The Home Office has significantly expanded the policy to allow continuity of residence in the United Kingdom to be preserved in certain circumstances where an EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applicant has been absent from the United Kingdom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy has been published in response to a successful legal challenge by the charity, Here for Good, and operates as a concession outside the Immigration Rules until such time as the EUSS Rules can be formally amended.
The European Court of Justice has confirmed that Tesco shop workers can rely on EU law to compare themselves with distribution centre workers for the purposes of an equal pay claim. This decision may make it easier for equal pay claimants to compare themselves with employees working in different jobs in different locations and means that claimants in the United Kingdom can rely on the EU single source test in all types of equal pay claim, so long as a single employer can rectify any pay inequality.
The increase in homeworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing many employees to ask whether they can work from 'home' from an overseas country – be that on a temporary basis or indefinitely. Employers should consider a variety of issues 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.
As part of the government's 'new plan for immigration', the Home Office has released a strategy statement setting out its plans for legal migration and border control. The statement outlines elements of the Home Office's ambitious multi-year programme for modernising, simplifying and developing visa routes within the UK immigration system following the end of free movement, as well as achieving greater border security.
The government is easing legal restrictions in relation to domestic and foreign travel at a time when many employees have built up significant holiday entitlement and are longing for a break. At the same time, the ever-changing situation makes it hard for everyone to make plans, with businesses that have made redundancies facing especially tough resourcing challenges. As a result, novel questions are being raised about employee rights and policy approaches in relation to holidays.
The Home Office has changed its policy on the use of UK residence cards (also called 'EEA biometric residence cards' or 'EEA BRCs') after 30 June 2021. The updated policy confirms that the cards can be used by individuals who have status under the EU Settlement Scheme and for one entry by those who intend to apply under the scheme. Through its updated policy position, the Home Office is seeking to partially address the bottleneck in application processing.
A set of traffic light ratings was recently put in place for determining pre and post-arrival COVID-19 measures for travelling to England. This policy ends the 'stay at home' rule, under which travel from England was prohibited without a reasonable excuse, and opens up the possibility of entry to the United Kingdom without a quarantine period being required.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in continuing uncertainty for employees wanting to travel abroad this summer. Many will be keeping their fingers crossed that the restrictions will lift sufficiently to allow them to visit family overseas or warmer holiday destinations, with some thinking about extended trips, possibly combining work and holiday. This article summarises the potential legal issues associated with this and some practical steps which employers can take to limit the possible risks.
At 11:00pm on 31 December 2020 free movement between the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area and Switzerland ended. This change has had significant implications for UK employers, which must ensure that they understand how the rules affect their business, how their recruitment plans and budgets are affected and whether their staff have the correct status to allow them to continue working both in the United Kingdom and abroad. This article sets out recommended action points for 2021.
The 2021 Queen's Speech contained no mention of an Employment Bill, confirming that it is no longer a key priority for the government. A Downing Street source was reported as saying that an Employment Bill would be introduced "when the time is right", citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the ongoing delay. What does this mean for the many employment law reform proposals that have been building up in recent years?
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.