Morgan Russell LLP Transferred to Dixcart Legal Limited on 1st May 2014
As from 1st May 2014, the business of Morgan Russell LLP (“Morgan Russell”) transferred to Dixcart Legal Limited (“Dixcart Legal”).
The partners at Morgan Russell worked together with international business advisors, Dixcart International Limited, to establish Dixcart Legal which is an Alternative Business Structure (“ABS”) regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the successor practice to Morgan Russell. Dixcart Legal is a subsidiary of Dixcart International Limited.
The ABS structure enables lawyers and non-lawyers to work together for the first time, allowing flexibility in terms of organisation and management.
The professional services available from Hillbrow House go beyond those provided by our fully regulated solicitors at Dixcart Legal and include the services available through Dixcart International. This can be of particular advantage to businesses entering the Western European market and/or operating in the UK for the first time.
All of the Morgan Russell lawyers and staff have joined Dixcart Legal and the professionals providing legal services, remain as prior to 1st May. The difference is that we have more resources for you to utilise; but only if you wish to do so.
We remain at our previous address at Hillbrow House in Esher, opposite Sandown Race Course and have the same phone number: 01372 461411.
Our Dixcart Legal website demonstrates the depth of commercial services (previously provided by Morgan Russell) that will continue to be available from Dixcart Legal.
Key Contact: Mel Smith
- Flexible working
- The Queen’s speech - 4 June 2014
- Employment tribunal claims
- Holiday pay to include commission
- Practical thoughts - Redundancy
Welcome to the early July edition of our newsletter providing you with useful information regarding changes to employment legislation, best practice and latest case information. In this edition we also add some practical guidance around handling redundancies, not an upbeat topic but sadly a common one.
The key legislative change this month is the introduction of the Flexible Working Regulations 2014 which came into force on 30 June 2014. The Regulations are supported by an ACAS Code of Practice and a Guide to Handling Requests To Work Flexibly. The Code of Practice provides an essential checklist and the Guide provides broader information and includes some useful examples. In summary the new legislation means that:
The Queen's speech, delivered on 4 June 2014, includes reference to the government’s plans to introduce a Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. Whilst the detail is awaited, the stated purpose of the Bill is to build a stronger economy by supporting small businesses as they compete. Some of the main elements of the Bill will be to:
ACAS has published a guide on Handling TUPE Transfers. It is a useful basic guide which includes sections on defining a TUPE transfer and the process required including a sample plan and a sample Employee Liability Information document.
The Ministry of Justice has now published tribunal statistics for January to March 2014 which do seem to show that the reduction in the number of claims since the introduction of fees in July 2013 has continued. Whilst there has been some debate on the figures, the headline reported by the Ministry is that the number of claims received is 67% lower than in the same period of 2013, and the lowest receipts since the statistical series began in 2008/09.
The Home Office has published a series of guides to assist employers with recent changes to the UK immigration system. They include Codes of Practice on the Civil Penalty Scheme and on Avoiding Discrimination whilst avoiding Illegal Working. They also include some practical advice around assessing the right to work in the UK including a Right to Work Checklist.
The key case this month is the judgment by the the European Court of Justice in Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd C-539/12 that a worker's statutory holiday pay must not be limited to basic salary where commission is earned under a contractual arrangement. The Court held that such a limit could deter the worker from exercising the right to annual leave which is a particularly important social right.
Unfortunately for some companies the impact of the economic climate is still taking its toll on the workforce. We have been advising a number of companies on their obligations in respect of redundancy. It is important, in order to avoid a claim for unfair dismissal, that employers follow a fair redundancy procedure. Consultation is paramount in any redundancy process and can often present a number of alternative options to dismissal. By engaging the workforce you are able to canvass ideas and alternative solutions with often surprising results. Any selection process must be based on tangible and fair criteria so that any subsequent redundancies are deemed fair.
- Legislative changes – TUPE
- Legislative changes – Tribunal Proceedings
- Legislative changes – Sick Pay
- Legislative changes – Tax & Social Security
- A fall in tribunal claims
- Government Review – industrial disputes and alleged intimidation tactics
- Cases – Surrogacy
- Cases - Collective consultation-protective awards
1. Legislative Changes - TUPE
The timeline for TUPE employee liability information notification increases from 14 to 28 days for transfers that take place on or after 1 May 2014. This was one of the amendments introduced by The Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/16) which came into force on 31 January 2014, as covered in some detail in our January newsletter.
2. Legislative Changes – Tribunal Proceedings
Early conciliation (EC) before a claim is lodged with an Employment Tribunal is now mandatory. Acas has launched a portal in support of the new process. The portal contains information about the EC process for individuals, employers and their representatives.
3. Legislative Changes - Sick Pay
Statutory Sick Pay is no longer reclaimable. Employers are currently liable to pay statutory Sick Pay (SSP) of £87.55 a week to eligible employees for up to 28 weeks. It has previously been possible for businesses with limited National Insurance contributions to reclaim some payments from the government. From 6th April 2014, The Statutory Sick Pay Percentage Threshold (Revocations, Transitional and Saving Provisions) (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) Order 2014 came into force and it is no longer possible for any employers to reclaim statutory sick pay.
The theory is that sums saved will go towards a new national Health and Work Service which is in the pipeline and will provide occupational health advice and support for employees, employers and GPs. See : https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-people-to-find-and-stay-in-work/supporting-pages/co-ordinating-the-health-work-and-wellbeing-initiative
4. Legislative Changes – Tax & Social Security
Employment allowance introduced. The government has introduced a scheme known as the Employment Allowance whereby employers can reduce employer Class 1 NICs by up to £2,000 each tax year. It is aimed primarily to help small and start-up businesses and has been available from 6 April 2014. Further details found at https://www.gov.uk/employment-allowance-up-to-2000-off-your-class-1-nics#ee.
5. A Fall in Tribunal Claims?
There has been much recent publicity around figures showing the fall in Employment Tribunal claims, apparently by 79% in the first six months since the Government imposed fees on workers bringing a claim. However the position is not consistent across the country and anecdotally some firms are reporting an upturn in claims. The next quarter’s figures are awaited with interest.
6. Government Review - Industrial disputes and alleged intimidation tactics
The Government has launched a Review to examine the law around the alleged use of extreme tactics in industrial disputes, including so-called leverage tactics and the effectiveness of the existing legal framework to prevent such actions in trade disputes
The review, launched in April, will be led by industrial relations lawyer Bruce Carr QC and has been tasked with making recommendations for change.
7. Cases - Surrogacy
In CD V Stand and anor, Case C-167/12 C.D. v S.T, the European Court of Justice considered two similar cases where mothers who had children via a surrogate had been denied maternity or adoption leave. The ECJ found that the right to maternity leave under European laws applied only to those women who had the biological connection of giving birth.
8. Cases - Collective consultation-protective awards
London Borough of Barnet v (1) UNISON (2) NSL Ltd. UKEAT/0191/13/RN. An ET has the power to make a protective award up to a maximum of 90 days’ pay where an employer fails to comply with an obligation to inform and consult in a collective redundancy exercise (section 188 of TULRCA 1992) or in a TUPE transfer (Regulation 13 of TUPE 2006). In this case, the EAT held that a tribunal was wrong to direct itself that the appropriate starting point for calculating the awards was the maximum 90 days’ pay, That should only be the case where the employer has taken no steps whatsoever to comply with its obligations .