issue of managing employees working from home. In fact I have been asked by a number of clients about this issue given more employees are making flexible working requests to work from home. It is important that employers are aware of how to manage employees working from home and using their own devices.

Homeworking is a type of flexible working which, depending on the agreement between employer and employee, can be also used

National Living Wage - what you need to know!

National Living Wage - what you need to know!

As you will have no doubt seen in newspaper headlines and Government advertising billboards, there is a ?new? rate of pay coming in ? the National Living Wage. In this blog, we look at what this change is and what it will mean for businesses.

There are currently four different hourly rates of National Minimum Wage (NMW) for different categories of worker:

  1. Standard rate for workers aged 21 or over: ?6.70
  2. Development rate: workers aged between 18 and 20 inclusive: ?5.30
  3. Young workers rate:

Legal highs, employment lows

Legal highs, employment lows

Employers routinely have to be live to changes to employment laws and practices to ensure that they operate within the scope of employment legislation. However, alongside these types of changes, employers should be aware of cultural changes which might have an impact on their place of work. One such cultural change which is becoming an issue for some is the rise in the use of legal highs. Following the release of Acas guidance on this subject, we look at this issue in more detail and

Employer?s end of year checklist

Employer?s end of year checklist

As we? approach the end of 2015, it is a good time for employers to think about what HR issues they want to address before the end of the year and get prepared for the individual challenges that the oncoming festive period offers up. Here are our top things for an end of year checklist:

  1. Do you need new staff? Now is a good time to think about your organisational needs and decide whether or not you will be looking to recruit new employees in

How to conduct a disciplinary hearing & appeal - Part 2

How to conduct a disciplinary hearing & appeal - Part 2

Following on from our previous blog, the second instalment in our disciplinary series looks at the disciplinary hearing.

If, after a reasonable investigation, the employer takes the decision to proceed to a disciplinary hearing, the employee should be notified in writing of this. The notification should contain information about the time and venue of the formal meeting and advise the employee of their right to be accompanied. The letter is likely to state who will conduct the disciplinary hearing, and it should not be carried

How to conduct a disciplinary investigation ? Part 1

How to conduct a disciplinary investigation ? Part 1

It is likely that most managers will have to deal with a disciplinary matter at some point in their career. It is important that a fair procedure is followed otherwise they risk any subsequent dismissal being classed as unfair. In our two part blog series we look at the factors to be considered by employers when dealing with a disciplinary matter. Here we look at how a disciplinary investigation should be conducted.

The first thing employers must do is familiarise themselves with the Acas

How to manage cancer in the workplace

How to manage cancer in the workplace

The ability to manage cancer in the workplace is becoming increasingly relevant for many employers and employees. More than 100,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer each year, in addition to the 700,000 people of working age living with cancer. There are also an estimated 500,000 carers of people with cancer working in the UK. This means that employers should understand their obligations to these employees, helping them through a difficult and stressful time.

People with cancer are protected from discrimination by law.

Off-side employment law - employee demotion

Off-side employment law - employee demotion

Another week, another footballing story which gives rise to some interesting employment law questions, including employee demotion. This time, it involves Jose Mourinho and his public criticism of the Chelsea FC team doctor and physiotherapist after they ran on to the pitch during stoppage time of a match against Swansea to treat a player. After the criticism by Mourinho, it was widely reported that both employees would have their role substantially changed so that they would no longer be on the bench during matches. This

The importance of a social media policy for employees

The importance of a social media policy for employees

Do you have a social media policy for employees? Employee use of social media is on the increase and so too are the number of cases going to employment tribunals on this area! The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held in a recent judgement that it was fair for an employer to dismiss an employee that made derogatory comments about his employer on Facebook.

In the recent case of British Waterways Board v Smith, the EAT considered whether it was fair to dismiss an

Gender Pay Gap Consultation

Gender Pay Gap Consultation

On the 14th July, the Government launched a consultation on the implementation of gender pay gap, ?Closing the Gender Pay Gap?. This gender pay gap consultation is important for a number of reasons.

Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 contains a power for the government to require private and third sector employers with more than 250 employees to publish information relating to the differences in pay between male and female employees.

Guidance on the "Think, Act, Report" framework has also been re-published. This

Employment implications of the 2015 budget

The Chancellor George Osborne delivered the first Conservative Budget in almost 20 years this week and there were some interesting announcements which will have employment implications.

Here is a summary of the main points:

  • A new National Living Wage will be introduced for all workers over the age of 25. This will replace the current National Minimum Wage, and it will be at the rate of ?7.20 an hour from April 2016, rising to ?9 an hour by 2020. It is estimated that this will

Working Time Directive and Mobile Workers

Working Time Directive and Mobile Workers

An opinion was given in a case before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which will interest a number of our clients who have workers who travel regularly as part of their role.?The Working Time Directive (the Directive), defines "working time" as any period during which the worker is working, is at the employer's disposal and is carrying out his activity or duties. The Directive defines "rest period" as meaning any period which is not working time. The Directive is implemented in UK law

Counter Grievance during Disciplinary Process

Counter Grievance during Disciplinary Process

A question which I am often asked is, "how do we deal with an employee who has raised a counter grievance during disciplinary proceedings?" This is a common occurrence and an issue which many employers are faced with.

Having received notification that they are subject to disciplinary proceedings, many employees react to this news by raising a counter grievance. This grievance could relate to a number of things including the disciplinary process itself or to a completely separate matter. However, unlike grievances which are raised