On 20 March 2020, in a bid to prevent mass job losses as a result of the coronavirus, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The government has agreed they will reimburse 80% of wages for all employees who are ‘furloughed’ but still on the payroll, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. READ MORE
The UK Government has said they will step in and pay up to 80% of wages subject to a cap of £2500 per month for any employee who is not working but kept on payroll, rather than made redundant. This is intended as an incentive to keep people in work and means that if an employer is considering redundancies or unpaid sabbaticals because its employees have no work due to the impact of the coronavirus, then provided these employees are kept on payroll instead, companies of all sizes will be able to apply to HMRC for these grants to keep paying their employees. According to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, the system should be up and running in a matter of weeks and be fully operational by the end of April. READ MORE
In Germany, fixed-term employment is strictly regulated: As a rule, fixed-term requires objective grounds that justify the limited term. There are exceptions for new hires: If the same employee has not been employed (on a fixed-term or open-ended) by the company before, as a rule, a fixed-term not exceeding two years is allowed including a maximum of three renewals within that period. READ MORE
On 4 April 2019, employers with 250 or more employees will, once again, have to publish and report specific figures about their gender pay gap. And, following a year packed full of political statements and unprecedented movement towards gender equality, there will undoubtedly be pressure on employers to demonstrate progress in closing the gap. READ MORE
In the heady days of the Coalition Government, gender pay gap reporting started to get some traction on the political agenda. This led to the 2011 initiative ‘Think, Act, Report’ which encouraged employers to voluntarily publish gender pay gap information. According to a Guardian article in August 2014, citing a parliamentary question from the shadow Equalities Minster at the time, 200 companies signed up to the initiative but only four of those ever published any data. £90,000 of public money later and we were clearly no further on.
Relevant firms in the UK have until March 7, 2016 to appoint a “whistleblowers’ champion,” who then has until September 7, 2016 to oversee their firm’s readiness for the new whistleblowing regime.
The new whistleblowing regime: why make the change?
Since the 2013 Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards recommendations were published in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) has been examining ways to ensure that individuals working in financial services feel able and encouraged to speak up when they have concerns to avoid the same financial scandals of the past.
Asia Employment Law Update
Proposed Regulations May Complicate Reductions in Force in China
On December 31st, 2014, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (“MOHRSS”) issued a notice to solicit public opinions on the draft Regulations on Personnel Cutbacks by Enterprises (“Draft Regulations”). The Draft Regulations set out detailed implementing rules for “mass layoffs” (defined under the Labor Contract Law as being a layoff of more than 10% of the workforce or more than 20 employees) and, if adopted in their current form, will further complicate the process for conducting reductions in force in China.
In the recent case of Ramphal v. Department of Transport (DoT) the tricky question of where HR should draw the line in a disciplinary matter between guiding the decision-maker on the right decision, and making that decision for them, was considered. The results weren’t great for the HR manager involved in this case…
Imagine that you have a senior employee who you have decided (for whatever reason) that you do not want anymore but you do not want to pay out his 12-month notice period. As an ingenious attempt to get around that, you instruct forensic investigators to carry out a ‘fishing expedition’ to try and find some dirt on him that will justify you summarily dismissing him, rather than paying out what he is owed under his contract. Imagine that your luck is in and you do indeed find some dirt but that the dirt you find is five year old dirt. Would you think that the High Court is going to accept this approach and agree that you don’t have to pay the notice period?
In the recent case of Game Retail Limited v Laws, the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal (or “EAT“) considered the fairness of an employee’s dismissal for offensive tweets. This is the first time this issue has been considered at EAT level. The EAT found that the dismissal was fair, even though the Twitter account was not linked to Mr Laws’ employment, and his posts were made in his own time.