Employment newsletter - Spring 2019

Posted by Joanne Davies on
A warm welcome to Blake Morgan's Spring newsletter, keeping you informed of the latest developments in Employment Law. 

There is still no end in sight to the Brexit uncertainty, but there are plenty of recent and forthcoming Employment law developments to keep you busy.   

The recent consultation exercise on the high profile issue of preventing the misuse of confidentiality clauses in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination has now ended and see our article for more details. The Government's response is expected in the summer and we will keep you updated.   

However, that's not the only consultation exercise that could have significant implications for employers. There may also be increased redundancy protection for pregnant women and women on maternity leave and for more details of another recently concluded consultation exercise please see our article.

Looking at the private sector specifically, the Government intends to extend the off-payroll rules in the public sector to the private sector with effect from April 2020 and is currently consulting on various proposals. The consultation exercise ends on 28 May 2019 and my colleague Cathy Bryant has written an article on what those proposals may mean in practice and how to prepare for any changes.

The increase in Employment Tribunal claims continues unabated (accompanied to some degree by an increase in Data Subject Access Requests) and carrying out a fair disciplinary procedure is crucial. A recent Court of Appeal case on suspension from work provides useful guidance for employers on this key stage of the disciplinary process. 

I hope you will find all the articles 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. Please also take a look at the Oxford and South Coast Employment events taking place this summer which are set out at the end of this email.

Finally, I am delighted to inform you about Cathy Bryant's promotion to Partner from 1 May 2019. Cathy, a tax specialist, is now a Partner in the firm's Corporate team and as well as advising on tax matters in corporate transactions Cathy also works closely with our employment lawyers on a wide range of employment-related tax matters such as termination payments made to employees, the calculation of post-employment notice pay and the application of IR35 including the new off-payroll working rules mentioned above. We all wish Cathy the very best in her new role.

Private sector off-payroll rules – preparation is key!

Following on from the introduction of the off-payroll rules for the public sector in 2017, the Government intends to extend these rules to the private sector with effect from April 2020. The Government's consultation exercise closes on 28 May 2019 with draft legislation due to be published in the summer of 2019.

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Increase in Subject Access Requests: GDPR one year on…

Data subjects have the right to access their personal data and supplementary information through making a Subject Access Request (SAR). Under the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018 individuals also have additional new rights. We are seeing an increase in such requests and take a look at what employers need to know.

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Confidentiality clauses: what businesses need to know

The recent consultation exercise on the high profile issue of preventing the misuse of confidentiality clauses in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination has now ended and the Government's response is expected in the summer.

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New Corporate Governance rules

New rules from January this year affect not just quoted companies, but companies with more than 250 employees, with an increased requirement for directors to report on a variety of matters.

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Suspending an employee from work  

Whether or not to suspend an employee pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct is a serious decision to make, one that many employers often find difficult. A recent Court of Appeal decision provides helpful guidance.   

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Brexit and right to work checks update

With Brexit postponed, the Government reiterated its commitment to reaching a deal with the EU but some aspects of the position of EU nationals in the UK remain unsettled. Nevertheless, in recent months we have seen some welcome clarifications from the Government.   

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Should employers stop work-related messaging?

What are the perils involved for employers where employees use instant messenger applications to discuss work-related matters?

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Are redundancy protections part of the parenting puzzle?

Women on maternity leave receive preferential treatment in redundancy situations; for example, being offered a suitable alternative vacancy above those not on maternity leave. Will this protection be extended to pregnant employees and other parents?

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Resurrected consultation on public sector exit payments

The Government has recently published a consultation paper resurrecting plans to put in place a £95,000 cap on public sector exit payments, a measure first proposed back in August 2015.

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Neurodiversity in the workplace

Do you know what neurodiversity means and its implications for the workplace? Our article provides more details and considers the steps employers should be taking to support neurodiversity.

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Events: 

Blake Morgan and Hays HR Forum: 23 May 2019, Oxford

Our second HR Forum of our Spring series of lunchtime HR Forums takes place on Thursday 23 May 2019 in our Oxford office in conjunction with Hays.

The month of May sees "Mental Health Awareness week" (from 13 May – 19 May 2019) and we are delighted that Oxfordshire Mind will be speaking about improving you and your employees' wellbeing in the workplace through "five ways to wellbeing". To register for this event please go to the event page. 

Employment Law & Employment Tax Update in association with Wilkins Kennedy - Legal and Tax implications of Handling Agreed Terminations: 10 July 2019, 9.30am-12.30pm, Southampton

In association with Wilkins Kennedy, we will be holding a half-day event at our Chandler's Ford offices to keep you up to date with the latest developments in employment law and employment tax, including a specific focus on bringing employment to an end by agreement. Our Employment law team, together with experts from Wilkins Kennedy, will look at the legal, practical and tax implications of "protected conversations" and settlement agreements, including PENP calculations, that HR professionals need to be familiar with. This session will also be suitable for payroll professionals and others in your organisation interested in how the legal and tax aspects of terminating employment sit together. Please email elaine.law@blakemorgan.co.uk to register your interest and further details will be sent in due course.

Practical Solutions For Managing IR35 in Your Recruitment Business: 13 June 2019 2pm – 5.00pm, Southampton

Hosted by Blake Morgan, iConsult and APSCo, this event provides recruitment companies with practical advice on IR35 and the off-payroll working rules (where end clients must make a determination whether, but for the contract for services, the worker would be an employee of the client for tax purposes), as they move into the private sector from April 2020. Professional Passport will also be at the event providing expert advice as and there will also be industry experts talking about their experiences of IR35 and how to tackle the forthcoming changes. There will be a chance to hear first-hand from those in the public sector some of the challenges now faced by the private sector, including discussion on the preparation and activities required to ensure the business and all stakeholders are ready to deal with the impact. The event will include networking and a legal update from Blake Morgan. To register – please click here

About the Author

Joanne is the head of the firm's Employment, Pensions and Immigration group.

Joanne Davies
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029 2068 6121

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