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Archive | Opinions for business
Sleep-in workers – is a person working simply by being present?

A hot topic within the employment sector is the question of whether ‘sleeping time’ should be classed as ‘working time’ for the purpose of National Minimum Wage Regulations (NMWR).

The aim of this deliberation is to determine whether employees should be paid for hours spent sleeping whilst technically being ‘at work’. Many would declare that their dream job would be getting paid to sleep, but is there a valid argument to support this?

Can you recover costs in a small claims dispute?

The basic position is that for claims which have been allocated to the Small Claims Track, usually with a monetary value of less than £10,000, the Court will not order a party to pay fees or expenses to the other party, subject to certain exceptions.

One of those exceptions is if the Court thinks a party has behaved unreasonably.

Residential tenancy deposits – are you protected?

Landlords and Tenants should take heed of the importance of complying with the legal requirements centring around the protection of tenancy deposits.

As most Landlords will be aware, any deposit paid in connection with an Assured Short-hold Tenancy since 6th April 2007 must be registered with an authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The Tenant must be provided with prescribed information within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. Landlords are required to register the deposit within 30 days of receipt.

Timeshares – not all ‘fun in the sun’

Each year, thousands of Brits are cold called or approached in the street to be hailed as “competition” winners or presented with offers of “free holidays”. The catch being you have to attend a presentation in order to claim your “prize”.

The presentation is a high pressure sales pitch which can last several hours with many people finding it difficult to leave without signing up for a Timeshare, a decision they often later live to regret.

The apprenticeship levy explained

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is common practice for an employer to be held vicariously liable for discriminatory acts that their employees commit during ‘the course of employment’. Imposing strict liability on employers encourages them to maintain standards of “good practice” by their employees.

Employment contracts – what to look out for when starting a new job

When starting a new job, many employees will often overlook the crucial part of reviewing the finer details of their employment contract.

Contracts of employment are important documents as they set out the key terms of your employment with your new company. It is therefore vital to check these terms carefully before you agree to them. In particular, you need to query the following before you sign on the dotted line.

Can my boss ask me to return earlier or later from maternity leave?

It is always recommended that notifying your employer be done in writing at least 15 weeks before your baby is due. If this is not possible, for example because you did not realise you were pregnant, you should inform your employer as soon as possible.

All employees have a right to 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave, making 52 weeks in total.

Key employment law changes for April 2017

The shifting business environment of the ‘gig’ economy provides a difficult arena to achieve a degree of legal clarity as to the employment status of those within it.

Many employers use freelance and self-employed sub-contractors believing that such workers do not have the same employment rights as ordinary employees. However a flurry of recent cases has illustrated the significant risks that employers run in engaging workers on a self-employed or freelance basis.

Employers at risk when hiring self-employed sub-contractors

The shifting business environment of the ‘gig’ economy provides a difficult arena to achieve a degree of legal clarity as to the employment status of those within it.

Many employers use freelance and self-employed sub-contractors believing that such workers do not have the same employment rights as ordinary employees. However a flurry of recent cases has illustrated the significant risks that employers run in engaging workers on a self-employed or freelance basis.

‘Rentagob’ Katie Hopkins successfully sued for defamation

Jack Monroe, a food writer and blogger, has been awarded £24,000 in damages in a libel action brought against Katie Hopkins, Mail online columnist and former The Apprentice contestant.

In May 2015, Mrs Hopkins implied that Ms Monroe had defaced or vandalised war memorials during a series of public tweets. Ms Monroe alleged that she received death threats and abuse from others as a result of these very public tweets and that serious damage had been caused to her reputation.

Protective Award claims – what are they and how much could you be entitled to?

A Protective Award is an award of compensation of up to 90 days’ gross pay, that can be awarded by an Employment Tribunal, for failure by your employer to collectively inform and consult you where you have been dismissed on the grounds of redundancy. This applies to dismissals of 20 or more employees, within a 90 day period.

If such dismissals should occur, your trade union or employee representatives (if any) can put forward a claim to the tribunal on your behalf. If there is no trade union or elected employee representatives, then you can pursue the claim yourself or in conjunction with your fellow workers.

Advice for landlords on new EPC Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 were made on the 26th March 2015. They introduced a change in the law whereby from the 1st April 2018, it will be unlawful to privately let residential and commercial properties with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’, unless one of the exemptions detailed below applies.

It is important to note that the Regulations will not apply to properties that are not required to have an EPC or where a property is let for a period of less than six months or for a term of more than 99 years.

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