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

Is it a United Kingdom? We thought we’d look in detail at the main differences in Employment Law between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and have updated this for July 2019. Generally there is very little difference in employment law between England and Wales, some differences in Scotland but there are some important differences

Small Business owners – how to work well with freelancers

With the ongoing shift towards employers using freelancers / contractors instead of employing PAYE workers and employees in the current uncertain climate, we look at how small business owners can get the best out of their relationship with freelancers, for the benefit of both parties.

Antenatal Leave for fathers/partners available from 1st October 2014

For a long time pregnant employees have had a legal right to paid time off for antenatal appointments and from 1st October 2014, prospective fathers/partners, including same sex partners, of pregnant women and intended parents in surrogacy arrangements, will have the right to take time-off to accompany their partner to two antenatal appointments.
Employees do

Can love and relationships in the office work?

It’s not uncommon for romance to blossom between work colleagues – generally, this causes few problems, but we thought we’d take a look at what can sometimes be a quagmire for employees, employers and freelancers.
The rules
It can be difficult for employers to object to workplace relationships, although many wish they could operate an

Is obesity a disability? It can be!

When considering if a worker is disabled or not – for the purposes of being covered by the Equality Act 2010 – employers must consider the impact of any physical or mental impairment on the worker’s “ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.
If the answer is ‘yes’ to the following points then a worker

Deciphering your legal status and IR35

IR35 – Updated 2016.
Many new freelancers and contractors may be vaguely aware of IR35, but not know when and where it applies. Before getting too intimate with the ins and outs of the IR35 legislation, the first step is to know if IR35 is even relevant to your situation.
We give you more details

All employees can request Flexible Working from 2014

Say Thank You to your staff – employee ‘experience’, motivation

Say thank you!
In a recent survey by recruitment website monster.co.uk, taken by 2000 workers and 500 employers/managers, more than 58% of British workers don’t believe they are thanked enough at work.
Is that surprising? 54% said this made them feel unappreciated and 41% said they felt demotivated as a result of this.
While 75%

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

Employing young people/school leavers

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’ll 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 don’t speak English as their first language.
The most

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

EU decides surrogate mothers can take maternity leave

The European Court of Justice in 2013 advised that a British woman who had a child through a surrogate mother is entitled to paid maternity leave.
Women who adopt a child in the UK are entitled to the same statutory adoption pay as pregnant mothers, but families who choose to use a surrogate mother to

‘Without Prejudice’ rules explained (and Settlement Agreements)

‘Without Prejudice’ Rules have existed for a long time and are used by an employer when they and an employee have a dispute in their working relationship which they are trying to resolve in the most amicable way. We look at what this means and how it can be used here.
The ‘Without Prejudice’ Rules

Confidential pre-termination negotiations and Settlement Agreements

Many employers, if a relationship with an employee is not going well, for whatever reason, may consider ending that relationship and will hope to start a conversation with an employee to end their employment by mutual agreement (which usually comes with an appropriate sum of money as compensation), rather than pursue a dismissal in other ways.
From 29th July 2013

Criminal record checks

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.
The DBS are responsible for:

Processing requests for criminal records checks which they

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

Should you let an employee audio-record a disciplinary or grievance meeting?

Read our latest advice here about whether you should let an employee audio-record a disciplinary or grievance meeting or appeal; and whether the employer should do this too.
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

Disability Discrimination – what makes a worker disabled under the Equality Act 2010?

When considering if a worker is disabled or not for the purposes of being covered by the Equality Act 2010, Employers must consider the impact of any physical or mental impairment (disability) on the workers “ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. We look at all the details you need to know here.

We

Interrupted breaks can still count as rest under the WTR

An important case about compensatory rest and rest breaks took place recently. The case of Hughes v Corps of Commissionaires Management Ltd concerned a security guard who worked 12-hour shifts on his own (other security guards employed there worked other shifts) and who regularly had interrupted breaks. We look at the details and what this

What would UK Employment Law be like without Europe?

Following the Referendum in June 2016 we look at what impact Europe has had on our existing UK employment laws; what laws are derived from Europe; where the Government has chosen to enhance EU regulations for workers; what laws are derived solely from the UK; and what may happen to these laws in the event

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 an employee’s 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.

Important Agency Workers Regulations Tribunal cases

Updated 2019
Finally, at the end of 2012, over a year after the Agency Workers Regulations were introduced in October 2011, a case about the Swedish Derogation model came to Tribunal.
The Swedish Derogation model refers to Regulation 10 of the AWR that allows for temporary workers not to receive comparable pay (with ‘comparable’ permanent

Leadership Tips for Entrepreneurs!

Have a read of our new article, one of an occasional series on Management and Leadership Tips for Entrepreneurs/Company Directors/Managing Directors.

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 for an employee.

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

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 about employees 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?

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

What is religious discrimination?

Religious discrimination employment law cases have been in the news for several years and with four important UK cases going to the European Court of Human Rights in September 2012, we thought we’d have a look at this in more detail. Religion or belief is a ‘protected characteristic’ that shouldn’t be discriminated against, as outlined

Peter Stringfellow – how he is clarifying employment law

Updated for 2013.
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

Redundancy and ‘suitable alternative employment’ explained

In this article we look at the concept of an Employer providing ‘suitable alternative employment’ when an individuals job is being made redundant – what does it mean, how do you offer it, when is not suitable.

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.

Large Scale Dismissals – are they legal?

With dismissal notices being given out by Shropshire Council to all their staff earlier this month, we thought we’d take a closer look at what this means and if it could happen more frequently in the current climate.
Several news outlets ran the story in early July that Conservative-led Shropshire Council had handed redundancy notices

Equal Opportunties and Discrimination (Equality Act 2010)

The new Equality Act came into force on 1st October 2010 and replaces all previous equality legislation. The Equality Act covers the same groups that are protected by existing equality legislation, however, these groups will now be called “protected characteristics” (PCs). The new Act also extends protections to some other characteristics and introduces other changes. Updated for 2011.

The Human Resources Consultancy service for SME's in the UK creative industries

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