Can love and relationships in the office work?

It is not uncommon for romances to blossom between work colleagues – generally this causes little problems but with several cases hitting the news recently, we thought we’d take a look at what can sometimes be a quagmire for employees, employers and freelancers. It can be difficult for employers to object to workplace relationships, although

New sanctions for care sector minimum wage handouts

We know that many workers in the care sector get a bad deal with regards to their pay and hours of work.
The National Minimum Wage legislation is certainly not straightforward and sometimes it can be difficult to establish what hours you should be paid for and there are, unfortunately, employers in the care sector

How to deal with an Acas conciliation request

If an employee or ex-employee has a potential Employment Tribunal claim, from May 2014 they are required to contact Acas first, who will then contact their employer.
There have been a lot of changes to the Employment Tribunal system in the last 2 years and this is the latest one, which may be significant for employers.

Changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 supports reformed offenders entering the workplace.  Following a specified period of time – which varies according to the sentence – an offender’s cautions and convictions become ‘spent’ and the offender is regarded as rehabilitated.
This means the Act treats a rehabilitated person as if he or she had never

Latest Employment Tribunal News

Several changes have been made to the Employment Tribunal proceedings in England, Wales and Scotland over the past two years. Further changes will also come into effect in the near future so here we look at the latest Tribunal news!
We look at all the changes here.
Introduced on 6th April 2014, but made fully

Statutory Sick Pay changes could affect small employers

A major change to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) comes into force on 6th April 2014, which will affect all employers.
Currently, under the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS), employers can recover SSP costs for their employees’ sickness if the total SSP paid in a tax month is more than 13% of their gross Employers’ (Class 1)

Keep your staff happy, they cost £30,000 to replace

A recent study by economics consultancy Oxford Economics found that the average cost of replacing a member of staff when they leave is more than £30,000. You need to keep your staff happy!
The survey was carried out in the legal, retail, accountancy, media, advertising, IT and technology sectors and found that the overall financial

Employing school leavers – a change in the law for young people

From the start of the 2013/14 Academic year the Government changed the law on how long young people are required to stay in education or training.
Raising the Participation Age‘ (RPA) means that young people must now stay in education or training longer.
‘Raising the Participation Age‘ (RPA) means that young people must now stay

What languages should be spoken at work

With the diversity of workforces in the UK today, there will inevitably be many workers of different nationalities and with different languages and cultures.  This will mean that employers may need to deal with issues regarding what language is used in the workplace, particularly if many workers do not have English as their first language.

Should employers fear the office Christmas party?

Your Christmas Party is normally pretty lively and good fun, but employers need to consider various factors beforehand, so there are no problems (yawn – but bear with us here!).
Unfortunately, because of various pieces of legislation, employers need to have a policy in place setting out the standards of acceptable behaviour for their workers

Employee Shareholder Contracts now in force!

A new type of employment contract – the Employee Shareholder Contract – came to life on 1st September 2013 (as part of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill). UPDATED 2016.
Under this new contract employees give away some of their employment rights in exchange for receiving shares between £2,000 – £50,000 in their company (and benefiting from tax advantages on these shares).

Military Reservists get more employment protection

At the beginning of July 2013 the Ministry of Defence published a whitepaper aimed at helping them plan their resourcing requirements when reserve forces are deployed on operations.  The whitepaper made several suggestions relating to reservists normal employment and made a commitment to provide employers with fewer than 250 staff “more notice [of when their

Portable criminal record checks now live

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in late 2012 is there to help employers make safe recruitment decisions, and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. In this article we look at what the DBS are responsible for, including

New Equal Pay ruling regarding comparators is good news for female workers

A ruling by the Supreme Court at the end of June has effectively handed women the legal right to demand the same pay as male colleagues doing a different job of ‘equal value’.  (for more info on this see our article here about Equality issues).
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of more than 200 female

Can an Agency worker become permanent at the company they work for?

An Agency worker (temp) is usually contracted and paid by the Agency who employs them, and the Company that hires them pays a fee to the Agency for their work.
Here though, we consider if it is possible for an agency worker to be seen as a permanent employee of the company they work for (not the

Can disciplinary or grievance meetings be audio recorded?

There could be various reasons you, or your Employer, may wish to audio-record important work meetings/hearings, including the hope that this will support your/their position should a claim be made to an employment tribunal in the future. Should you? We look at the details here.
However neither an employee, nor an employer, has the right to record

Agency Workers have discrimination rights under the AWR

In September 2012 an Employment Tribunal found that an agency worker had discrimination rights and awarded her a large sum of money for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal against the Company she was employed to work at. We look at the details of the case here.

In Pegg v Camden Council, the Tribunal heard

What would UK Employment Law be like without Europe?

Following the Referendum in June 2016 we have updated our article that looks at what impact Europe has had on our existing UK employment laws in our article here, what laws are derived from Europe and where the Government has chosen to enhance EU regulations, what laws are derived solely from the UK and what

Can an employee be dismissed because of their political opinions?

The European Court of Human Rights says no, you can’t be dismissed because of your political opinions!
In the case of Redfearn v the United Kingdom, the Court of Human Rights found that the UK had violated article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights – the right to freedom of assembly and association

Short-time working and lay-offs – can you use them?

It can be quite common that during a bad patch an employer, rather than make redundancies, may choose to make other changes to your Employment contract including lay-offs and short-time working.
Two options your employer may consider are Lay-offs and Short-time working – and we look at what this means in our article here.
Lay-offs

What are zero-hour contracts, and can casual workers ever become employees?

With the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations in 2010, many Companies are believed to be using far more zero-hour contract workers now, instead of Agency temps. At Workline we get a lot of queries from people employed on zero-hour contracts, so in our article here we look at these types of contracts in more

Have you heard of the Living Wage?

The only legislation that currently exists in the UK regarding pay is the National Minimum Wage legislation which says that:
The minimum wage is a legal right that covers almost all workers above compulsory school leaving age. There are different minimum wage rates for different age groups of workers as follows:
 

The main

Volunteers may soon be protected by discrimination laws

Currently all employees and workers in the European Union are entitled to work without being discriminated against in relation to ‘protected characteristics’, under the European Directive on Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation.
These ‘protected characteristics’ include:

Age
Disability
Gender reassignment
Race
Religion or belief
Sex
Sexual orientation
Marriage and civil partnership
Pregnancy and

Everything you need to know about references (part 2)

In our second article on References here we look at what obigations a previous employer has whey they provide a reference.

The Data Protection Employment Practices Code recommends:

That employers have a policy on giving references that includes a requirement that “all those giving corporate references must be satisfied that the worker wishes

Everything you need to know about references (part 1)

In our first article on References here we look at whether Employers have to seek references when recruiting and whether there is a legal obligation for a previous employer to give a reference to their ex-employee?
Includes….. Is there a legal obligation for a previous employer to give a reference to their ex-employee?
There is

Workplace surveillance: can your employer spy on you at work?

With CCTV cameras everywhere you go these days, how likely is it that your employer or client will be keeping an eye on you? Basically, quite likely. Employers can monitor staff through a variety of methods  – but it must do so in a way that is consistent with several legal requirements and we take a

Trust and Confidence – what does it really mean, and what happens when it breaks down?

We look at the Implied Terms in your contract of employment that are probably not written down anywhere, but are understood to exist because of the conduct of the parties, which includes Trust and Confidence. They should be fairly obvious to both parties to the contract. If there’s nothing clearly agreed between you and your

For what reasons can I be made redundant?

In this article we look at the scenarios when your employer is considering making redundancies, and in what situations can they make you redundant?
The Employment Rights Act 1996 (the law that currently covers making redundancies) says that, ‘an employee is dismissed by reason of redundancy if the dismissal is wholly or mainly attributable to

Continuity of Service – for employees and workers

We thought we’d look at the concept of continuity of service in more detail here, as it is important for employees and workers in terms of the employment rights that you are entitled to.
Continuous employment usually means working for the same employer without a break and is worked out in months and years, starting

Peter Stringfellow – how he is clarifying employment law

Last year there was an important employment law case about employment status that showed that Employment Tribunals would focus on the actual reality of working relationships when determining whether someone is self-employed or not, and not focus on what the contractual documentation actually said (Autoclenz v Belcher, see the details here).
This year there has

Your employer is making you redundant but has offered you another job – must you accept it?

Your job is at risk of redundancy, and your employer has offered you redeployment to another job in the same company – are you obliged to take it? We look at the details in our article here.
Redeployment
Employers need to consider the following factors when deciding if an alternative role will be ‘suitable’

I’ve been overpaid! What should I do?

If you have been accidentally overpaid by your employer, it may seems like a lucky bonus, but don’t assume you can keep the money!  Here we look at overpayments for Employees and Freelancers/Sole-Traders.
For employees
Where an employer has made an accidental overpayment of wages or expenses (including holiday pay), the legal position is that

Taking on an apprentice – the full details

Apprenticeship schemes are often in the news (and not always for the right reasons), so we’ve had a look at what they are about and where you can find out more details about taking on an apprentice.
Many UK businesses consider skills shortages and recruitment difficulties a big problem. Apprenticeships can be an answer

Fixed Term Contracts: what are they & how can they come to an end?

Fixed Term Contracts have always been popular with employers as a way to fill a ‘gap’ for a temporary period, but we also know they can be abused. Here we look at what a Fixed Term Contract actually is, what protections they have in law and what happens when they expire.
Fixed Term Contracts are

Employment Law in the United Kingdom – what differences are there?

United Kingdom? We thought we’d look in detail at the main differences in Employment Law between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Generally there is very little difference in employment law between England and Wales, some differences in Scotland but there are some important differences for employees and employers in Northern Ireland.

Here we

Pensions Auto-Enrolment – the full details

From October 2012 most workers will start being auto-enrolled into a pension plan by their Employer (under the Pensions Bill that also abolished the Default Retirement Age during 2011) – here we give you the full details of the Scheme.
This will apply to all workers aged 22 and over (but who have not yet

Have you been dismissed while working abroad?

If you work abroad you may now be able to claim unfair dismissal in the UK if you are dismissed. With unemployment rising in the UK, British workers may have to look abroad for employment, and of course many multinational companies have employees constantly moving across international borders.

Disciplinary procedures: common mistakes made by employers

In unfair dismissal claims, employment tribunals take the “Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures” that was introduced in 2009, into account where relevant..However, many Employers make mistakes when handling disciplinaries and this can result in you having a claim for unfair dismissal if you have one years continuous service (which will increase to 2 years for employment starting after April 2012). Here we look at the common mistakes Employers make.

What employment status do I have? Your contract may not provide the answer!

Recently, Freelance Advisor reported on the very important Supreme Court 2011 legal judgement on Autoclenz Ltd v Belcher and Others and how this may affect freelancers and contractors who have IR35 concerns. As this case is so important for all employees, workers and freelancers in deciding their employment status, at Workline we thought we’d explain this in more detail.

The case highlights the importance the Courts now give to finding clarity in employment relationships, not by looking at what is written down in a contract, but what is actually happening in the working relationship.

Small Business Owners – the documents you need to employ staff!

We recently highlighted how red tape is putting off small businesses taking on staff. Another area of huge concern and confusion is what paperwork you need to give your staff to ensure your working relationship is clear and unambiguous. We give you the low-down here!

Internships – a good opportunity or a waste of time?

Internships and work placements have been getting some bad press lately. Are they an extremely good experience for both Employers and graduates or potentially unethical exploitation?

The Human Resources Consultancy service for small and medium sized, creative, UK businesses

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