A warm welcome to Blake Morgan’s Summer newsletter, keeping you informed of the latest developments in Employment Law.
It has been another eventful few months, dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now approaching the end phase of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, more commonly known as the furlough scheme. Around 9.5 million individuals have been placed on furlough which has cost £31.7 billion so far. That sum could increase significantly depending on the take-up of the recently announced Job Retention Bonus. This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Interestingly, a number of high profile businesses have already announced that they will not be taking up the option of this bonus and others have stated that they are in fact in a position to pay back their furlough grants.
The introduction of flexible furlough from 1 July, was welcomed by employers and employees alike but returning to work presents many challenges. See our article for more details about how employers can manage the new working norm.
Where the return to work is to the workplace itself, employers need to ensure that their workplaces are COVID-19 secure. See our article which considers the most recent guidance on this topic.
Other recent developments include a landmark judgment about international data transfers, further details of the Government’s immigration proposals and an important EAT decision about discrimination arising from disability.
Regarding news about our Employment, Pensions, Benefits and Immigration teams I am delighted to inform you about our latest round of promotions. Gillian McCue and Sean McNulty have been promoted to Legal Director, Vicky Schollar is now Senior Associate, Maddy Mould becomes an Associate and Nia Pawley has been promoted to Senior Solicitor. They have all made a significant contribution to the continued success of Blake Morgan and we wish them well. But that’s not all for Maddy! Reward Strategy is a leading online news and information service for payroll, reward, pensions, benefits and HR sectors. Maddy was recently named in the Top 25 Employment Lawyers in the Reward Strategy 300 2020 Index.
Finally, you will not be surprised to learn that we are unable to run our popular Employment Clubs in September in their usual format. However, I am pleased to inform you that we will be running more of our Employment webinars. Our clients tell us that the two big issues they’re currently dealing with is how to open up their workplaces to employees and how to deal with a shift to more homeworking. We are going to look at these topics in detail in our two part series “Working with COVID and the future of your working arrangements” to help you understand the legal issues involved and offering practical examples, tips and tactics. The first webinar in our two part series will be on 18 August and you will receive an invitation shortly. I do hope you can join us.
What are the business challenges and solutions for the new working norm?
As many businesses look to the future of what will be the new working norm, we consider some of the current challenges and practical and legal solutions, including for employers considering permanent changes to the way staff work.
What steps can employers take to make their workplaces COVID-19 secure?
Employers must have a clear understanding of the devolved lockdown regulations applicable to their region as well as the accompanying guidance if they are to be compliant. The guidance is extensive and updated regularly and we look at some key issues.
What is adequate protection for international data transfers?
In a landmark judgment, the recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union involving the validity of the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US will have significant implications for businesses and a need for them to review their international data flows.
How can employers avoid discrimination arising from disability?
The EAT has recently held that in assessing proportionality, a balancing exercise needs to be carried out and this will mean balancing the reasonable needs of the business against the discriminatory effect of the employer’s actions on the employee.
What are the risks of making redundancies during furlough?
With decreasing Government contributions from August and the furlough scheme ending on 31 October, many employers are turning their minds to the possibility of making redundancies during the furlough period and we consider the key issues that need to be addressed.
What are the recent immigration developments employers need to be aware of?
The Government has recently published more details of its Points-Based Immigration System. This builds on the statement published earlier in the year and although there are no major surprises, there are important clarifications of key areas.
What is the Government’s response to the consultation on public sector exit payments?
Following a second consultation exercise, the Government has recently published its response. It details the public sector employers and types of payment that will be within the scope of the Regulations capping public sector exit payments as well the circumstances when the cap can be waived.
How to deal with harassment in the remote workplace?
Workplace harassment is not always face to face. It can occur over the telephone, by email or on social media, all of which are increasingly relevant as people continue to work remotely during the coronavirus crisis.
I hope you will find all the articles above informative and helpful, and if you would like any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch with your usual Blake Morgan contact.
For those of you who are taking holidays over the summer, we hope you have a good break and that your plans aren’t disrupted.
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