The Supreme Court has unanimously decided that drivers engaged by Uber are workers rather than independent contractors. It also decided that drivers are working when they are signed into the Uber app and ready to work. As the Supreme Court has dismissed Uber's appeal, the case will now return to the employment tribunal to decide the substantive claims, which concern holiday pay and minimum wage.
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.
Tier 2 (General) migrants cannot have a shareholding of more than 10% in their limited company sponsor; however, the skilled worker route does not include this restriction. How can a Tier 2 (General) migrant take advantage of this change if they are offered a shareholding that would take them above the 10% threshold? The lifting of the maximum shareholding requirement for the skilled worker route should open doors to more businesses and business founders wishing to work in the United Kingdom.
In a welcome move, the European Union has notified the United Kingdom that all EU countries will apply the 'detached worker' exception to UK employees who are temporarily seconded to work in the European Union. Similarly, the United Kingdom will apply the detached worker exception for EU employees who are temporarily seconded to work in the United Kingdom. This article reviews the latest position.
From 15 February 2021, international arrivals to England must quarantine in a government-managed hotel if, within the 10 days before their arrival, they have been in or transited a country to which a travel ban applies. Additional post-arrival COVID-19 testing has been mandated from the same date. A raft of penalties will also apply for non-compliance.
The Immigrant Investor Programme offers non-EEA nationals a route to residency in Ireland by offering four investment options to investors who satisfy certain criteria – namely, that they are of good character and have a minimum net worth of €2 million. This article discusses how the programme works, its benefits and how high-net-worth individuals can use it as a means of obtaining residency rights in Ireland.
Since the beginning of 2021, the government has implemented a raft of additional travel and entry measures to minimise the spread of new COVID-19 variants in the United Kingdom, including pre-departure COVID-19 testing, travel bans, the suspension of travel corridor arrangements and the requirement that visits to the United Kingdom be for an essential purpose. This article outlines the recent developments for travel to England.
The new Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work recently entered into force. The code provides an updated definition of what bullying is and, importantly, what does not constitute bullying. The code sets out the steps that employers should take to prevent bullying and the measures that they should take to investigate any complaint. This article reviews the main points that employers should consider.
University College London has lost its appeal against an employment tribunal's decision that it unlawfully disciplined a union activist for refusing to comply with an instruction to take down an email list that he had created for union communications. This case shows that employers should be cautious when disciplining or dismissing employees for actions that could be characterised as trade union activities, even if their actions might otherwise amount to misconduct.
A recent French law has banned discrimination against someone because of their regional accent. This article examines the UK legal position in relation to accent discrimination and goes on to consider the related issue of 'codeswitching' and its potential negative effects.
The Workplace Relations Commission recently found that an employee had been unfairly dismissed when her employer rejected her request for remote working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome may encourage more employees to bring constructive dismissal claims where they feel that their employer has not adequately addressed their health and safety concerns, especially as workplaces are now seen as high-risk environments for COVID-19 transmission.
Free movement between the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area and Switzerland has ended and has been replaced in the United Kingdom by the domestic immigration system, including the new points-based immigration system. EEA and Swiss nationals (excluding Irish nationals) who want to work in the United Kingdom now need some form of visa permission, depending on when they arrived in the country. This change has significant implications for UK employers.
The government has launched the 'Making Remote Work' National Remote Work Strategy, which aims to ensure that remote working "is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace that maximises economic, social and environmental benefits". Under the strategy, the government promises to, among other things, mandate that remote work be the norm for 20% of public sector employees and develop a code of practice for the right to disconnect.
In a recent case, the Court of Appeal revisited the so-called 'costs-plus' rule and considered the extent to which employers can rely on cost and budget considerations when justifying policies that may disadvantage some protected groups. If employers have a policy which is indirectly discriminatory and their aim is no more than to save money, the Court of Appeal has ruled that this cannot justify the discrimination. However, needing to balance the books can be a valid justification for indirect discrimination.
Under the new immigration system launched on 1 December 2020, the skilled worker route has replaced Tier 2 (General). Benefits for employers include the fact that there are fewer restrictions on switching to the Skilled Worker visa from within the United Kingdom, the skills threshold has been lowered to Regulated Qualifications Framework Level 3, the salary thresholds have been reduced and the resident labour market test has been removed.
The Home Office has confirmed that there will be no change to the right-to-work (RTW) check procedure for EEA nationals who start work in the United Kingdom between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021 (the post-transition grace period). However, it has left unanswered the question of what to do when an EEA national has no RTW.
Under the latest Level 5 restrictions, employees in Ireland must work from home unless they are classified as essential workers and their work cannot be done at home. The government has updated the list of essential workers to provide that it does not include workers who perform administrative or other support activities for businesses, unless these constitute essential administrative and support activities and the physical presence of the administrative or support worker in the workplace is required.
Employers must immediately review their homeworking practices in light of both the new national lockdown and continually changing government advice. In the longer term, this will also mean reviewing homeworking policies and arrangements on a more formal basis. These FAQs summarise the government guidance on work under the current lockdown and a range of other considerations that employers must take into account in relation to homeworking.
With the end of the Brexit implementation period comes the end of the free movement of persons. This is the case irrespective of the fact that the United Kingdom has secured a trade deal with the European Union. Employers and individuals must digest what the new immigration rules look like, both for EEA and Swiss nationals (aside from Irish nationals) wishing to come to the United Kingdom and British nationals wishing to go to the continent.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic still dominates the agenda, the employment law landscape continues to evolve. This article reviews the significant developments in 2020 (eg, the establishment of the furlough scheme and various other emergency measures) and looks ahead to what is on the horizon for employment law in 2021 (eg, the IR35 reform, the possible introduction of the new Employment Bill and the impact of the Brexit trade deal).