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Samuel Phillips Law Blog

Employment

Employment

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – How to Claim

Rishi Sunak signed off the treasury direction to HMRC on 1 October 2020. Find out how to claim under the JRBS.

Employment

Working from home – the generational divide

Over a third of those currently employed are now working from home, including half of those who normally worked in an office before lockdown. In a new survey by Ipsos MORI, 6 in 10 (59%) of those now working mainly from home say it is not a challenge, while 40% admit to experiencing at the very least, fairly challenging circumstances.

Employment

Should I stay or should I go?

At first consideration you might expect the average UK worker to be desperate to get back to the “normality” of their working environment, to meet colleagues not seen for months save for a “Brady Bunch” Zoom collective and a sense of identity rekindled in routine. There’s also the opportunity to be free of the same four walls and as much as you love them, have space from the children and partner (probably a bonus for them too) so you can re-establish working relationships and get to know what’s really happening behind the scenes.

Employment

When Signed Agreements Fail

A recent finding of an Employment Tribunal has added fuel to the call for greater clarity concerning the definition of a “worker”. This case O’Eachtiarna and others v CitySprint (UK) involved five cycle couriers who were engaged by CitySprint. The couriers claimed they were entitled to holiday pay as they were “workers” for the company a point that was contested by the respondent.

Employment

Job Retention Bonus Scheme and Notice

Rishi Sunak has just issued the summer statement and has outlined details of a job retention bonus scheme.  Guidance is to be issued by 31 July, which I suspect means in practice 5.00 pm 31 July 2020. The requirements of the scheme seem to be quite simple.

Employment

Redundancy Selection Criteria – KISS

Redundancy selection criteria is one of the most contentious areas within redundancy.  It need not be.  As the acronym suggests “keep it simple stupid”. You can have objective criteria (eg attendance).  You can have subjective criteria (eg attitude).  In effect, as long as the criteria you select are not utter drivel eg “karma” that is fine.  The key issue is to draw up clear guidelines of what you mean and how you score with examples.

Employment

Flexible Furlough Scheme

1 July is the day that the Flexible Furlough Scheme starts. Those who have been on furlough and are going to remain on furlough do not require anything.  Leave them alone. To those you are intending to potentially return to work under the Flexible Furlough Scheme either part time or increasing hours or flexible hours then there needs to be a Flexible Furlough Agreement issued and preferably signed.

Employment

Redundancy Selection Pools

There are no hard and fast rules about drawing up selection pools.  However the good news is, there is more than one way in which to create a selection pool and as long as your way is reasonable, that is good enough, even if there is another way that is also reasonable. The first question you ask yourself is what is the area of work that is changing?  This could be a geographic change such as closing a depot or a change in the type of work which the business is performing.

Employment

Avoiding Redundancy

The law requires you to look at means of avoiding redundancies before you proceed to them. It takes some time for the redundancy and notice costs to unwind and for wage savings to manifest themselves. Finally, when you lose staff you lose customer contacts and organisational knowledge.  Is it worth it if you are potentially going to have to recruit in the foreseeable future thereby incurring recruitment and induction costs.

Employment

The three most common types of redundancy and three most common failings

In this article, senior partner Robert Gibson explores the three different types of redundancy, including common mistakes in how employers term redundancies. Robert also details the most common types of challenge and advises on the best way to avoid the three main pitfalls facing employers.

Employment

Redundancy – starting the process

Redundancy is where you close all or part of your business or employ fewer people to run it. You begin any redundancy process by asking the question why – what has changed.  What steps have you taken already to try and save costs (bank, landlord, suppliers).  Going forward what does the “new normal” look like.  Take a little time to set down some basic facts and figures in a simple business overview.

Employment

FFS yet more guidance

On 12 June 2020, HM Revenue and Customs published further updates to the official guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The updated guidance now includes details of how the scheme is to be wound down between July and October this year, as announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 29 May.

Employment

The Four Day Week – A Post Pandemic Answer?

There’s a growing body of opinion amongst leaders of countries and corporations that a four-day week may well be the answer to a phased return to work. New Zealand’s impressive PM, Jacinda Ardern, discussed the option during a recent Facebook live broadcast. Specifically referencing the need to boost the tourism sector she identified that 60% of the industry’s income was generated by locals.

Employment

Track and Trace + Health & Safety = Employment Disputes?

There’s a strong possibility that the forthcoming launch of the Government’s Track and Trace system aligned with concerns over health and safety at work, as employees start to return, may lead to an increase in disputes between staff and employers.

Employment

Furlough Scheme Update

Here below please find a summary of the Chancellor's recent notification (29th May) highlighting revisions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) aka “Furlough”. From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time. Individual organisations will need to decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work. The employers will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

Employment

Latest update on the Self-Employment Income Support & Flexible Furlough Schemes

Read our factsheet article to get the lowdown on the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self-Employment Income Support Schemes.

Employment

Holiday Rights and Pay during Coronavirus

The Department for Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy has published guidance on Wednesday 13 May about holiday entitlement.  It is guidance and subject to interpretation by the Courts but as I happen to agree with it, I venture to suggest it is good guidance. 

Employment

Return to Work v Health & Safety arguments

We are now receiving mixed messages from the Government along the lines of return to work but stay at home.  We are not sure whether to use public transport or walk ahead of it.  As for the kids, they’ll get back to us on that one.  Still as long as we stay alert all will be well.

Employment

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Government has today launched what may well prove to be an extremely popular loan scheme. Application forms are completed online with any of the approved banks.  The business bank will tell you which are the approved banks. I think this is a potentially good piece of news.  Not as good as a grant but a whole lot better than the ill-fated coronavirus business interruption loan scheme.

Employment

Preparing for the new normal – Furlough, Collective Consultation and Redundancy

The Government’s job retention scheme is due to end on 30 June 2020. Employees can be subject to notice whilst on furlough.  In previous postings I have indicated they are probably entitled to full pay, albeit there is a counter argument, with the employer recouping furlough monies from HMRC.

Employment

Settlement Agreements, Notice and the impact of Furlough

Settlement Agreements are the only way by which a potential claim to an Employment Tribunal can be lawfully compromised. For such an Agreement to be enforceable, it must be in writing, specify the particular complaints to which it relates and the employee must have the benefit of independent advice from an adviser who has the benefit of professional insurance, or in the case of an accredited trade union representative is certified by the trade union as being qualified to give advice.

Employment

Settlement Agreement and the Impact of Notice Payments whilst on Furlough Leave

Settlement Agreements (formerly known as Compromise Agreements) are the only means by which to compromise potential Employment Tribunal claims where proceedings have not been issued. Settlement Agreements are creatures of statute and the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) states that in order for a Settlement Agreement to be enforceable there must be a written agreement, which refers to the claim, identifies the parties and the employee must take independent legal advice on the agreement from someone who holds a policy of insurance to give such advice (e.g. a solicitor).

Employment

Leaving employment by agreement – protected conversations

There are many ways in which an individual can leave his or her employment.  Often this involves complex legal procedures which can easily go wrong.  The easiest and most dignified manner in which an individual can leave, is by consent. This involves protected conversations under Section 111A ERA 1996.

Employment

Office Health & Safety Issues after Lockdown

Things will never be the same... that’s the conclusion people are coming to during this enforced period of lockdown. It’s important therefore to assess the impact of new technology and new ways of working when considering the future after lockdown. What will the office structure of the future look like? What will be the new "normal"?

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