​Work Trials and the Minimum Wage

Some prospective employers require candidates to carry out tasks relevant to the job on offer, without payment, as part of the recruitment process. Whilst using such a scheme to decide whether a job applicant has the skills necessary to fulfil the vacancy is a legitimate practice, some employers may use unpaid work periods to obtain for free work or services for which the National Minimum Wage (NMW)…

​NICs on Termination Payments Deferred

Because of delays in implementing the National Insurance Contributions Bill, the payment of employers' Class 1A National Insurance Contributions on termination payments above £30,000, which was due to commence in April 2019, has been deferred until April 2020.

​New National Minimum Wage Rates

The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission as regards the National Living Wage (NLW) and the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates that will apply with effect from 1 April 2019:

  • The NLW, which applies to those aged 25 and over, will increase from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour;
  • The NMW for 21- to 24-year-olds will increase from £7.38 to…

HSE – First-Aid Guidance and Mental Health

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated its guidance on first-aid in the workplace to remind employers of the need to cover mental health issues.

All workplaces must have first-aid provision at all times – i.e. equipment, facilities and suitably trained personnel – that is 'adequate and appropriate in the circumstances'. In order to determine what provision is needed, employers…

​Untaken Paid Holiday – Does Failure to Request Leave Result in its Loss?

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has supported the opinion of the Advocate General that the mere fact that a worker did not apply to take annual leave cannot automatically mean the loss of the right to payment in lieu of untaken leave at the end of the employment relationship (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Fӧrderung der Wissenschaften eV v Tetsuji Shimizu).

The claimant…

Untaken Paid Holiday – Deceased's Heir's Right to Compensation in Lieu

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled in two further cases on the treatment of workers' untaken paid annual leave (Stadt Wuppertal v Maria Elisabeth Bauer and Volker Willmeroth v Martina Broßonn).

The late husbands of the claimants had not used up all their paid annual leave entitlement before they died. The men's employers refused to pay their widows an allowance in…

​Restrictive Covenants

The departure of a senior employee who has had access to confidential information is a frequent source of anxiety but, as a High Court case showed, a professionally drafted employment contract can be invaluable in putting such fears to rest (Caretower Limited v Posner and Others).

The case concerned an IT and cybersecurity company, one of whose account managers had resigned and taken…

​If Workplace Banter Oversteps the Mark, it is the Employer Who Pays

A certain amount of banter can be the mark of a happy workplace, but it is all too easy for the line of acceptability to be overstepped. In a cautionary tale of which employers should take careful note, a woman who was subjected to deeply offensive sexual harassment by a colleague was awarded £20,000 in compensation (Jackson v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited).

The woman, who worked…

​Gross Misconduct – A Forbidden Act May Not Be Enough to Justify Dismissal

That some forms of workplace behaviour constitute misconduct may appear beyond dispute, but the truth is not always obvious and it is beholden on employers to carry out full and fair investigations. That point was strikingly made in a case concerning a lorry driver who was overcome with a desperate urge to relieve himself due to the diabetes from which he suffers (Asda Stores Limited v Raymond).

Executive Held to Non-Compete Clause in Share Allocation Agreement

Share allocations are a widely used means of incentivising staff, but they are rarely a free meal ticket and reciprocal obligations are usually imposed on those who benefit from them. That was certainly so in the case of an executive who took a job with a competitor a few months after he was dismissed from his post (Ideal Standard International S.A. and Another v Herbert).

The man worked…