Latest updates

New code of practice on right to disconnect
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 14 April 2021

The government has published its promised code of practice on the right to disconnect from work outside normal working hours. Implementing a right-to-disconnect policy will set a good grounding for an organisational culture in which the line between work and leisure is both visibly respected and taken seriously. This article explains what is in the new code and what it means for employers in Ireland.

Supreme Court allows supermarket's employees to make equal pay comparison
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 14 April 2021

The Supreme Court has confirmed that retail staff of UK supermarket chain Asda can compare themselves to higher-paid distribution depot staff for the purposes of an equal pay claim. This decision provides an opportunity for employers to review their pay strategies and look to identify differences in pay between similar level jobs across different sites.

Important amendments to document-keeping guidance for sponsors of workers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 07 April 2021

The Home Office recently clarified the documentation that sponsors of workers must keep regarding their recruitment activity. The changes are helpful and should not be onerous for sponsors to comply with; however, there may be actions that some employers will need to take to ensure compliance. This article highlights the changes that are set out in Appendix D to the sponsor guidance, which covers document-keeping requirements for sponsors.

Going back to the office – latest guidance
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 07 April 2021

The government has published new COVID-19-secure guidance for office settings which includes updated guidance on who should go to work. The guidance restates that anyone who can work from home should do so. However, the guidance goes on to state that employers should consider whether homeworking is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties or those with a particularly challenging working environment at home.

Home Office issues further guidance on right-to-work checks for EEA nationals during grace period
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 31 March 2021

The Home Office has provided UK employers with further details about which actions they may take when checking the right to work of EEA nationals and their family members during the post-transition grace period from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021. The guidance covers topics including checking right-to-work documentation issued under the Immigration Rules and carrying out retrospective right-to-work checks for existing employees.

Supreme Court decides that care workers are not entitled to minimum wage when asleep during 'sleep-in' shifts
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 31 March 2021

In a significant case for the care sector, the Supreme Court has finally given its long-awaited judgment on whether care workers working so-called 'sleep-in' shifts are entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW) for periods when they are asleep. The decision makes clear that individuals who are expected to sleep during a shift are entitled to the NMW only when they are awake for the purposes of performing duties.

Launch of new graduate route and changes to skilled worker route announced
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 24 March 2021

The Home Office is launching a new graduate route from 1 July 2021 and is making amendments to the skilled worker route from 6 April 2021, including changes to the shortage occupation list, the eligible occupations, the salary calculation rules and the compliance requirements where a salary is reduced. This article discusses the implications of the main changes and flags the changes that will most likely be of interest to employers.

Workplace testing – FAQs for employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 24 March 2021

Testing for COVID-19 at work is set to play an important role in the government's gradual reopening plans with employers being strongly urged to sign up for free lateral flow tests. These FAQs cover the legal issues and considerations that employers should take on board before rolling out a workplace testing programme.

Self-employed financial support extended again until September 2021
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 17 March 2021

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended with a fifth and final grant covering May 2021 to September 2021, with further guidance on eligibility for the fourth grant (covering 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021). The fourth grant will be calculated at 80% of three months' average trading profits and will be capped at £7,500. The fifth grant will be calculated on a different basis, reflecting the government's intention that businesses should be operating more normally by the end of June 2021.

Skilled Worker visa: everything you need to know
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 17 March 2021

The Skilled Worker visa route is designed for individuals who have been recruited to work in the United Kingdom in a specific job. The job offer must be from a Home Office-approved sponsor and for an eligible skilled occupation. This article outlines everything that applicants should know regarding the Skilled Worker visa, including with regard to its purpose and conditions, its eligibility requirements, settlement and dependants.

Immigration announcements in Spring Budget 2021
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 10 March 2021

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak recently presented the Spring Budget 2021 and announced a range of immigration measures designed to help highly skilled and skilled international talent come to the United Kingdom to support business growth, particularly for scale-up businesses, innovative businesses and intra-company transfers. The measures also aim to contribute to the advancement of key industry sectors such as academia, science, research and technology.

Furlough scheme extended to September 2021
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 10 March 2021

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced in the Spring Budget 2021 an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, better known as the 'furlough scheme', for all sectors until 30 September 2021, with employer contributions gradually increasing from 1 July 2021. The latest announcement is highly welcome news for many employers.

Supreme Court confirms that Uber drivers are workers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 03 March 2021

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.

COVID-19 vaccination – FAQs for employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 24 February 2021

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.

Skilled Worker visa provides a shareholding solution for Tier 2 (General) migrants
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 24 February 2021

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.

Posting employees from the United Kingdom to the European Union – social security arrangements
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 17 February 2021

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.

Ireland's Immigrant Investor Programme – the allure of inward investment in return for residency
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 17 February 2021

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.

England introduces quarantine hotels and further post-arrival COVID-19 testing
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 17 February 2021

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.

New code of practice on preventing workplace bullying
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 10 February 2021

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.

Employer acted unlawfully by disciplining union activist for use of its IT systems
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 10 February 2021

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.

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