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Alexandra Dean
 

What is furlough fraud?

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The government’s furlough schemes have offered essential support to both businesses and the self-employed in the UK during the ongoing pandemic. However, HMRC is now cracking down on instances of furlough fraud where a business or individual has...

Harassment hits hard at every level

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When bullying or racism is involved, seniority and titles do not confer special protection Bullying or racism may seem the fate of the underdog, but recent headlines have shown how it may affect anyone at any level, including royalty and...

When beliefs extend beyond Veganuary

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When beliefs extend beyond Veganuary Record numbers signed up to ditch meat during January for the Veganuary Challenge, but even when burgers are back on the menu, employers need to keep an eye on safeguarding ethical beliefs for vegans who make it a...

Stress-testing before celebrating a virtual office Christmas

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Christmas traditionally brings a round of festive celebrations for customers and employees , but with current Covid-19 restrictions, companies are having to re-think drinks and dinners for customers and learn how to stage a virtual staff party. Plans that...

Why Big Brother needs to watch out when it comes to employee monitoring

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The ‘Big Brother’ surveillance scenario envisaged by George Orwell has long since become reality. The ability to watch citizens outlined in the futuristic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four , published in 1949, is now firmly fact not...

Planning for employing overseas workers in 2021

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Planning for employing overseas workers in 2021 If you employ workers from overseas, or you plan to in the future, you will need to understand the changes to the immigration system coming into play from January 1 st , 2021. As of this...

The new immigration rules: deadlines you need to know

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The UK’s new immigration system will come into effect on 1st January 2021 and will apply to both EU citizens and non-EU citizens. This means that citizens of EU member states (with the exception of Ireland) who want to move to the UK on or after 1st...

Can My Employer Force Me to go Back to Work?

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The Government says that now is the right time to go back to work. Amid concerns that the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has turned our city centres into ‘ghost towns’, businesses are being encouraged to reopen their...

How can a business avoid the top three most common mistakes in a redundancy process?

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Here at Gepp, we appreciate that sometimes businesses have to make the tough decisions of making redundancies in the workplace in order to save costs. We know that it is not easy and we did write about some of the ways that the business is affected by more...

Illegal workers: What to do about Civil penalties from the Home Office

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If you are an employer concerned about illegal workers in your business, you are not alone. Many employers fall foul of the UK immigration rules each year, causing difficulties for their business, not least because of the fine that you might face and indeed...

Hairdresser wins an Employment Tribunal case determining that she is a worker and not self-employed

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Meghan Gorman from Lancashire worked as a hairdresser for 6 years for Terence Paul, a Manchester City Centre salon that closed in 2019. During her employment, Meghan was under a contract that deemed her self-employed and not employed by the salon. This...

From Australia to Essex - This brilliant mum launched her own successful bouncy business

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Kimberlee Perry is the founder of trampoline fitness company Bounce. In a recent interview with The BBC's weekly The Boss series, she told her story. Kimberlee is an Australian native but has moved to London when she was 18. Back in 2014, when she...

How can a business avoid the top three most common mistakes in a redundancy process?

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Here at Gepp, we appreciate that sometimes businesses have to make the tough decisions of making redundancies in the workplace in order to save costs. We know that it is not easy and we did write about some of the ways that the business is affected ...

New Job Support Scheme announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak

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As we suspected, the Furlough scheme will not be extended and will be coming to an end on 31 October 2020. There is still enough uncertainty around which means that we do not have a clear idea of what the landscape will look like for companies and...

More female applicants respond to changed job adverts

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Last month, Thames Water have admitted on Twitter that they have seen a surge of applications from female candidates to their jobs from 8% to a massive 46% of applicants for a new role advertised. How? They attributed it to removing 'masculine' words...

Can Employment Tribunal Fees be re-introduced?

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It is now a well-known fact that the Employment Tribunal fees were abolished in 2017 after a challenge run by the Trade Union, Unison, reached the Court of Appeal which determined that the 2013 scheme was unlawful. As a result, the Ministry of Justice had to...

Tips for companies to avoid accidental 'furlough fraud'

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We wrote previously about the increased powers that HMRC are expected to have in investigating and going after any company who is found to have misused the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the "Scheme") and this can be found HERE ...

Can your boss spy on you whilst you are working from home?

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Now that we have all settled in quite comfortably to working from home (whether we have embraced the pyjamas, latest loungewear or seeking some normalcy with smart-casual attire), the question arises as to how employers can continue to monitor the...

Can my employer let other colleagues know about my redundancy before I know?

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Let's put this one really simply - you are allowed to feel aggrieved if your employer has told some of your colleagues that you are being made redundant before you have officially found out about it. No one can tell you otherwise on that. ...

Will The Furlough Scheme be extended - unlikely

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Furlough Scheme extension appears unlikely as the new Kickstart Scheme comes into effect As of 1 September 2020, the Government's Kickstart Scheme has come into play. Under the Kickstart Scheme, employers will receive grants of £1,500 to provide...

Another Win Against Discrimination: Asian Royal Mail Employee Wins Race Discrimination Claim

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Recently, Mr Rizwan Shah, succeeded in a race discrimination claim against his employer - Royal Mail - and received a compensation payment of £30,000. Race Discrimination has been very clearly against the law since the Race Relations Act 1965, which...

(Almost) Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Settlement Agreements

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Settlement Agreements may sound a little bit like an ambiguous idea that no one really understands. At the same time, it is another word that is making itself comfortable in our daily vocabulary like redundancy, especially because the two seem to be...

Furlough and Maternity / Paternity Leave

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The deadline for placing employees on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("Furlough Scheme") has long passed. As of 10 June 2020 and we are all familiar with the Furlough Scheme and indeed the changes that are regularly taking...

High Time for Employment Services - ACAS Services received calls at up to THREE times their usual rate

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We are under no illusion that the current climate is difficult for everyone - individuals and businesses are facing a very uncertain future as they try to muddle their way through and ideally come out of the Coronavirus crisis and unavoidable recession as...

Will The Furlough Scheme Be Extended Again?

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The furlough scheme, or as it is formally known - the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, is currently set to continue until 31 October 2020. We provided some information about it here . However, looking elsewhere in Europe, is it possible that the...

Let's Talk About How Redundancy Affects Businesses

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We wrote at length about the burning questions relating to redundancy that employees have when facing the process and how they can handle it . At the same time, we know that companies want to undertake the processes in the easiest and simplest way possible...

EAT Determines: Reasonable Adjustments Made by Employers Can Include An Undertaking And Refer to Potential Compensation

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In a recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal ("EAT"), it was determined that a reasonable adjustment under Section 20 of the Equality Act 2020 could include an undertaking by an employer to an employee of a certain condition and,...

Will The Novelty Of Home-Working Well And Truly Wear Off?

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There is no doubt that the current pandemic has forced the world to move forward with flexible and remote working, a conversation that has been in the works for a while and has been moved up a few notches due to the situation where employees have simply had...

Redundancy During Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions

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Redundancy is a word that is making itself comfortable in everyone's lexicon. Recent data from the Office of National Statistics ("ONS") has recently revealed that 730,000 workers have lost their jobs during lockdown - meaning between March...

How Hot Is Too Hot?

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The last time things got a little too hot, many of us were in the height of lockdown so sitting in the garden was the reprieve. We are now seeing another heatwave here in the UK and The Met Office has even confirmed that yesterday London saw temperatures...

Ministry of Defence set to take positive steps to tackle Discrimination

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We are of the view that the tide is finally beginning to turn on discrimination in the workplace and more companies are taking positive steps to eradicate it from the outset. We wrote here about the steps that employers can take, as a starting point...

Companies Perform Better with more Female Executives

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New research conducted by The Pipeline (Diversity and Inclusion specialists), into London based companies, shows that companies with at least one third of their bosses being female are more profitable in that their profit margin at least 10 times greater...

New Government Consultation calls for more information about Workplace support for victims of Domestic Violence

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The government has launched a review into the support available in the workplace, currently, for employees that suffer from domestic violence . The consultation seeks evidence and information onto what is available for employees nowadays and what...

Race Discrimination Still Has No Place In The Workplace!

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The Black Lives Matters movement continues to rightfully garner support worldwide, and it is important to realise that the issues of discrimination are still, unfortunately, alive and well within the workplace and must be eradicated. Recently,...

Furloughed Employees Facing Redundancy Will Be Looked After

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As of Friday 31 July 2020, a new law will be enforced whereby any employee that is facing redundancy following a period of furlough, will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay on the basis of their pre-furlough salary and not the furloughed amount. ...

Holidaymakers Returning From Spain May Not Be Paid For Their Quarantine

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This past week the Government announced that Spain is no longer included in the "air bridges" list and for the 600,000 British holidaymakers who were in Spain at that time it means that they now have to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to...

British Gas Are Changing Their Employees' Contract Terms

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Centrica, the company that owns British Gas, has announced that they will be undergoing a consultation with their workforce with a view of changing the terms and conditions of employment for all of their employees. The company has explained that they are...

Bonuses announced to avoid mass unemployment

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced recently a new scheme worth £2billion that will seek to prevent the impending mass unemployment as the UK economy is hit by the Coronavirus crisis. In particular, the focus is on the young people as it is estimated...

Neither Better Nor Worse - How TUPE Protects When Employees Transfer

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The directors of a property management company ran into a brick wall when they tried to boost their own benefits package before transferring to a new employer under the TUPE regulations. TUPE – which stands for the Transfer of...

Companies need to get it right to protect against competition

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Companies looking to protect their business by relying on non-compete clauses for key employees should check that any post-termination restrictions are reasonable. When an employee leaves and there is a threat of commercially sensitive information about...

What If My Employer Broke The Furlough Rules?

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It has been found that the system of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme) which was meant to support businesses during these difficult times has been very open to abuse by employers and businesses . A survey found that more than a third of the...

HMRC Will Have More Powers to Reclaim Falsely Claimed Furlough Payments

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It has now been announced that, next week Chancellor Rishi Sunak will add new legislation to allow HMRC greater powers to go after those that disobeyed the rules of the Scheme - namely those that forced staff to continue working, even just in part, whilst...

Bentley is cutting a QUARTER of its UK Workforce: But was it announced before employees were told?

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Last week, Joel Hills of ITV tweeted that Bentley Motors were planning to lay off up to 1,000 employees and that the company will make the "Announcement tomorrow". Very soon after, Hills was inundated with questions about the source of his...

Can Employees Be Dismissed Over Zoom?

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With remote working now becoming the norm, most of our work meetings and conversations have become this strange mix of faces on our computer screens. This is as close as we can get to the formality of having face to face meetings during the current global...

The Importance of Employees' Trust in People's Processes and Functions

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Recent research conducted by Zenbusiness showed that more than half of employees do not have faith in the people function of the business which can have a detrimental effect on morale and productivity across the board. Here at Gepps, we always encourage our...

Gordon Ramsay in the midst of Furlough Questions

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By now, we are all aware of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS") and what it means for businesses and employees. Last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, confirmed that whilst the Furlough Scheme will be extended until October...

Updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS")

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced last week that the CJRS has been extended until 31 October 2020 but has advised that there will be some changes to the way the scheme currently works as he will be looking for more of the responsibility to shift back to...

Delayed, But Not Cancelled: Company Responsibilities During Lockdown

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Company directors will be focused on the bottom line and corporate governance as they continue to navigate their way through the pandemic lockdown and the Government’s route map towards business as usual. Many will be worried at the...

Employment Tribunal decides - telling a woman she "has balls" is not sexist

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Recently, the Employment Tribunal at London Central determined that the Claimant, Rachel Power, was not discriminated against or victimised by the CEO of Secure Code Warrior Ltd of Northampton despite telling her that she "has balls". In 2018, Ms...

What do your Terms and Conditions say about your business?

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What do your Terms and Conditions say about your business? Unfortunately, the current climate has proven that many companies do not have terms and conditions that completely protect them and / or the business needs and that has caused some...

Company Christmas Parties: How To Avoid Issues

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Avoiding a cracker of a hangover from the company Christmas party... As the clock ticks down to Christmas party time, companies need to avoid the event becoming the wrong sort of cracker. Any company-organised office party, whether in or out of...

Restaurants Are Being BANNED From Taking Tips

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Reaching tipping point on gratuities... Restaurateurs and other hospitality sector businesses should not bank on Brexit delaying the Government’s plans for legislation designed to deal with tipping protocols. In December last year the...

Childcare During The Holidays: Bring Your Kid To Work Day?

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Bring your kid to work day...? If you work full time in the UK, you are entitled to at least 28 days of paid annual leave, including the eight bank holidays. However, for parents of school-age children, the numbers don’t quite add up. First of...

A Rocky Road to Freedom of Expression

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Two recent tribunal claims highlight the challenge for employers in safely navigating personal expression by employees in the workplace. A hospital nurse who discussed her Christian views with patients, offering a bible to one and advising...

LGBTQ+ Rights At Work

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June is Pride month, when the LGBTQ+ community celebrates with a series of events. It’s a joyful and fun time, but it’s also a protest - there are still battles to be fought, especially when it comes to discrimination in the workplace. Nobody...

Selling Privately-Owned Companies: It's All In The Planning

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When it comes to selling privately-owned companies, it’s all in the planning... For the shareholding directors of many privately-owned companies, the end-game is focused on selling up before moving on to new ventures or sometimes retirement. But many...

Working Longer, For Less: The Change In Pension Ages

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Working longer, for less... Not only are we all working longer hours, but we’re also staying in work for longer too. The pension age has just risen yet again, and this time women are taking the hit as the state pension age raises from 60...

When Does Hugging Become Unacceptable Behaviour?

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Physical contact in the workplace is a very high-profile topic among bosses, workers, and HR departments at the moment. On the back of two very public controversies, where men in positions of power got a little bit too ‘touchy-feely’ with their...

Brexit: Maddening but not frustrating when it comes to contracts

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Brexit may be maddening for business, communities and even the politicians in the thick of it, but in all the uncertainty, one thing seems certain, the UK’s exit from the European Union is no easy argument for ending a contract. The ruling...

Equality takes centre stage for employers

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The #TimesUp campaign has captured headlines with its push for greater diversity and equality in Hollywood and the entertainment sector, but these shifting attitudes are mirrored in legislative changes in the UK which will affect employers in the coming...

The cost of getting too close for comfort

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Profits have taken a tumble at fashion retailer Ted Baker after staff made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against founder Ray Kelvin, who has now taken a voluntary leave of absence while investigations take place. The news follows hard on the...

What is a settlement agreement?

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Employment disputes can be expensive and time-consuming to resolve, causing a lot of stress and hassle to both employers and employees if they are not handled correctly. However, in many cases, employment disputes can be resolved quickly in a way that works...

Getting sacked is no laughing matter...

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Liverpudlian comedian Adam Rowe won the recent ‘Dave’s funniest joke of the fringe’ at the Edinburgh Festival with… "Working at the Jobcentre has to be a tense job - knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the...

How are businesses coping?

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Now that GDPR has been in force for a number of months, we thought it was time to take a look at how it’s affecting businesses. Are companies struggling to keep up? What impact have the regulations had on digital services? Are we likely to see...

Will a criminal conviction affect my employability?

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If you have received a criminal conviction or caution in the past, you may be concerned about your future career prospects. You may be concerned as to whether employers have the right to retract a job offer if they find out about your past conviction or...

Pass me the invisible ink James...

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Mention spies and you may think of James Bond scaling a building in the dead of night, but when it comes to commercial espionage it’s more likely to be Jim in product development, who has a new job with a competitor, or a cyber specialist sitting a...

Employers must tackle their game plan before kick-off

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With the 2018 World Cup about to kick-off in Moscow, football fans will have their eye on the ball, whether for England or their home country and following England’s 2-1 win in its warm-up friendly with Nigeria, the tactics for the team are likely to...

The Windrush immigration scandal

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The Windrush immigration scandal has highlighted many stories of individual suffering from people who believed they were legitimately living and working in the UK. Many have lost their jobs and while it may seem employers have been unduly harsh, under the...

Does Equality Really Exist in the Armed Forces?

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It took nearly 100 years, but in July 2017 women were afforded the right to fight on the frontline. It is a glaring reality that men still make up a significant proportion of those serving in the British Armed Forces, with women making up only...

Income tax must be paid in lieu of notice

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Income tax and national insurance contributions (“NICs”) must be paid on all payments in lieu of notice (“PILONs”) with effect from 6 April 2018 From 6 April 2018 all payments in lieu of notice (only where employment...

New statutory pay rates for 2018

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The Department for Work and Pensions has published statutory rates for maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay, sick pay and national living wage for 2018-19. The new figures will come into force in...

Increase in UK unfair dismissal claims

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The Government has announced new limits on the maximum compensation that the Employment Tribunal can award for unfair dismissal claims. The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2018 will change the calculation of statutory redundancy payments and the...

Tesco to face UK's largest ever equal pay claim

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In a recent news article published by the BBC they reported that Tesco is facing Britain's largest ever equal pay claim and a possible bill running to £4bn. Many thousands of women who work in Tesco stores could be entitled to receive back pay...

Making a case study of an enforceable contract

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The judgment in the case of Blue v Ashley The basic requirements of a contract are that both sides have reached an agreement, which is intended to be legally binding, is supported by consideration, and is sufficiently certain and complete to be...

Was your redundancy unfair?

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There are certain criteria that need to be met in order for a redundancy to be considered a fair dismissal. Areas to consider when being made redundant include: redundancy pay, notice period, consultation with your employer and time off to find a new job. If...

Can your boss make you work at Christmas?

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With just one month to go before Christmas, we’re all looking forward to a few days off with family, friends, or just curled up with a good film and a loved one for the day. However, life still goes on (even on Christmas Day) and there are plenty of...

Can grandparents charge you for babysitting?

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Childcare is, after your mortgage or rent payments, one of the biggest family expenditures. For working parents, finding someone they can trust to look after young children while they work can be incredibly difficult, and very expensive. While the government...

How rural employers are having to rethink their employment strategies

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We haven’t even shut the door on Europe yet, and already farms are finding it difficult to hire foreign seasonal workers for next year’s harvests. Since Brexit was announced, there have been plenty of divisive headlines about crops potentially...

Lessons for business from the #metoo headlines

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Following the allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein and other leading figures, businesses need to make sure they have clear policies to inspire the right culture in their workplace. The initial revelations about the Hollywood mogul...

What are the restrictions of employing young people?

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The legal minimum age a child can work is 13 years old as a part-time worker, however there are exceptions to when a child can work below this age. For children who are between 13 and not more than 16 years of age, there are restrictions to where and...

And Wimbledon begins

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As Wimbledon begins there is no doubt that the tournament will be full of surprises. However, as an employer have you considered what surprises your business could face during times of sporting events? As an employer, are your employees allowed to have time...

Good intentions not enough in wage calculations

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Accurate calculations of the National Minimum Wage continue to cause headaches for employers, with an employment tribunal acknowledging the complexity, saying there is no single key to unlock every case. Recently, unintentional underpayments in staff pay...

Corporate Governance Code: Changes Imminent?

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In February 2017, the Financial Reporting Council ('FRC') announced a fundamental review of the UK Corporate Governance Code. It will then ask for consultation on the proposed changes later in the year. Following the disastrous corporate...

Workforce wellbeing must include mental health awareness

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Understanding of mental health issues is high on the agenda, thanks to the involvement of the younger members of the Royal family in the Heads Together awareness campaign which has seen the # oktosay hashtag trending. Their activity gave an extra boost to...

White-collar crime agencies stepping up their efforts

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Public awareness of white-collar crime has come to the fore in recent years and the Government is under ever-greater pressure to put a stop to corrupt practices. This year, the biggest crime agencies are being audited to determine their effectiveness and...

Small suppliers set to get intel on big company payment performance

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New regulations designed to help small businesses get paid on time came into force this month, with a requirement for larger companies to publish information about how long they take to pay suppliers. The requirement affects companies and LLPs who...

ACAS reports on the impact of the Agency Workers Regulations

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ACAS have reported that the Employment Trends Survey, which covers 319 businesses and a total workforce of 1.9 million people, found that almost half of firms (46%) report that their business has been affected as a direct result of the regulations. ...

Courts hit high and hard with new health and safety fines

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One year after the introduction of tough new health and safety sentencing guidelines, a series of high profile cases show that courts are not holding back when it comes to imposing the higher fines, which can be directly linked to a corporate...

Complex challenges for employers in the year ahead

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Constant changes and increasing complexity have helped make employment law a frontline challenge for business and this year looks set to continue the trend. The first weeks of January saw Maggie Dewhurst, a bike courier with City Sprint, winning her case to...

Legal right to avoid work emails...

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In a recent news article it was reported that French employees will have the right to avoid emails outside their usual working hours. The new law, which has been dubbed the "right to disconnect", came into force on 1 January. Companies with more...

How employers can say no, without saying a word

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As the countdown to the festive season gets underway, employers juggling the pre-Christmas workload need to ensure workers are enabled to take their rest breaks. The warning comes after an employer was found to have failed to take the necessary steps to...

Are 'Power Naps' the answer?

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According to a new study report on by the BBC , sleep-deprived workers are costing the UK economy £40bn a year. The calculation is based on tired employees being less productive or absent from work altogether. Research firm Rand Europe, which...

Assault at the Christmas Party

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The High Court held in the case of Bellman v Northampton Recruitment that a company would not be vicariously liable for injuries caused by an employee after a work Christmas party had ended. The case involved an assault of a manager by a director after a...

Hot air and bra sizes all add to the discrimination mix

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The news that Airbnb has adopted a new anti-discrimination code, following accusations of racism by hosts on the home-sharing site, highlights the growing challenge in managing this increasingly sensitive issue. Other recent headlines have ranged from...

Gender pay gap may remain until 2069

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Research from Deloitte has said the gender pay gap in the UK may not close until 2069 based on current salary progression. Deloitte has said that the current hourly pay gap between men and women of 9.4% was narrowing by just two-and-a-half pence a year. It...

Employers warned that they could be missing out on top staff

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The employer advice group ACAS, has suggested that negative attitudes towards visible tattoos are outdated and could be causing employers to miss out on top staff by rejecting candidates with tattoos. A Yougov poll in 2015 suggested that nearly a fifth of...

​Government incentive to boost apprenticeships

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The Government is to offer a £2,000 levy to businesses that take on teenagers, care leavers and those with special educational needs as apprentices. Under the plans, small businesses will be subsidised with 90% of the costs of providing...

Sexual Harrassment at Work

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A survey undertaken by the BBC suggests that more than half of women say that they have been sexually harassed at work. To some extremes, parcels containing sex toys left at a work desk by a male colleague, a senior boss telling an employee that he wanted...

UK Unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9%

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According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK’s unemployment rate has fallen to 1.65 million in the March-to-May period. This is down 54,000 from the previous quarter. The number of people in work rose by 176,000, with the...

Not such a dozy idea after all...

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The company that pays its staff to sleep Numerous studies have shown a correlation between sleep deprivation and poor employee performance in the office, with businesses facing the consequences that a lack of sleep has on productivity and...