In Braine and others v The National Gallery, the Tribunal has decided that 27 “freelance” art educators at the National Gallery were “workers” during individual assignments.
The Tribunal rejected the National Gallery’s argument that the individuals were independent contractors. The individuals were offered assignments on a periodical basis and during this time they were under the control of the Gallery, required to perform their roles personally and were integrated into the organisation. For example, they undertook training with the Gallery, they were not permitted to appoint a substitute and they were required to comply with the Gallery’s teaching and presentation guidelines.
In this case the Tribunal confirmed that not every art educator would be deemed to be a “worker”. For example, if an individual carried out work at another gallery and was not subject to the same level of control and integration, they could be deemed to be self-employed.  (more…)

The short answer is yes, in certain circumstances.
In the case of Antuzis v DJ Houghton Catching Services Ltd, the directors were personally liable for a company’s breaches to its employees, which included the refusal to allow paid holiday, not paying for time actually worked, refusal to pay overtime and paying less than the minimum wage for agricultural workers. The Court decided that in knowingly directing the company to breach its statutory obligations, the directors were not acting in the best interests of the company, referring in particular to the severe damage done to its reputation. (more…)

In Gan Menachem Hendon Limited v de Groen, an ultra-orthodox Jewish nursery asked a teacher to confirm that she no longer lived with her boyfriend, given that this was contrary to the beliefs of ultra-orthodox Jews.  The teacher refused and the nursery dismissed her.  The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that this did not comprise discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, given that the teacher had been treated less favourably due to the nursery’s beliefs, rather than her own beliefs. (more…)

In April 2019, various changes were made to a number of rates. For example:

  • Statutory maternity pay increased to £145.18 per week;
  • Statutory sick pay increased to £94.25 per week; and
  • The cap on a week’s pay when calculating statutory redundancy payments increased to £525 per week.
  • The cap on the compensatory award for an unfair dismissal claim has increased to £86,444.
  • For discrimination claims, the injury to feelings bands were updated, meaning that individuals can now claim the following:
    • Lower band (less serious cases): £900 to £8,800;
    • Middle band: £8,800 to £26,300; and
    • Upper band (most serious cases): £26,300 to £44,000

The significance of the distinction lies in the legal rights attached to the different groups. Employees are entitled to the whole range of employment rights, including unfair dismissal protection, sick pay and maternity/paternity leave. Workers have more limited rights, including to the national minimum wage and holiday pay. They are also protected from discrimination. Self-employed contractors have far fewer rights but enjoy flexibility and different tax treatment. Various tests are used to decide status, including whether personal service is required, the degree of control exercised over the individual and if the business is a client or customer of the individual. (more…)

Sexual harassment in the workplace and the use and misuse of non disclosure agreements (NDAs) have been the subject of much debate, with the light shone on areas previously hidden from view. This reached its peak at the back end of the year with a court issuing an injunction preventing the Daily Telegraph from publishing details about “discreditable conduct” by an unnamed executive-they were subsequently named in Parliament. (more…)

The tax treatment of termination payments changed last April. All payments in lieu of notice are now subject to tax and national insurance contributions, whether or not they are contractual. There are different formulas to calculate the taxable sum (an easy and a hard version) depending on various factors and whilst the intention was to simplify the law in this area, it has led to employers having to do some rather complicated calculations to determine what portion of a payment is taxable. (more…)

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) came into force in May. The GDPR which applies to all EU member states will still need to continue to be followed by employers in the UK regardless of Brexit. It is relevant to all employers, irrespective of the type of business, all of whom will process personal data about their staff and there are potentially very large fines for non compliance. (more…)

The abolition of fees to lodge a claim in the Employment Tribunals has led to a huge increase in claims.  The latest statistics (April- June 2018) show an increase of 165% in the number of single claims as compared with the same period in 2017 (when fees were still in place).  Whilst many welcome this as widening access to justice it has led to significant delays in the tribunal system.  In November 2018, the Government announced that fees may be reintroduced in some form although no set plans have been announced. (more…)

Employment Status – Uber has been given leave to appeal the finding of worker status to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Government responded to recommendations on employment status in the Taylor Review (an independent review of modern working practices) in its ‘Good Work Plan’, stating that it will legislate to improve clarity in this area. However, so far no concrete proposals have emerged.
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