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Andrew49

Immigration and UK Visa queries – Key Contact

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As you are aware, immigration queries are outside of our remit, therefore we hope that if applicable to you, you may find the information below of use.

 

For guidance on immigration issues, UK Visas and Immigration’s contact centre or Business Helpdesk may be able to advise you on your query. For general immigration enquiries, you can call the UKVI contact centre on 0300 123 2241. The Business Helpdesk service supports UK businesses in need of information concerning current sponsorship and employee applications made in the UK. It will also be able to assist with answers to non-hypothetical, complex queries such as interpreting Home Office guidance or unusual immigration circumstances. It can be contacted via email: businesshelpdesk@homeoffice.gov.uk or telephone: 0300 123 4699. The helpline is open Monday to Thursday, 9.00 am to 4.45 pm and Friday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm.

IR35 – check your contracts

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Originally scheduled for implementation in April 2020, this was bound over to now take effect on the 6th April 2021.  Changes to the off-payroll tax legislation require you to identify self-employed consultants who offer their services through a limited company (personal service company) to your company.  Please defer to the government online tools to determine if you have an obligation as a company to deduct income tax and national insurance contributions at source when paying the contractor https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-status-manual/esm11000

You will also need to make clear in all consultant contracts whether the relationship falls inside or outside IR35. The changes will only affect medium to large companies, and it has been indicated that similar criteria as used in the Companies Act 2006 will be applied to define a medium/large business, which broadly indicates that a company will fall into this category if it has two or more of the following:

  • a turnover of more than £10.2m;
  • a balance sheet total of more than £5.1m;
  • 50 employees or more.

Asda – Equal Pay – Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court has given a judgement in favour of Asda workers allowing them to continue with their equal pay claims. The workers argued that they should be entitled to compare themselves with distribution staff when considering equal rates of pay. The Supreme Court agreed. However, this is not the end. An employment tribunal will next have to decide whether the store and distribution roles were of “equal value” and, if so, they would then have to consider whether there are any reasons, other than gender, as to why there should be different levels of pay between the stores and distribution centres. Each stage is also likely to include appeals to Employment Appeals Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court therefore it is likely to be many years before we have a final verdict.

Staying Covid Safe in 2021

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Please see below link to the new version of the Covid Secure poster for employers which should be displayed in a prominent position within your workplace.

For any Health and Safety queries, please contact your Health & Safety Consultant directly.

If you are NOT subscribed to our Health & Safety services and wish to have more information about our service, please contact Julieh@elcons.co.uk

 

staying-covid-19-secure-notice – New Version

New Shielding Guidance for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Comes into effect – 1st April 2021

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From 1 April you will no longer be able to offer Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to employees on the basis that they have been advised to shield.  A new guidance regime also comes into effect on the 1st April to accompany the change for those classed as “clinically extremely vulnerable”.

 

Your employees in this category will receive a letter from the NHS which in summary outlines:

 

  1. From 1 April 2021 clinically extremely vulnerable people are no longer advised to shield and will no longer be eligible for SSP if in receipt of this for reasons of shielding.
  2. The letter offers guidance on how to remain protected as they re-enter the workplace if homeworking is not an option: gov.uk/coronavirus. (Guidance, not rules, so this can be overridden at the individual’s discretion).
  3. Reminds them that social distancing and roadmap rules now apply to them as they do to others and must be adhered to.
  4. Reminds them of the vaccine availability and also of other support which may be on offer to them.

 

To view a sample of the letter your employee may receive, please visit: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/970375/Clinically_extremely_vulnerable_letter__guidance_from_010421.pdf

Chancellors announcement today.

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Here are the key points following Rishi Sunak’s announcement earlier:-

  1. Furlough extended until the end of September 2021
  2. Government to continue paying 80% of employees wages for hours staff cannot work
  3. Employers asked to contribute 10% in July and 20% in August and September
  4. National Minimum Wage to increase to £8.91 from April 1st 2021.

Call us for advice if you need to. 01422 822842

Will the Furlough scheme be extended?

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It is being reported that the Chancellor is preparing to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is due to end on 30 April 2021. The extension, expected to be announced in the Budget on 3 March 2021, will allow workers to remain on furlough into the Summer, before the scheme is phased out. This will be part of a package of continuing measures to support businesses, including an extension of the business rates holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors which is due to end on 31 March 2021.

 

This may be for your consideration if you are thinking about making positions redundant. Call your Advisor before you take any action or start a process 01422 822842

 

We will of course keep you well informed.

 

In closing, follow us on Twitter @ElconsLtd and Facebook under Elcons Employment Law Consultants Limited for regular updates too.

Female Christian actress has her claim for religious discrimination, breach of contract and harassment rejected.

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Sevi Omooba was dismissed by Leicester’s Curve Theatre in 2014, six days after posting on Facebook “I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexuality is right, though the law of this land has made it legal doesn’t mean it’s right.”

 A virtual Tribunal heard of the social media backlash and an exchange between the theatre and Ms Omooba in which she maintained her views.  The Tribunal also received information that the theatre had offered her full salary which she refused, instead choosing to bring legal action against the Trust for £4,309 from the theatre plus a further £25,000 for injury to feelings and reputational damage.

Ms Omooba also pursued a claim against her former agency from which she was also subsequently dismissed following news of the comment claiming £98,752 for loss of earnings, future losses, injury to feelings and reputational damage.

Ms Omooba’s claims of discrimination, harassment and breach of contract were rejected by the tribunal who dismissed her suggestion that the dismissal amounted to discrimination on the grounds of religious belief.  Moreover, the Tribunal panel concluded the reason for the dismissal was “the effect of the adverse publicity from [the 2014 post’s] retweet, without modification or explanation, on the cohesion of the cast, the audience’s reception, the reputation of the producers and ‘the good standing and commercial success’ of the production, that were the reasons why she was dismissed”.

In relation to the harassment claim, the panel concluded: “In the view of the tribunal Mr Stafford [Chris Stafford, chief executive of Leicester Theatre Trust] did not have the purpose of violating the claimant’s dignity or creating an intimidating or humiliating environment for her. His purpose was to save the production.”

The claimant’s argument that her characters sexuality was ambiguous and “she would have refused the role if she had considered her gay” was rejected by the panel who concluded “She had taken part in a similar production, she had the script, and knowing that a lesbian relationship was at least one interpretation, she should have considered much earlier whether a red line was to be crossed.”

 

Uber loses appeal to the Supreme Court

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BREAKING NEWS: UBER loses appeal to the Supreme Court – their drivers are ‘workers’

Judgement handed down on 19th February 2021

Uber is a private hire vehicle booking service operating within the UK and internationally. Drivers have a smartphone app which links them with passengers. A claim was brought by the drivers that they are not self-employed but rather that they are workers therefore entitled to national minimum/living wage, paid leave and other legal protections which are afforded to workers and not to self-employed. The argument about employment status was a preliminary issue at the Employment Tribunal which found the drivers were workers and were working from the point which they had the Uber app switched on, were within the territory they were authorised to work within, and they were able/willing to accept new assignments. This decision was then appealed to, and rejected by, the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Court of Appeal, and today the Supreme Court.

This case has been closely followed by those working within the “gig-economy” and will have considerable financial implications for Uber and other companies which provide work on this basis. Uber now face a bill for drivers’ pay for all the time which the drivers had their app switched on (and not just when they had a passenger). Backpay would be limited to 2 years’ pay or £25,000 (whichever the larger) in an employment tribunal but this could be 6 years’ back pay where a claim is brought to a county court.

It is important to bear in mind that the Tribunals and Courts will not be swayed by the documentation which you have in place but rather will look at the nature of the relationship itself to determine the employment status.

 

 

1.7million added to the list of people who need to shield

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The number of people being advised to shield from coronavirus in England has nearly doubled after a change in health guidance, including almost a million who are of working age.

An additional 1.7 million people have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced yesterday.

Of the new additions to the list, 820,000 are under the age of 70 and are unlikely to have been vaccinated.

Therefore they will need to be able to work from home or be offered furlough if possible!