Latest updates

Working from home FAQs
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 January 2021

Employers must immediately review their homeworking practices in light of both the new national lockdown and continually changing government advice. In the longer term, this will also mean reviewing homeworking policies and arrangements on a more formal basis. These FAQs summarise the government guidance on work under the current lockdown and a range of other considerations that employers must take into account in relation to homeworking.

Right-to-work checks for EEA nationals during first half of 2021
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 January 2021

The Home Office has confirmed that there will be no change to the right-to-work (RTW) check procedure for EEA nationals who start work in the United Kingdom between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021 (the post-transition grace period). However, it has left unanswered the question of what to do when an EEA national has no RTW.

Who is considered an 'essential worker' under the latest Level 5 public health restrictions?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 20 January 2021

Under the latest Level 5 restrictions, employees in Ireland must work from home unless they are classified as essential workers and their work cannot be done at home. The government has updated the list of essential workers to provide that it does not include workers who perform administrative or other support activities for businesses, unless these constitute essential administrative and support activities and the physical presence of the administrative or support worker in the workplace is required.

What's happening in employment law in 2021?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 13 January 2021

Although the COVID-19 pandemic still dominates the agenda, the employment law landscape continues to evolve. This article reviews the significant developments in 2020 (eg, the establishment of the furlough scheme and various other emergency measures) and looks ahead to what is on the horizon for employment law in 2021 (eg, the IR35 reform, the possible introduction of the new Employment Bill and the impact of the Brexit trade deal).

What does the Brexit trade deal mean for immigration law?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 13 January 2021

With the end of the Brexit implementation period comes the end of the free movement of persons. This is the case irrespective of the fact that the United Kingdom has secured a trade deal with the European Union. Employers and individuals must digest what the new immigration rules look like, both for EEA and Swiss nationals (aside from Irish nationals) wishing to come to the United Kingdom and British nationals wishing to go to the continent.

How Brexit affects UK immigration to Ireland
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 06 January 2021

As of 1 January 2021, British nationals visiting or working in the European Economic Area will be restricted. With Schengen rules being introduced for visitors and work visas being required elsewhere in the European Economic Area, this article considers what the end of free movement looks like for British nationals looking to visit or work in Ireland and some further updates to Ireland's immigration and work permit schemes.

What does the Brexit trade deal mean for employment law?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 06 January 2021

The United Kingdom and the European Union have published their Trade and Cooperation Agreement. As predicted, in return for a tariff and quota-free trade deal, the United Kingdom has agreed that it will not reduce employment law rights below the standards that existed on 31 December 2020 – but only if this affects trade or investment. This article assesses the implications that the deal might have for employment law.

New frontier worker route launched
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 23 December 2020

On 10 December 2020 the United Kingdom opened up a process for EEA nationals to apply for a frontier worker permit. This will allow some cross-border commuters who work in the United Kingdom but live abroad to continue their working pattern after the end of the Brexit transition period.

Vaccination for COVID-19 – can employers require their employees to be vaccinated?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 23 December 2020

With a vaccination against COVID-19 in sight, many employers in Ireland will understandably be eager to have their employees vaccinated in hope of their workplace returning to some form of normality. This article explores some of the legal issues of which employers must be aware.

What implication does 'long COVID' have for employers?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 23 December 2020

This article explores the growing phenomenon of 'long COVID' – the continuation of serious symptoms and effects for a significant period after a person's initial COVID-19 infection and illness. People who suffer from long-term health conditions may be 'disabled' in law and so protected from discrimination under the Equality Act. This article considers whether long COVID could amount to a disability for these purposes and the potential consequences for employers more generally.

Government consultation on reform of non-compete clauses underway
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 December 2020

The government recently launched a consultation on reforming the law concerning post-termination non-compete clauses in employment contracts. Its proposals include making such terms enforceable only if employers pay individuals for the period of restriction or, alternatively, prohibiting the use of such clauses altogether. The consultation will mark a radical departure from the current and longstanding legal framework if it ultimately leads to the introduction of statutory regulation in this legal area.

Q&A: right-to-work checks beyond 2020
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 December 2020

The end of the transition period and freedom of movement is only a few weeks away. Although employers are busy getting to grips with the post-Brexit immigration system, they are also concerned about what changes they must make to their right-to-work check procedures and when. This Q&A – based on questions asked by attendees of a recent webinar – answers the key questions on this matter.

New immigration act becomes law
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 09 December 2020

The Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 recently received royal assent. The act provides the legislative basis for ending EU free movement arrangements in the United Kingdom after the end of the transition period and recognising the immigration status of Irish citizens in the United Kingdom.

Gender pay gap reporting in Ireland – are we there yet?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 09 December 2020

The gender pay gap (GPG) is the percentage difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women. This article reviews the current position on the GPG in Ireland, what is happening with the proposed legislation to introduce mandatory reporting and what employers should be doing now.

Vaccination for COVID-19 – can employers require employees to be vaccinated?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 09 December 2020

With a vaccination against COVID-19 in sight, many employers will understandably be eager to have their employees vaccinated in hope of their workplace finally returning to some form of normality. This article explores some of the legal issues of which employers must be aware.

Home Office issues new guidance for sponsors
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 02 December 2020

The Home Office has issued new guidance for sponsors which replaces the Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsor guidance. It covers the skilled worker, intra-company transfer and temporary worker routes and aims to provide information on sponsorship when these routes are launched from 1 December 2020.

High Court rules that 'workers' should be protected from health and safety detriment
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 02 December 2020

The High Court recently ruled that the United Kingdom has failed to properly implement EU health and safety law by restricting protection from detriment on health and safety grounds to 'employees'. The extension of such protection to the broader category of 'workers' potentially increases employers' exposure to COVID-19-related health and safety claims.

Is it time for a specific right to disconnect in Ireland?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 02 December 2020

The mass move to homeworking triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and home and reignited the debate on the right to disconnect. Notwithstanding the protection afforded to employees under existing working time rules and health and safety legislation in Ireland, the current legal framework is inadequate to ensure a genuine right to disconnect. It remains to be seen how the government will choose to tackle the issue.

Immigration Rules confirmed for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) citizens
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 November 2020

From 31 January 2021 two new immigration routes will be introduced for British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) citizens and their adult children who were born on or after 1 July 1997. These two routes are BN(O) status holder and BN(O) household member. The Home Office recently published the detailed Immigration Rules for these routes, which this article summarises.

Lockdowns and remote working – to what extent can employees be monitored?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 November 2020

With reports of businesses increasingly taking steps to monitor staff who are working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a key question that has emerged is whether employers can actively monitor those who are working remotely and, if so, how intrusive can that monitoring be? This article discusses the legal considerations and how employers can strike an appropriate and fair balance between work and home life.

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