Employment

We are the job well done.

Our clients connect with us to help them navigate the increasingly complex landscape of HR law. Many of them fear a tribunal, some simply struggle to understand their legal obligations to employees. Our experienced team of employment lawyers clear the complicated fog of questions to leave a smooth and simple way forward so that you can get on with the day-to-day job of running your business.. It’s one of many reasons why our employment team feature in the Legal 500 directory.

Employment lawyers for your HR law needs 

Of course, there are also times when reality bites and things go wrong. Perhaps you need to make redundancies, amend staff contracts, tackle poor performance or discipline an errant employee? Or perhaps an employee is bringing an employment claim against you? Our expert employment lawyers can give you the focussed help you need. What’s more, our employment litigators can represent you at an Employment Tribunal and provide advice and support from start to finish.

As you would expect, our employment lawyers have a wealth of experience in advising businesses on human resources matters including, in particular: 

Training from our friendly employment lawyers: pro-actively helping you prevent staff issues

At heart, the main aim of our employment lawyers is to help you stop issues arising in the first place so that there is a strong foundation on which to build the relationship with your staff. This is why we offer staff training in key HR areas. We know all too well that an hour or two of prevention is worth many days of cure.

More from the Downs Blog

DO YOU NEED TO OFFER ENHANCED SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE PAY?

When shared parental leave was introduced in 2015, one of the concerns was whether an employer would need to offer enhanced shared parental leave pay if the employer provided enhanced adoption and/or maternity leave pay.

Domestic Abuse in the Workplace

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy undertook a report into domestic abuse and the workplace. The report identified that the number of domestic abuse cases had increased during the pandemic and that 1 in 5 victims of domestic abuse had time off work. Sadly, research found that few employers were able to identify the signs of domestic abuse and/or had policies or procedures available to help support survivors.

The Spring Budget 2021: A Summary

As the UK eagerly tuned in to the most anticipated Budget for a generation, many were left wondering what the Chancellor’s traditional “rabbit out of a hat” might contain - especially as several big measures had been announced beforehand.

Uber Drivers are workers and not self-employed, Supreme Court rules

19 February 2021. The UK Supreme Court has issued its judgment in the highly anticipated case of Uber BV v Aslam, in which the key issue was the employment status of Uber drivers. The ruling reinforced the findings of earlier legal challenges (most recently the Court of Appeal in 2018), which found that Uber drivers are workers and not self-employed.

Can I force my staff to have the Covid Vaccination?

Recent news reports indicate that some employers are considering making it compulsory for their staff to have a Covid vaccination.  Is this a lawful, or even sensible, move by employers?

Caring for your employee’s mental health

The WHO defines good mental health as: “a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stress of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Millions of UK workers to receive increase in pay from April 2021

In April of each year, the Government increases statutory payments that are payable to workers and employees. 

Working from home - where do you stand?

Under new government guidance, you should work from home if you can effectively do so. However, some employers may ask their employees to return to work whilst restrictions are in place - particularly if it is not reasonable to carry out that work at home. For those who are concerned about health problems, or juggling childcare, where do you stand in the eyes of the law?

What the new lockdown means for businesses, employees and workers

The third lockdown in England legally came into force on 6 January 2021. How long it will last is uncertain. At least until mid-February and possibly until late March. Vaccination provides a route out of the pandemic, but businesses need to survive this final and possibly longest of the lockdowns.

We are open

During these uncertain times, it is good to know you can count on us.

Even after the recent Government announcement of another national lockdown we remain open for business and are here to help you.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extended Until March 2021

On Thursday 5 November 2020, the Chancellor announced that the furlough scheme is to be extended until the end of March 2021. During this period you will be able to claim up to 80% of an Employees salary up to a cap of £2500.

 

Coronavirus Update - CJRS Extended

The Chancellor announced over the weekend that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) that was due to end on 31st October will be extended until 2nd December.  The level of support available under the extended scheme will mirror that of what was available under the CJRS in August, with the Government paying 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500.

Chancellor announces changes to the Job Support Scheme

The Chancellor announced on Thursday 22 October that the Government contribution to employers’ wage costs under the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be increased. Employers will be expected to pay 5% of the cost of unworked hours instead of the 33% originally announced.

Coronavirus Update - CJRS Bonus - Are you eligible?

Back in the summer the Chancellor announced that employers could receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who had previously been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme  provided they remained continuously employed to the end of January 2021.  Businesses will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus from 15 February 2021 and the Government has stated that further guidance will be provided by the end of January 2021.

Coronavirus Update - Jobs Support Scheme announced

With new government guidance on Covid coming into force today and the current furlough scheme coming to an end next month, as expected, the Chancellor has today announced a new scheme to help businesses.  

Latest government Covid measures re-introduce work from home message

As Covid-19 cases continue to climb, the UK faces ever tougher restrictions. But, with the furlough scheme winding down, what rights do employers and employees have when returning to work?

 

Barclays backtracks in privacy row over worker surveillance project

Barclays Bank has withdrawn a system that monitored employees’ computers, tracking individual working patterns and how much time each day was spent on breaks. Details of the pilot project came to light after a Barclays whistle blower reported it to a newspaper.

New contract terms affecting all new employees and workers to come into force on April 6 2020

From 6 April 2020 there will be changes to the minimum written terms that must be provided to employees AND the timing of when these terms must be provided to them. These terms are known as Section 1 statements, referring to Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA).

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations set to come into force on 6 April 2020

Downs Solicitors is pleased to play a small part in helping to raise awareness of a new and important piece of employment law that is coming into force in April 2020. The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations will be known as Jack’s Law. This is in memory of Jack Herd who died in 2010 and whose mother, Lucy, has campaigned tirelessly ever since for mandatory leave for grieving parents.

What could work look like in 2020?

One of the big focuses in recent years has been on flexible working and how it has changed the concept of a “normal” working day. From challenging the norms of 9-5 working to commuting time counting as working time, there’s no doubt that the new decade could bring a new shape of working – but what does that mean for business leaders and their HR teams?

How might the decision to make ethical veganism a philosophical belief affect employers?

Jordi Casamitjana was dismissed in 2018 by The League Against Cruel sports for gross misconduct. Mr Casamitjana, an ethical vegan, claims that his dismissal came after telling colleagues that their employer’s pension fund was being invested in companies involved in animal testing. His solicitors claimed that the decision to dismiss was made because of his beliefs around ethical veganism.

Workers’ Rights – What the main parties are saying in their election manifestos

With the General Election looming on 12th December what are the main parties saying in their election manifesto's on workers' rights.  David Seals, Head of Employment, takes a look at the key messages.

Workplace health and well-being – It’s time to talk the menopause. A guide for employers

Introduction

Improving the conversation about the menopause at work is important for both workers and employers. For the worker experiencing symptoms, the onset of the menopause can be a challenging time and one that is a sensitive and personal matter. For an employer, menopause is a health and well-being concern for their workers and one that needs managing sensitively.

What should we take away from the sudden departure of Steve Easterbook from McDonalds

The departure of McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook at the weekend for having a consensual relationship with another employee created headlines for numerous reasons. Not least because of the $675,000 severance payment, but because he was the company’s Chief Executive and don’t things like that get conveniently swept under the carpet? No longer it seems.

Time to call for further workplace flexibility

Whilst many see flexible working as an opportunity to juggle a work life balance more successfully, a lot of work needs to be done around overall wellbeing for the employee – and ways in which the employer can help facilitate that.

Self-employed? You might want to think about how you will fund retirement

According to recent news, the average self-employed worker faces working until they are 79 to secure a big enough pension pot to support them in later life.

Another GDPR data breach hits the headlines

No sooner have we published a blog about British Airways’ largest GDPR fine on record, we find another story in the news.

BA Faces "Largest" GDPR Breach Fine

British Airways (BA) looks set to face the largest GDPR penalty by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of £183m for last year’s data breach that put 500,000 customers’ details at risk.

Stress in the workplace

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), stress, depression and anxiety were the main factors for time off work in 2017/18, equating to 15.4 million working days lost.

3 Ways employers can take better care of the older workforce

People are living longer and therefore, they are working longer. According to the latest data from the ONS, there has been a rise in the number of over-50s in the workplace due to changes in the state pension age and shortfalls in pension payments.

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