Lewis Silkin is widely recognised as a leading specialist employment law practice. Our team of over 100 UK lawyers includes 23 partners. Clients range from large corporations and PLCs to entrepreneurs, and include those in a variety of sectors including advertising and marketing, media and entertainment, retail, hospitality & leisure, technology, professional services, financial services and sports business. Lewis Silkin is the UK member of Ius Laboris, the world’s leading HR practice, and is also the UK representative of the Global Advertising Lawyers' Alliance (GALA), an international alliance of lawyers with expertise in advertising and marketing law.
Employment & Immigration
Employers are facing many difficult and untested employment law issues as the United Kingdom rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination programme. These FAQs cover whether employers can make vaccination compulsory for employees, alternatives to a mandatory requirement, time off for vaccine appointments, handling vaccine objectors, data privacy concerns and other issues.
The Home Office recently sent a voluntary survey to sponsors of workers to gather information about the time and cost associated with holding their sponsor licence. This will be used to assist the Home Office to design an improved sponsorship system for workers and to evaluate it once implemented. The proposed changes to the system are substantial and are aimed at streamlining and simplifying processes for sponsors, as well as delivering a faster process for bringing migrants to the United Kingdom.
Ethnicity pay gap reporting: new legislation looks unlikely after Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities' reportUnited Kingdom | 05 May 2021
Ethnicity pay gap reporting should be voluntary, according to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities' new report. The report describes ethnicity pay gap reporting as a "potentially useful tool" but one that must be approached with care. The guidance that the report recommends would be welcome. Until now, many employers have simply been making their best guess as to how to analyse and interpret data, meaning that ethnicity pay gap figures are not necessarily comparable from one employer to the next.
The main EU Settlement Scheme deadline is 30 June 2021; however, there are other deadlines and considerations of which applicants and their employers may be unaware. Although it is possible to make a late application, this will be allowed only where the individual can demonstrate reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. This article highlights a selection of issues that relate to the main deadline or will start to have practical implications after 30 June 2021.
The Home Office has confirmed that the COVID-19-adjusted right-to-work check process will end on 16 May 2021. Although employers will need to undertake fully compliant right-to-work checks from 17 May 2021, they will not have to carry out retrospective checks where the adjusted process has been used. Many employers have expressed concern that the return to full compliance is premature and unworkable.
In the Spring 2021 Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a £7 million fund to operate a new flexi-job apprenticeship programme. From July 2021, organisations will be able to bid for money from the fund to create new agencies, which will employ apprentices and allocate them to multiple employers. The government's new programme will help businesses to share apprentices and brings the promise of greater flexibility.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that, where a worker has taken a period of unpaid holiday, they will not be entitled to a backdated payment for it (or any earlier periods) if they do not submit a claim within a three-month limitation period after the claim has arisen. This case provides welcome clarity for employers, following the uncertainty created by a European Court of Justice ruling, on the holiday payments for which workers are entitled to claim.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is seeking stakeholders' views on the operation and effectiveness of the intra-company transfer immigration route, as well as a potential expansion of the immigration options for overseas businesses setting up a presence in the United Kingdom. The deadline for submitting responses to the MAC's call for evidence is 15 June 2021. The MAC is due to report back to the government in October 2021.
The Supreme Court has confirmed that retail staff of UK supermarket chain Asda can compare themselves to higher-paid distribution depot staff for the purposes of an equal pay claim. This decision provides an opportunity for employers to review their pay strategies and look to identify differences in pay between similar level jobs across different sites.
The Home Office recently clarified the documentation that sponsors of workers must keep regarding their recruitment activity. The changes are helpful and should not be onerous for sponsors to comply with; however, there may be actions that some employers will need to take to ensure compliance. This article highlights the changes that are set out in Appendix D to the sponsor guidance, which covers document-keeping requirements for sponsors.
The government has published new COVID-19-secure guidance for office settings which includes updated guidance on who should go to work. The guidance restates that anyone who can work from home should do so. However, the guidance goes on to state that employers should consider whether homeworking is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties or those with a particularly challenging working environment at home.
Supreme Court decides that care workers are not entitled to minimum wage when asleep during 'sleep-in' shiftsUnited Kingdom | 31 March 2021
In a significant case for the care sector, the Supreme Court has finally given its long-awaited judgment on whether care workers working so-called 'sleep-in' shifts are entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW) for periods when they are asleep. The decision makes clear that individuals who are expected to sleep during a shift are entitled to the NMW only when they are awake for the purposes of performing duties.
The Home Office has provided UK employers with further details about which actions they may take when checking the right to work of EEA nationals and their family members during the post-transition grace period from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021. The guidance covers topics including checking right-to-work documentation issued under the Immigration Rules and carrying out retrospective right-to-work checks for existing employees.
The Home Office is launching a new graduate route from 1 July 2021 and is making amendments to the skilled worker route from 6 April 2021, including changes to the shortage occupation list, the eligible occupations, the salary calculation rules and the compliance requirements where a salary is reduced. This article discusses the implications of the main changes and flags the changes that will most likely be of interest to employers.
Testing for COVID-19 at work is set to play an important role in the government's gradual reopening plans with employers being strongly urged to sign up for free lateral flow tests. These FAQs cover the legal issues and considerations that employers should take on board before rolling out a workplace testing programme.
The Skilled Worker visa route is designed for individuals who have been recruited to work in the United Kingdom in a specific job. The job offer must be from a Home Office-approved sponsor and for an eligible skilled occupation. This article outlines everything that applicants should know regarding the Skilled Worker visa, including with regard to its purpose and conditions, its eligibility requirements, settlement and dependants.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended with a fifth and final grant covering May 2021 to September 2021, with further guidance on eligibility for the fourth grant (covering 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021). The fourth grant will be calculated at 80% of three months' average trading profits and will be capped at £7,500. The fifth grant will be calculated on a different basis, reflecting the government's intention that businesses should be operating more normally by the end of June 2021.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced in the Spring Budget 2021 an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, better known as the 'furlough scheme', for all sectors until 30 September 2021, with employer contributions gradually increasing from 1 July 2021. The latest announcement is highly welcome news for many employers.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak recently presented the Spring Budget 2021 and announced a range of immigration measures designed to help highly skilled and skilled international talent come to the United Kingdom to support business growth, particularly for scale-up businesses, innovative businesses and intra-company transfers. The measures also aim to contribute to the advancement of key industry sectors such as academia, science, research and technology.
The Supreme Court has unanimously decided that drivers engaged by Uber are workers rather than independent contractors. It also decided that drivers are working when they are signed into the Uber app and ready to work. As the Supreme Court has dismissed Uber's appeal, the case will now return to the employment tribunal to decide the substantive claims, which concern holiday pay and minimum wage.
Tier 2 (General) migrants cannot have a shareholding of more than 10% in their limited company sponsor; however, the skilled worker route does not include this restriction. How can a Tier 2 (General) migrant take advantage of this change if they are offered a shareholding that would take them above the 10% threshold? The lifting of the maximum shareholding requirement for the skilled worker route should open doors to more businesses and business founders wishing to work in the United Kingdom.
Employers are facing many difficult and untested employment law issues as the United Kingdom rolls out its COVID-19 vaccination programme. These FAQs cover whether employers can make vaccination compulsory for employees, alternatives to a mandatory requirement, time off for vaccine appointments, handling vaccine objectors, data privacy concerns and other issues.
In a welcome move, the European Union has notified the United Kingdom that all EU countries will apply the 'detached worker' exception to UK employees who are temporarily seconded to work in the European Union. Similarly, the United Kingdom will apply the detached worker exception for EU employees who are temporarily seconded to work in the United Kingdom. This article reviews the latest position.
From 15 February 2021, international arrivals to England must quarantine in a government-managed hotel if, within the 10 days before their arrival, they have been in or transited a country to which a travel ban applies. Additional post-arrival COVID-19 testing has been mandated from the same date. A raft of penalties will also apply for non-compliance.
Since the beginning of 2021, the government has implemented a raft of additional travel and entry measures to minimise the spread of new COVID-19 variants in the United Kingdom, including pre-departure COVID-19 testing, travel bans, the suspension of travel corridor arrangements and the requirement that visits to the United Kingdom be for an essential purpose. This article outlines the recent developments for travel to England.
University College London has lost its appeal against an employment tribunal's decision that it unlawfully disciplined a union activist for refusing to comply with an instruction to take down an email list that he had created for union communications. This case shows that employers should be cautious when disciplining or dismissing employees for actions that could be characterised as trade union activities, even if their actions might otherwise amount to misconduct.
Free movement between the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area and Switzerland has ended and has been replaced in the United Kingdom by the domestic immigration system, including the new points-based immigration system. EEA and Swiss nationals (excluding Irish nationals) who want to work in the United Kingdom now need some form of visa permission, depending on when they arrived in the country. This change has significant implications for UK employers.
A recent French law has banned discrimination against someone because of their regional accent. This article examines the UK legal position in relation to accent discrimination and goes on to consider the related issue of 'codeswitching' and its potential negative effects.
Under the new immigration system launched on 1 December 2020, the skilled worker route has replaced Tier 2 (General). Benefits for employers include the fact that there are fewer restrictions on switching to the Skilled Worker visa from within the United Kingdom, the skills threshold has been lowered to Regulated Qualifications Framework Level 3, the salary thresholds have been reduced and the resident labour market test has been removed.
Counting the cost – Court of Appeal rules that budget considerations can justify indirect discriminationUnited Kingdom | 27 January 2021
In a recent case, the Court of Appeal revisited the so-called 'costs-plus' rule and considered the extent to which employers can rely on cost and budget considerations when justifying policies that may disadvantage some protected groups. If employers have a policy which is indirectly discriminatory and their aim is no more than to save money, the Court of Appeal has ruled that this cannot justify the discrimination. However, needing to balance the books can be a valid justification for indirect discrimination.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The government's Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended for a further six months, providing two further three-month grants after the expiry of the second grant period. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced that all three months of the third grant will be calculated at 80% (with a £7,500 cap), which will no doubt be welcome news for the self-employed as England enters its new lockdown.
Employers have lots of questions regarding the new immigration system that will apply in 2021, particularly with regard to the Skilled Worker visa, which will replace Tier 2 (General) from 1 January 2021. This Q&A – based on questions asked by attendees to a recent webinar – answers employers' main questions.
The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) has been extended until the end of March 2021. Although this is welcome and will allow for more effective business planning, the new five-month extension may mean that some employees will spend an entire year on furlough. This article discusses what is currently known about how the scheme will operate.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has accepted a commission from the home secretary to review intra-company transfer visa arrangements. The MAC has also been asked to consider what provision could be made to allow overseas businesses to send a team rather than one individual to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, or carry out a secondment to work on a high-value goods or services contract. The report is due by the end of October 2021, with a revised route likely becoming available in 2022.
Despite the EU Settlement Scheme being publicised as simple and straightforward, there are many potential pitfalls for the unwary, particularly when the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic are factored in. To avoid them, individuals must be aware of the scheme and get to grips with it before the end of 2020. This article sets out some of the potential pitfalls and suggestions for how to avoid them.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) will be extended rather than closed as originally planned. The extension will cover a new lockdown in England, which is expected to come into force on 5 November 2020 and last until 2 December 2020. This article summarises the immediate questions and implications for employers and provides possible wordings that they can use to inform employees of the changes.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has significantly expanded the Job Support Scheme after objections from businesses, particularly those in Tier 2 areas, that they are facing massively reduced demand but less support from the government than Tier 3 businesses legally forced to close. The changes could have a significant impact – but employers have little time to take the steps needed to take advantage of the scheme before it takes effect on 1 November 2020.
The Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 813 was recently published. This key document outlines the features of the government's points-based immigration system and simplifies the language and structure of some areas of the Immigration Rules. The new system will apply to EEA and Swiss nationals, aside from Irish nationals. This article highlights some of the changes that are likely to be of most interest to employers.
The Global Talent visa route is designed for individuals who are recognised or emerging leaders in digital technology and wish to work in the United Kingdom. Successful applicants will be granted up to five years' leave in the United Kingdom and can apply to extend their visa as many times as they like. This article outlines the criteria for endorsement used to assess whether an applicant qualifies as either a recognised or an emerging leader.
New regulations underpinning the three-tier lockdown system are now in force in England as part of the government's efforts to step up its response to the pandemic. This article considers whether the new regulations will demand a stricter approach to office work, as well as what may constitute a gathering, the rules for travelling to work in a different tier and how to approach client and internal work meetings.
The Migration Advisory Committee has recommended a significant expansion of the occupations deemed to be in shortage for the purposes of sponsorship under the new skilled worker category, which will replace Tier 2 (General) from 1 January 2021. The Home Office will now need to consider the recommendations and finalise the Immigration Rules for skilled workers.
It is almost inevitable that the coming months will see employers receiving more employment tribunal (ET) claims. Imminent changes in ET procedures are likely to reduce case backlogs and lead to claims progressing to a hearing more quickly in a climate in which employment disputes are increasing. How will this affect employers?
From 1 January 2021 there will be a new immigration system in the United Kingdom. Due to free movement ending, the new system will apply to EEA and Swiss nationals as well as non-EEA nationals. Employers must start to prepare for this change now. This article provides a timeline which outlines the areas that employers must consider and suggests timeframes for taking action.
The government's new Job Support Scheme (JSS) replaces the furlough scheme and will start on 1 November 2020. The JSS will provide ongoing wage support for people in work, provided that employers meet certain access conditions, employees are working at least 33% of their usual hours and employers also provide additional wage support. This article answers FAQs covering eligibility, how the scheme works, what employers must agree with employees and alternative resourcing options for employers.
The Home Office recently published new Immigration Rules for students. The rules provide the first glimpse of the new points-based immigration system and highlight what some of its implications will be, not only for students, but also for employers and workers. While the new rules for work routes will not be published until later in Autumn 2020, the new rules for students provide some significant pointers on the Home Office's general thinking and flag some areas in which further policy clarifications will be needed.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced a new Job Support Scheme to replace the furlough scheme. It will start on 1 November 2020 and run for six months. This article sums up the key features of the scheme and looks at the important questions from an employment law perspective.
What health and safety obligations do employers have towards employees and visitors with regard to face coverings in the workplace? How should they enforce wearing face coverings if people refuse? And how should they protect employees from abusive customers or visitors? This article discusses the current rules regarding face coverings at work and some of the practical issues that may arise for employers.
Employers and other stakeholders have until 1 October 2020 to provide the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) with views on how well the commercial partners of UK Visas and Immigration are performing, for applications made both in the United Kingdom and abroad. The ICIBI is seeking evidence from stakeholders on whether commercial partners are meeting the needs of UK visa applicants.
This article outlines everything that applicants should know regarding the Innovator visa, including with regard to the purpose and length of stay, endorsing bodies, endorsement criteria and genuineness and other considerations. The innovator route is open to applicants who are experienced businesspeople looking to establish a business in the United Kingdom and are the founders of their business, relying on their own business plans, among other things.
This article explores the legal limits of positive action in the workplace, including situations where it is permissible to give preference on gender or ethnicity grounds to make up for a historic lack of opportunity and what employers can and cannot do to improve diversity in their shortlists or hiring slates.
Recent years have seen rapid growth in the use of algorithms in employment, particularly in recruitment. Algorithms are now being used in interviews – for example, to assess candidates on their facial and vocal expressions. This article explains why claims regarding algorithms and discrimination are likely to become more common in the years ahead, something which UK employment law and enforcement mechanisms are ill-equipped to deal with.
This article outlines everything that applicants should know regarding the requirements for the Start-up visa, including with regard to the purpose and length of stay, endorsing bodies, endorsement criteria and genuineness and other considerations. The start-up route is open to applicants who are looking to establish a business in the United Kingdom for the first time and are the founders of their business, relying on their own business plans, among other things.
Despite further attempts at delay, the final version of the notorious private sector IR35 rules are now enshrined in the Finance Act 2020, which recently received royal assent. Under the IR35 rules, from April 2021 large and medium-sized businesses will be required to determine the status of any contractors providing their labour to the business through personal services companies or other intermediaries and, if appropriate, operate pay as you earn and make national insurance contributions.
EEA nationals and their employers are now turning their minds towards how frequent business and work travellers and cross-border commuters can continue to come to the United Kingdom from 2021. For some, the best solution may be offered by the EU Settlement Scheme, but there are also other options to consider.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have caused millions to work from home for the first time – an experience likely to cause a surge in requests for flexible working arrangements once most employees are asked to return to the workplace. This article considers the legal position and the practicalities for employers in dealing with flexible-working requests.
The Home Office has started to make early contact with sponsors whose licences are due to expire before the end of 2020. These sponsors will be able to apply to renew their licences earlier than the usual maximum 90 days before expiry. This should help to avoid delays at the end of 2020 when thousands of licences are up for renewal at the same time as European free movement ends for UK citizens.
Recent events in the Conservative party have focused attention on the question of what an employer should do if one of its employees is accused of committing a crime. If the alleged victim and the accused are expected to work alongside each other, if there is a significant potential risk to the safety of other people or if the nature of the allegations alone is damaging the reputation of the organisation, employers are, at the very least, entitled to act.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought questions around migrants' rights to access public funds and the National Health Service (NHS) into the spotlight. Migrants can access the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme via their employer. However, there are limits to the government assistance which some migrants are entitled to following disruption to their normal income, and access to free NHS healthcare may also be unavailable to some people.
The supply of labour is a growing area of the UK economy. As employers require more flexible staffing solutions, new business models have emerged offering a range of labour-supply options. Many businesses that have historically provided services have also expanded into the supply of labour, providing their clients with people to supplement their existing workforce. This article sets out the key obligations of businesses that supply labour and the consequences of non-compliance.
In a last-minute update on 29 July 2020, the Home Office pivoted towards a return to business as usual regarding immigration policy. Some significant concessions remain available until at least 31 August 2020; however, there are a number of potential pitfalls of which employers and individuals should be aware.
The Home Office recently updated its policy guidance to confirm a surprisingly limited concession to the usual minimum income requirements that most applicants for partner and child visas must meet. The guidance is intended to ensure that applicants are not disadvantaged as a result of circumstances beyond their control because of COVID-19. However, it is concerning for multiple reasons.
A requirement to self-isolate for 14 days in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 has been re-imposed on all people returning to the United Kingdom from Spain. Happening in the middle of peak summer holiday season, how does this affect employees who are already travelling or due to travel in the next few weeks?
The official guidance remains that employees should work from home if they can, but the prime minister recently announced that this will change on 1 August 2020. Employers will be able to ask employees who have been able to work from home since the lockdown to return to their workplace, provided that they have taken steps to ensure that the workplace is COVID-19 secure and social distancing measures are in place.
The Home Office has released the first guidance on the new Health and Care visa for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, including individuals working in the social care sector. The Health and Care visa will be available from 4 August 2020 and will fall under the Tier 2 (General) category.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31 October 2020, with employers required to start contributing from August 2020 and a new flexible furlough option available from July 2020. This article highlights the latest developments, including with regard to flexible furloughing arrangements, government contributions and claim deadlines.
The Home Office has published a more detailed policy statement on the changes to the UK immigration system due to come into effect from 1 January 2021, including its redesign of points-based immigration routes. The statement summarises the planned reforms to the most commonly used work, business, study and visit routes ahead of simplified immigration rules and guidance being published in Autumn 2020. This article outlines the key policy points for specific immigration categories and arrangements.
As national lockdown restrictions begin to ease, employers can expect local lockdowns to become more common. This article explores the relevant HR and employment law issues, including with regard to employee pay, refurloughing and staffing workplaces that are trying to stay open.
This article sets out the main immigration law issues and Home Office guidance of which employers need to be aware so that they can consider the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for their business. It summarises the latest updates and provides further details on issues ranging from logistical considerations to Tier 2 and prevention of illegal working requirements.
The government's Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended to provide a second three-month grant for self-employed individuals affected by COVID-19 after 13 July 2020. The value of the second self-employed grants has been reduced to 70% of trading profit for three months. The government has made it clear that financial support cannot continue indefinitely, and that this will be the final grant instalment under the self-employed scheme.
The government recently announced its commitment to establishing a new visa scheme for all British National (Overseas) persons and their dependants. The visa will provide a readily available opportunity for millions of Hong Kong residents to move to the United Kingdom more easily and honours the United Kingdom's historic commitment to Hong Kong.
Windrush Day is a time to celebrate the substantial and ongoing contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants, who helped to rebuild the United Kingdom after World War II and have influenced the United Kingdom's social, cultural and political landscape ever since. It is also a time to reflect on righting the wrongs of the Windrush scandal and focus on the fight against racism.
COVID-19 is causing many employees to ask if they can work from home for an extended period overseas (eg, because it is their home nation or because their family is based there). Employers should consider a variety of issues – including the tax, social security, immigration and employment implications – before agreeing to an employee's request to work from home when home is not in the United Kingdom. This article discusses the issues and sets out practical steps that employers can take to minimise risks.
The government has published updated guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, setting out the pathway to its phasing out. The guidance provides details of the complex mechanism under which flexible furloughing (ie, part work and part furlough) will be allowed from 1 July 2020.
UK visa processing is slowly starting to resume, but it is not yet business as usual. There are still many things that employers and applicants must monitor and potential pitfalls to avoid. The issues relating to processing remain complex and, as each country is moving out of lockdown at a different pace depending on their local restrictions, each application should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
With Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests taking place across the United Kingdom and worldwide, many businesses have publicly stated their commitment to equality and the BLM movement. However, what happens when the experience of current or former black, Asian and minority ethnic employees is alleged not to live up to that standard? Employers must find ways to address such complaints and take appropriate action where needed.
New rules require most international travellers who arrive in the United Kingdom from 8 June 2020 to self-isolate for 14 days. There is an exemption for cross-border workers; however, how this works in practice is not straightforward. This article examines the exemption and provides information for employers with regard to eligibility.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme may have been extended until 31 October 2020, but employers should already be thinking about what their workforce might look like following the end of subsidised furlough and a return to more normal working patterns. This article answers key questions on options for restructuring workforces, including with regard to ending or extending furlough, notice and redundancy payment rights during furlough, changing terms and conditions and dealing with redundancies.
The Brexit transition period will end on 31 December 2020. EEA nationals and their family members who are resident in the United Kingdom before that date have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. In doing so, they will obtain either settled or pre-settled status. The Home Office recently confirmed two points concerning EEA nationals and their family members.
The government has set out its roadmap for gradually easing the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, but as employees begin to return to work, there will continue to be many individuals who are unwell or required to self-isolate. This article answers some of the most frequently asked questions about sickness absence and sick pay during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the rules on statutory sick pay and the position of people who are self-isolating, shielding or otherwise vulnerable.
The Home Office recently published an expanded list of COVID-19 frontline workers' occupations entitling them and their family members to a free and automatic one-year extension of leave. The expanded list includes biochemists, midwives and paramedics. Controversially, other frontline health and social care workers – in particular, care workers and home carers – have been excluded from the extension arrangements.
Following the government's publication of its post-COVID-19 recovery strategy, employers are beginning to consider how they may safely reopen their workplace for those who cannot work from home. Employers have statutory duties to provide a safe workplace, but what of risks faced by employees during their commute to work? For many employees, the key concern is not what happens in the workplace, but rather the risks of using public transport to get there.
Employers have until 24 June 2020 to provide their views to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on what occupations should be on the shortage occupation lists for UK sponsored skilled migration from 1 January 2021. Employers can complete an online form outlining details of what occupations they have difficulty recruiting for and why. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the MAC would also like to hear from employers that are unable to respond before the deadline, but can provide details for future research.
Under the Home Office's current guidance for right to work (RTW) checks, it is possible to conduct a fully compliant initial or follow-up RTW check without seeing an individual face to face. Where this is impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office has instituted a temporary adjusted procedure, which must be backed up by retrospective checks in due course. This article summarises the options and procedures and highlights some general points to be aware of during the pandemic.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended by a further four months until 31 October 2020. The furlough scheme will continue in its current form without any changes until 31 July 2020. However, new flexibility will be introduced from the beginning of August 2020, with the aim of getting employees back to work and boosting the economy. Employers should use the news of the furlough scheme extension to think proactively about the next stage of their business continuity plans.
COVID-19 has changed the ways in which businesses run and there is still some time before it is 'business as usual'. Most employers are grappling with new ways of working, with many employees working from home. However, what should employers do if they become aware of an allegation of misconduct or wrongdoing? This article considers whether a remote investigation is the right step to take and what employers should bear in mind if they conclude that it is.