Lewis Silkin updates

Face coverings and the workplace
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 23 September 2020

What health and safety obligations do employers have towards employees and visitors with regard to face coverings in the workplace? How should they enforce wearing face coverings if people refuse? And how should they protect employees from abusive customers or visitors? This article discusses the current rules regarding face coverings at work and some of the practical issues that may arise for employers.

ICIBI calls for evidence on UKVI's commercial partners' performance
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 23 September 2020

Employers and other stakeholders have until 1 October 2020 to provide the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) with views on how well the commercial partners of UK Visas and Immigration are performing, for applications made both in the United Kingdom and abroad. The ICIBI is seeking evidence from stakeholders on whether commercial partners are meeting the needs of UK visa applicants.

Innovator visa: everything you need to know
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 September 2020

This article outlines everything that applicants should know regarding the Innovator visa, including with regard to the purpose and length of stay, endorsing bodies, endorsement criteria and genuineness and other considerations. The innovator route is open to applicants who are experienced businesspeople looking to establish a business in the United Kingdom and are the founders of their business, relying on their own business plans, among other things.

Positive action speaks louder than words – five principles for employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 September 2020

This article explores the legal limits of positive action in the workplace, including situations where it is permissible to give preference on gender or ethnicity grounds to make up for a historic lack of opportunity and what employers can and cannot do to improve diversity in their shortlists or hiring slates.

Start-up visa: everything you need to know
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 09 September 2020

This article outlines everything that applicants should know regarding the requirements for the Start-up visa, including with regard to the purpose and length of stay, endorsing bodies, endorsement criteria and genuineness and other considerations. The start-up route is open to applicants who are looking to establish a business in the United Kingdom for the first time and are the founders of their business, relying on their own business plans, among other things.

Increase in parental leave entitlements
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 09 September 2020

On 1 September 2020 unpaid parental leave entitlement in Ireland was increased from 22 weeks to 26 weeks. This means that eligible parents will be able to take 26 weeks' parental leave for each child who falls within the prescribed thresholds. Employers should check their policies and procedures to take into account the increase from 1 September 2020 onwards.

Algorithms and employment law: do they reduce or embed bias?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 09 September 2020

Recent years have seen rapid growth in the use of algorithms in employment, particularly in recruitment. Algorithms are now being used in interviews – for example, to assess candidates on their facial and vocal expressions. This article explains why claims regarding algorithms and discrimination are likely to become more common in the years ahead, something which UK employment law and enforcement mechanisms are ill-equipped to deal with.

UK immigration strategies for EEA business travellers and workers from 2021
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 02 September 2020

EEA nationals and their employers are now turning their minds towards how frequent business and work travellers and cross-border commuters can continue to come to the United Kingdom from 2021. For some, the best solution may be offered by the EU Settlement Scheme, but there are also other options to consider.

Finance Act 2020 widens scope of IR35
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 02 September 2020

Despite further attempts at delay, the final version of the notorious private sector IR35 rules are now enshrined in the Finance Act 2020, which recently received royal assent. Under the IR35 rules, from April 2021 large and medium-sized businesses will be required to determine the status of any contractors providing their labour to the business through personal services companies or other intermediaries and, if appropriate, operate pay as you earn and make national insurance contributions.

Home Office issues communications to sponsors regarding licence renewals
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 26 August 2020

The Home Office has started to make early contact with sponsors whose licences are due to expire before the end of 2020. These sponsors will be able to apply to renew their licences earlier than the usual maximum 90 days before expiry. This should help to avoid delays at the end of 2020 when thousands of licences are up for renewal at the same time as European free movement ends for UK citizens.

Flexible working post-COVID-19 – sea change or nothing new?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 26 August 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have caused millions to work from home for the first time – an experience likely to cause a surge in requests for flexible working arrangements once most employees are asked to return to the workplace. This article considers the legal position and the practicalities for employers in dealing with flexible-working requests.

How does COVID-19 affect UK migrants' access to public funds and the NHS?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 August 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought questions around migrants' rights to access public funds and the National Health Service (NHS) into the spotlight. Migrants can access the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme via their employer. However, there are limits to the government assistance which some migrants are entitled to following disruption to their normal income, and access to free NHS healthcare may also be unavailable to some people.

Handling allegations of criminal conduct: what should employers do?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 August 2020

Recent events in the Conservative party have focused attention on the question of what an employer should do if one of its employees is accused of committing a crime. If the alleged victim and the accused are expected to work alongside each other, if there is a significant potential risk to the safety of other people or if the nature of the allegations alone is damaging the reputation of the organisation, employers are, at the very least, entitled to act.

Home Office confirms COVID-19 immigration arrangements beyond 31 July 2020
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 August 2020

In a last-minute update on 29 July 2020, the Home Office pivoted towards a return to business as usual regarding immigration policy. Some significant concessions remain available until at least 31 August 2020; however, there are a number of potential pitfalls of which employers and individuals should be aware.

Impact of July Stimulus Plan and Programme for Government on employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 12 August 2020

This article discusses the key measures under the new government's July Stimulus Plan of which employers should be aware, plus various commitments under its Programme for Government which could have a significant impact in workplaces. The proposals – which cover wage subsidies, job creation and recovery and work-life balance and equality, among other things – clearly reflect the new economic reality in the wake of COVID-19.

Staffing solutions and supply of labour
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 August 2020

The supply of labour is a growing area of the UK economy. As employers require more flexible staffing solutions, new business models have emerged offering a range of labour-supply options. Many businesses that have historically provided services have also expanded into the supply of labour, providing their clients with people to supplement their existing workforce. This article sets out the key obligations of businesses that supply labour and the consequences of non-compliance.

Home Office publishes COVID-19 minimum income policy for family visa route applicants
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 05 August 2020

The Home Office recently updated its policy guidance to confirm a surprisingly limited concession to the usual minimum income requirements that most applicants for partner and child visas must meet. The guidance is intended to ensure that applicants are not disadvantaged as a result of circumstances beyond their control because of COVID-19. However, it is concerning for multiple reasons.

Travelling from Spain – new self-isolation rules and employment
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 05 August 2020

A requirement to self-isolate for 14 days in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 has been re-imposed on all people returning to the United Kingdom from Spain. Happening in the middle of peak summer holiday season, how does this affect employees who are already travelling or due to travel in the next few weeks?

New Health and Care visa to launch on 4 August 2020
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 29 July 2020

The Home Office has released the first guidance on the new Health and Care visa for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, including individuals working in the social care sector. The Health and Care visa will be available from 4 August 2020 and will fall under the Tier 2 (General) category.

Back to work – advice on working from home set to change from 1 August 2020
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 29 July 2020

The official guidance remains that employees should work from home if they can, but the prime minister recently announced that this will change on 1 August 2020. Employers will be able to ask employees who have been able to work from home since the lockdown to return to their workplace, provided that they have taken steps to ensure that the workplace is COVID-19 secure and social distancing measures are in place.

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