Welcome to our August/September 2022 edition of Employment Up-To-Date.
Read on for a roundup of some of the latest news and developments in relation to employment.
In the News: Growth Plan 2022: Key Employment Aspects
The new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced a number of employment measures in the mini budget last week. The measures are set out in the Government's Growth Plan 2022 and include certain key changes.
In the News: Sunset on Retained EU Law: Where does it leave UK employment law?
The Government is looking to remove or replace retained EU law and last week it introduced the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022 to Parliament. Following Brexit and to ease the transition out of the EU, the body of applicable EU law which was in force in the UK on 31 December 2020 was kept on the statute books and became known as "retained EU law". The rationale set out in the Government's press release following publication of the Bill explains that, "…having mapped where EU-derived legislation sits on the UK statute book, [the Government] is bringing forward this Bill in order to fully realise the opportunities of Brexit, and to support the unique culture of innovation in the UK."
IN THE NEWS: Consultation on new controls for public sector exit payments
The Treasury has launched a consultation on proposed new controls for public sector exit payments over £95,000. The guidance which was published alongside the consultation stipulates that the government's ambition is to reduce the use of large exit payments in the public sector and comes after the revocation in 2021 of the previous regulations limiting public sector exit payments following a government review which concluded that the regulations had "unintended consequences". The consultation closes on 17 October 2022.
IN THE NEWS: Bill of Rights Bill dropped
There are a number of reports in the press that the Bill of Rights Bill 2022-23 has been dropped by the government. The bill would have repealed the Human Rights Act 1998 and formed a new framework for domestic human rights in the UK whilst keeping the UK a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. It has been reported that the government is looking into different legislative options for reform.
IN THE NEWS: HMRC publishes warning for agency workers and contractors employed by umbrella companies
HMRC's Spotlight 60 warns agency workers and contractors employed by umbrella companies about the tax avoidance arrangements used by some umbrella companies. HMRC is concerned that some umbrella companies use disguised remuneration schemes such as loans or salary advances to claim that certain payments are not taxable and the spotlight provides guidance on the warning signs of tax avoidance arrangements. This is also an indication that HMRC is keeping umbrella companies under close scrutiny.
IN THE NEWS: Police Registration Scheme for foreign nationals suspended
The Police Registration Scheme in the UK which required certain foreign nationals to register with the police was suspended on 4 August 2022. Changes to the wider UK immigration system since the Scheme was introduced mean that now more people are screened before travelling to the UK so individuals of concern can be identified earlier. The data a foreign national used to provide under the Scheme is now captured by the Home Office at the visa application stage and therefore already available to the police. Individuals who have been issued with a visa with the requirement to register but who are yet to travel to the UK will have their visa reissued or be notified of the changes prior to travel. Individuals already in the UK and who have registered with the police will no longer be required to communicate any updated personal details to the police. Individuals will still need to report changes of address/personal details and other changes in circumstances to the Home Office online.
UK BUSINESS IMMIGRATION UPDATE: REINTRODUCTION OF PRIORITY SERVICES AND PROCESSING DELAYS
With the reintroduction of priority services for out-of-country visa applications after being suspended earlier this year, we provide a round-up of the latest developments and delays affecting visa applications.
UK CASE UPDATE: POLITICAL NEUTRALITY: GUIDANCE ON POLITICAL OPINION EXEMPTION
In Scottish Federation of Housing Associations v Jones the EAT has ruled that the exception to the two years' qualifying period for dismissals where the reason relates to the employee's political opinions or affiliation did not apply to a dismissal for being in breach of a requirement for political neutrality.
UK CASE UPDATE: PAY AWARD FOR RAIL WORKERS IN THE UK WAS AN UNLAWFUL INDUCEMENT
In Ms N Jiwanji & Others v East Coast Main Line Company Limited & Others an employment tribunal has ruled that a pay award put directly to rail workers did bypass collective bargaining and was an unlawful inducement under s145B TULRCA. Whilst this is an employment tribunal decision (and therefore not binding on other tribunals), it is an indication of how tribunals are likely to interpret s145B TULRCA in light of the decisions in Kostal and Ineos which we have reported previously.
International Update: Companies must fully record working time for their employees – New court decision changes the legal situation in Germany
Companies in Germany are required to introduce a system to record fully the working time worked by their employees following a decision by the German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) on 13 September 2022.
INTERNATIONAL UPDATES ON EMPLOYEE LEAVE BENEFITS (IRELAND)
The Irish Government recently brought in significant changes to leave entitlements for employees with the introduction of a statutory sick pay scheme and extending parent's leave entitlements from 5 weeks to 7 weeks.
INTERNATIONAL UPDATE: BLOWING THE WHISTLE: IS YOUR ORGANISATION READY FOR THE NEW WHISTLEBLOWING LEGISLATION (IRELAND)?
The Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022 (the Act) has been signed into Irish law by President Higgins and is due to commence shortly on the signing of a ministerial order.
AG PUBLICATIONS AND EVENTS:
We are delighted that our annual Employment and Immigration Group Training Day for in-house employment lawyers and senior HR professionals will be taking place on 10 November 2022 in our London office. It is the unmissable event of the year and designed to equip you with what you need to know to meet the challenges ahead. This year we are delighted to be joined by Chris Grant OBE, one of the most senior black administrators in UK sport, and global adviser on leadership and inclusion. More details will follow soon, but in the meantime please save the date.