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Addison Lee drivers found to be workers: what can we learn from the latest case on worker status?

Barely a week goes by without worker status finding its way back into the headlines. The EAT this week upheld a tribunal's decision that three private hire drivers engaged by Addison Lee, which offers various transport services, are workers. The EAT confirmed the tribunal's ability to look beyond the contract in place to the reality of the working arrangements and endorsed the adoption of a "realistic and worldly-wise" approach.
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Addison Lee drivers found to be workers: what can we learn from the latest case on worker status?

Dismissal of pilot with anxiety-related sickness absences held to be procedurally unfair

In Matthew Guest v. Flybe Limited, the Birmingham Employment Tribunal considered whether the dismissal of a pilot who had various anxiety-related sickness absences was fair and found that it was not.
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Dismissal of pilot with anxiety-related sickness absences held to be procedurally unfair

Parental bereavement leave and pay: scheme starts to take shape

In September, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 received Royal Assent (as we reported here).  The Act really just enables the government to introduce regulations and it has now published its response to the consultation, which took place earlier this year, giving some indication of how the new scheme will operate when it comes into force in, we expect, 2020.
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Parental bereavement leave and pay: scheme starts to take shape

No break for the CJEU in deciding holiday pay cases

Holiday pay seems to have been at the forefront of the Court of Justice of the European Union's (CJEU) mind this week as the court has been busy deciding two cases on the matter. Both are helpful to remind employers of their obligations in respect of providing employees with paid annual leave.
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No break for the CJEU in deciding holiday pay cases

Phase 2 of the EU Settlement Scheme trial set to commence soon

With the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019, the EU Settlement Scheme provides the basis for resident EU citizens and their family members to obtain the immigration status they will need to remain in the UK. It is anticipated that EU citizens and their family members who are resident in the UK or who move to the UK before 31 December 2020 will have to submit an application by 30 June 2021. Under the scheme, applicants may be granted either settled status if they have been in the UK for five years (indefinite leave to remain) or pre-settled status (limited leave to remain) if they have not reached the five-year mark at the time of making their application.

Phase 1 of the EU Settlement Scheme trial

The Home Office conducted an initial phase testing from 28 August to 17 October, in which EU nationals from 12 NHS trusts in the north-west of England, as well as students and staff from three Liverpool universities, were invited to apply for residence documentation via the EU Settlement Scheme.

1,053 applications were received. From those, 924 decisions were made and sent out to applicants by 30 October. Based on automated checks made against HMRC data, 85 per cent of those 924 applicants did not have to provide additional evidence. The other 15 per cent had to provide additional evidence to demonstrate their residence.

Phase 2 and next steps

The second phase of private testing will commence on 1 November 2018, and will cover a much wider group of potential applicants, including those with more complex cases who may not have a complete set of government data. From 15 November students and staff at UK universities will be able to apply, and from 29 November the testing pool widens again with inclusion of workers in health and social care.

Implications for employers

With the success of Phase 1 and the announcement of Phase 2, employers should ensure their employees have access to the most up-to-date information, and understand the key elements of the EU Settlement Scheme.

Phase 2 of the EU Settlement Scheme trial set to commence soon

Harassment allegations: the catalyst for Google staff walkout

Thousands of Google staff (employees and contractors) across 50 locations walked out of their jobs on Thursday 1 November in protest at the company’s response to claims of sexual harassment and gender inequality. The demonstrations took place at the company’s offices around the world, beginning at 11.10am in Tokyo before rolling out across Europe and North America, finishing at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

The walkout came after it emerged that Google reportedly gave Andy Rubin, a former executive, a US$90 million severance package after he left the company, despite the “credible” sexual misconduct allegations against him. It has also been reported that Andy Rubin is among a number of Google executives who have had allegations of sexual misconduct made against them.

One of the protest organisers summed up the company’s action as “the US$90 million straw that broke the camel’s back”. In the wake of the #metoo movement, recent sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump and, more recently, Sir Phillip Green, such a statement resonates with all and is no longer falling on deaf ears. Employees are now finding the courage to speak up on what appears to be a hidden issue in many workplaces.

As such, we recommend employers listen to, and do not ignore or take lightly, allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct. Employers should ensure they have sexual harassment policies in place with clear details of what constitutes sexual harassment and details of the process for reporting it safely and anonymously. This should be coupled with training to ensure all staff understand what constitutes unacceptable behaviour in the workplace. Employers must do all they can to ensure employees are kept safe and must enable employees to speak up on the issue without fear of retaliation.

Harassment allegations: the catalyst for Google staff walkout

UK gender pension gap at almost 40 per cent

Many inches have been written on the UK's gender pay gap in the past year, including on this blog. However, little attention has been given to the gender pension gap. New analysis from the trade union Prospect on UK household incomes suggests the gap between men's and women's pension income is almost 40 per cent (or around £7,000). To give some context, that is more than twice the current gender pay gap, which according to the latest Office for National Statistics figures is now 17.9 per cent for all employees.
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UK gender pension gap at almost 40 per cent

Immigration Health Surcharge increase – one month to go

On 11 October 2018, the House of Commons introduced the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2018, which seeks to double the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) from £200 per visa applicant, per year of visa validity, to £400 per visa applicant, per year of visa validity. The increase is set to come into effect in December 2018, subject to Parliamentary approval. This is particularly relevant to employers who provide Tier 2 sponsorship to non-EEA nationals. To minimise the impact of the IHS increase, employers should review their pipeline of new applications and in-country extensions and consider applying before the increase takes effect.
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Immigration Health Surcharge increase – one month to go

Context is key in claims of harassment

In the recent case of Evans v. Xactly Corporation Limited the EAT considered whether calling an employee a "fat ginger pikey" constituted harassment relating to disability and/or race. In the particular circumstances of this case, the EAT held that it did not.
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Context is key in claims of harassment

Taxation of termination payments: employer NIC charges further delayed to April 2020

In the 2016 Budget, the government announced that termination payments over £30,000 would be subject to employer Class1A national insurance contributions (NICs) from April 2018. Termination payments over the tax-exempt threshold of £30,000 are currently only subject to income tax. In the 2017 Budget, the government announced that this change would be delayed for a year and take effect from April 2019.

However, in the Autumn 2018 Budget earlier this week, the government announced that this change will be further delayed. Subject to any further postponements, employer NICs on termination payments over the £30,000 threshold will now become payable in April 2020.

Whilst most termination payments fall below £30,000, for employers this announcement will come as a welcome, albeit temporary, reprieve from additional costs in those cases where the tax-exempt threshold is exceeded.

Taxation of termination payments: employer NIC charges further delayed to April 2020