Lewis Silkin updates

Government consultation on reform of non-compete clauses underway
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 December 2020

The government recently launched a consultation on reforming the law concerning post-termination non-compete clauses in employment contracts. Its proposals include making such terms enforceable only if employers pay individuals for the period of restriction or, alternatively, prohibiting the use of such clauses altogether. The consultation will mark a radical departure from the current and longstanding legal framework if it ultimately leads to the introduction of statutory regulation in this legal area.

Q&A: right-to-work checks beyond 2020
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 16 December 2020

The end of the transition period and freedom of movement is only a few weeks away. Although employers are busy getting to grips with the post-Brexit immigration system, they are also concerned about what changes they must make to their right-to-work check procedures and when. This Q&A – based on questions asked by attendees of a recent webinar – answers the key questions on this matter.

Vaccination for COVID-19 – can employers require employees to be vaccinated?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 09 December 2020

With a vaccination against COVID-19 in sight, many employers will understandably be eager to have their employees vaccinated in hope of their workplace finally returning to some form of normality. This article explores some of the legal issues of which employers must be aware.

New immigration act becomes law
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 09 December 2020

The Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 recently received royal assent. The act provides the legislative basis for ending EU free movement arrangements in the United Kingdom after the end of the transition period and recognising the immigration status of Irish citizens in the United Kingdom.

Gender pay gap reporting in Ireland – are we there yet?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 09 December 2020

The gender pay gap (GPG) is the percentage difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women. This article reviews the current position on the GPG in Ireland, what is happening with the proposed legislation to introduce mandatory reporting and what employers should be doing now.

Is it time for a specific right to disconnect in Ireland?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 02 December 2020

The mass move to homeworking triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and home and reignited the debate on the right to disconnect. Notwithstanding the protection afforded to employees under existing working time rules and health and safety legislation in Ireland, the current legal framework is inadequate to ensure a genuine right to disconnect. It remains to be seen how the government will choose to tackle the issue.

High Court rules that 'workers' should be protected from health and safety detriment
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 02 December 2020

The High Court recently ruled that the United Kingdom has failed to properly implement EU health and safety law by restricting protection from detriment on health and safety grounds to 'employees'. The extension of such protection to the broader category of 'workers' potentially increases employers' exposure to COVID-19-related health and safety claims.

Home Office issues new guidance for sponsors
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 02 December 2020

The Home Office has issued new guidance for sponsors which replaces the Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsor guidance. It covers the skilled worker, intra-company transfer and temporary worker routes and aims to provide information on sponsorship when these routes are launched from 1 December 2020.

Lockdowns and remote working – to what extent can employees be monitored?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 November 2020

With reports of businesses increasingly taking steps to monitor staff who are working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a key question that has emerged is whether employers can actively monitor those who are working remotely and, if so, how intrusive can that monitoring be? This article discusses the legal considerations and how employers can strike an appropriate and fair balance between work and home life.

Immigration Rules confirmed for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) citizens
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 November 2020

From 31 January 2021 two new immigration routes will be introduced for British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) citizens and their adult children who were born on or after 1 July 1997. These two routes are BN(O) status holder and BN(O) household member. The Home Office recently published the detailed Immigration Rules for these routes, which this article summarises.

Q&A on new immigration system
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 18 November 2020

Employers have lots of questions regarding the new immigration system that will apply in 2021, particularly with regard to the Skilled Worker visa, which will replace Tier 2 (General) from 1 January 2021. This Q&A – based on questions asked by attendees to a recent webinar – answers employers' main questions.

Self-employed financial support extended until April 2021
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 18 November 2020

The government's Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended for a further six months, providing two further three-month grants after the expiry of the second grant period. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced that all three months of the third grant will be calculated at 80% (with a £7,500 cap), which will no doubt be welcome news for the self-employed as England enters its new lockdown.

MAC commissioned to report on intra-company transfers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 November 2020

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has accepted a commission from the home secretary to review intra-company transfer visa arrangements. The MAC has also been asked to consider what provision could be made to allow overseas businesses to send a team rather than one individual to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, or carry out a secondment to work on a high-value goods or services contract. The report is due by the end of October 2021, with a revised route likely becoming available in 2022.

Furlough scheme extended until end of March 2021
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 November 2020

The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) has been extended until the end of March 2021. Although this is welcome and will allow for more effective business planning, the new five-month extension may mean that some employees will spend an entire year on furlough. This article discusses what is currently known about how the scheme will operate.

Budget 2021: key takeaways for employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 04 November 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of a no-deal Brexit are the overriding themes underpinning the government's budget for 2021. According to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, the government has set aside €5.5 billion in contingency funds due to the "unbelievable uncertainty" facing the country. This article highlights the key points from the budget that employers should note.

Six pitfalls to avoid with EU Settlement Scheme
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 04 November 2020

Despite the EU Settlement Scheme being publicised as simple and straightforward, there are many potential pitfalls for the unwary, particularly when the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic are factored in. To avoid them, individuals must be aware of the scheme and get to grips with it before the end of 2020. This article sets out some of the potential pitfalls and suggestions for how to avoid them.

Furlough scheme extended as England prepares to enter new lockdown
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 04 November 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) will be extended rather than closed as originally planned. The extension will cover a new lockdown in England, which is expected to come into force on 5 November 2020 and last until 2 December 2020. This article summarises the immediate questions and implications for employers and provides possible wordings that they can use to inform employees of the changes.

Changes to Job Support Scheme – an open and shut case?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 28 October 2020

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has significantly expanded the Job Support Scheme after objections from businesses, particularly those in Tier 2 areas, that they are facing massively reduced demand but less support from the government than Tier 3 businesses legally forced to close. The changes could have a significant impact – but employers have little time to take the steps needed to take advantage of the scheme before it takes effect on 1 November 2020.

Home Office publishes Immigration Rules for new immigration system
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 28 October 2020

The Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 813 was recently published. This key document outlines the features of the government's points-based immigration system and simplifies the language and structure of some areas of the Immigration Rules. The new system will apply to EEA and Swiss nationals, aside from Irish nationals. This article highlights some of the changes that are likely to be of most interest to employers.

What does the COVID-19 tier system mean for offices?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 21 October 2020

New regulations underpinning the three-tier lockdown system are now in force in England as part of the government's efforts to step up its response to the pandemic. This article considers whether the new regulations will demand a stricter approach to office work, as well as what may constitute a gathering, the rules for travelling to work in a different tier and how to approach client and internal work meetings.

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