Presentation on theme: "Overview of UK Employment Law"— Presentation transcript:
1 Overview of UK Employment Law Alexandra DavidsonKeystone LawJuly 2014There are 5 volume textbooks about UK employment law so this session will obviously be just an overview to highlight the most important areas.I’m going to take you through the lifetime of an employment relationship – starting it, categorising it, regulating it and terminating it.
2 UK Employment Rights Derived from two main sources Contractual rights Written or oralEnforced in civil courts and, to a limited extent, in employment tribunalsStatutory rightsEmployment Rights Act 1996Ordinary Unfair dismissalAutomatic Unfair dismissalDeduction from wagesEquality Act 2010National Minimum WageIncludes enactments of EU-derived lawsTUPEWorking Time RegulationsEnforced in employment tribunalsContract – doesn’t have to be in writing as long as there is a mutual obligation between the parties. Contract will cover issues such as remuneration and benefits, duties and obligations, post-termination restrictions.No Civil Code as in other EU countriesContract is governed by common law and is essentially the same as any other contract law (other than no specific performance)Handbook – can be contractual but generally isn’t. Deals with house rules and policiesOffer letter – can be the contract if nothing else put in its place
3 Starting the relationship Pre-employment checksDiscrimination on grounds of protected characteristicsImmigration statusHealth questionnairesReferencesObligations owed to former employerThe anti-discrimination regime applies to recruitment – will look at this laterStrict controls over status of employee with heavy penalties on employers who do not check. EU citizens (except Croatia), Swiss and those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK have the right to work in the UK. Others need work permit or other authorisation.Pre employment health questionnaires are not permissible unless relating to the intrinsic nature of the job to determine if the candidate would be able to comply.Need to check employee is free to work for you otherwise risk of claim from former employer for ‘inducing breach of contract’
4 Defining the relationship Types of contractual relationshipEmployeesWorkersSelf-employedTypes of relationship will be dealt with by Oliver in the second session
5 Categorising the relationship Types of contractIndefinite termTerminable on notice periodFixed termNo need for noticeFixed Term Workers RegulationsExpiry of fixed term is a dismissalPart timePart Time Employees RegulationsZero hoursAgency workersAgency Worker RegulationsSwedish derogationMost contracts are indefinite termNo upside to fixed term but potential downsidePart time workers cannot be denied access to benefits on that ground – part time Judges litigation is an exampleZero hours is a current politically controversial topic although it gives a lot of flexibility but it is perceived as one-sidedAgency workers Regs new (EU derived) giving agency workers right to claim equivalent benefits to employees after 12 weeks. Ways of getting round this include Swedish derogation where the workers are effectively given employment status and have the right to pay between assignments of a pre-agreed minimum and four weeks pay on termination
6 Regulating the relationship – s1 statement requirements Holiday28 days minimumPensionMust provide accessSick paySSP up to 28 weeks after 3 waiting daysWorking timeRest breaks, rest days, night workingAverage working hoursNotice periodsStatutory minimum overrides the contractRemunerationJob titlePartiesDisciplinary/grievance appealsMust give employees a s1 statement within 2 months of starting.Must be a single document although some information can be included in a separate document referred to in the s1 statement.If not given, ee can ask ET for declaration of the termsIf ee wins ET case on another matter, can be awarded 2 – 4 weeks pay if no s1 statement had been given
7 Regulating the relationship – statutory issues IP protectionFamily rightsAnte-natal care/ risk assessmentsMaternity leave and payPaternity leave and payAdoption leave and payParental leave and payTime off for dependantsMinimum wageMaternity leave is 52 weeks; pay is 39 weeks (6 x higher rate; 33 x lower rate)2 weeks compulsory leaveNow can transfer some to spousePaternity leave is 2 weeks paid at SMP lower rateAdoption leave mirrors maternity leave without compulsory leaveParental leave is 13 weeks over 5 years, max 4 weeks a year. Unpaid.
8 Regulating the relationship – the contract Probationary periodRight to benefits delayedShort notice period during probationary periodNon-compete clausesFlexibility/mobilityOther duties commensurate with statusSecondment to other group companiesChange in work locationPay and bonusesBenefitsOliver will deal with non-compete clausesWording of these issues important to avoid constructive dismissal claims.
9 Changing the relationship Varying terms and conditions of employmentIs there a right to vary?Seek employee’s consentTerminate contract and offer new contract on revised termsFollow proper procedure‘sound business reason’ defence to unfair dismissal claim
10 DiscriminationMust not discriminate on grounds of a ‘protected characteristic’SexRace, nationalitySexual orientationAgeDisabilityPregnancy/maternityReligion/beliefMarriageGender reassignmentApplies to hiring, promotions and treatment in the workplaceHarassmentVictimisationConflicting rightsPreviously contained in a number of separate Acts – now consolidated into Equality Act.Harassment is a stand alone claim. Means conduct unwanted by victim which is on grounds of a protected characteristicVictimisation is where the employee is subjected to a detriment (or penalised) for having complained of discriminationNeed to ensure that there is no suggestion of discrimination in the hiring process eg why ask for candidate’s age? Why ask for photo?Conflicting rights – Christian hoteliers don’t want to give rooms to gay couple;Christian Registrar doesn’t want to officiate at gay marriages
11 Ending the relationship Contractual issuesNotice periodnon-competesGarden leavereferencesConstructive dismissalTUPESettlement agreementsOliver will deal with non-competes and garden leavePilons
12 Ending the relationship – statutory issues Unfair dismissalValid reasons for dismissalConductCapabilityRedundancyBreach of an enactmentSome other substantial reasonActing reasonably in the circumstancesConsultationOther requirementsFair sanctionPublic Interest Disclosures (Whistleblowing)Qualifying protected disclosure leading to detrimentRemediesOliver will deal with some of the udl issues which arise on poor performanceLooking at some of the other issues:Conduct – Birchell testRedundancy – genuine, selection, consultation, alternative employmentSOSR –
13 Thank you for listening The EndThank you for listening