Articles

Here you will find all the latest news from the SCE team. In this section we will feature news about what we have been up to, recent mentions in the press, information about the work we do in the community and lots more.

Monthly Archive July 2018

Restricting employment allowance for illegal workers

In a move to crack down on illegal workers in the UK, the Government introduced a policy back in April 2018 that removes the eligibility for Employment Allowance for one year if an employer has been found guilty by the Home Office of employing an illegal worker.

In the budget of 2016, it was announced that from 2018 the Employment Allowance, which allows employers to claim a reduction on their annual National Insurance Contribution, would be removed for one year for those organisations who receive penalties for employing illegal workers. The Government is of the view that those who breach legislation by employing illegal workers should not benefit from the Employment Allowance. The purpose of this restriction is to ensure the allowance focuses more on the employers who are providing legitimate employment.

The effect of the change will only impact employers who have received a penalty from the Home Office for employing illegal workers and have exhausted their appeal rights in relation to that penalty. Early estimates suggest that approximately 2,000 employers will be affected by the new policy.

It is the responsibility of the employer who has been penalised and exhausted their appeal rights to amend their payroll software to ensure that they do not claim the allowance during the year in which they are not eligible.

If you need any help and advice in relation to the above, please do not hesitate to contact me or the employment team on 0113 350 4030 or at richard.newstead@scesolicitors.co.uk.

If you would like to be kept up to date on any Employment law changes, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Gig Economy – Royal Mail Group Facing Legal Action From Drivers

The trend towards gig economy drivers and contractors demanding employment status rights will continue throughout 2018. This should come as no surprise when you consider the recent report published by parliamentary committees which determined nearly 1.6 million people work for gig-economy giants and find relatively little protection provided under current employment law due to their status. 

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Summer placement at SCE Solicitors

We asked our lovely summer placement student, Maya Sterrie, to describe her experience with SCE and this is what she wrote – 

“Having never worked at a law firm before, I was very excited to take on a 7-week work placement at SCE this summer. 

My initial interest in employment law began at the beginning of last year when I chose employment law as an elective going into my second year of University. Having had part-time jobs, I had become aware of employment law in day to day life such as the cap on a 48-hour working week and rest breaks. This led me to want to gain experience in this sector. 

The first time I heard about the firm was when SCE Solicitors came to a non-commercial law event at my University last year speaking about what a career in law is like. SCE Solicitors immediately stood out for its welcoming, personable nature and somewhere I could not only learn a lot from, but also fit in. 

Now, writing this, almost two months of working at the firm, I cannot speak highly enough of the firm. I have been given the amazing opportunity to actively have an input in the firm’s work. From aiding in calculating losses in gender pay claims to drafting witness statements.

I will leave SCE with an invaluable understanding of what it is like to practice employment law in the ‘real world’. The biggest benefit of working for a boutique law firm like SCE has been the level of responsibility and variety of work I have been able to perform. 

Here are just some of my highlights;

• Calculating losses in gender pay claims. 

• Meeting with clients and going to a conference with counsel. 

• Aiding in drafting witness statements. 

• Writing legal update articles. 

Unfortunately, my experience at SCE is now ending and I am taking this chance to reflect on not only what I have learned from my time here and those I have worked with, but also to look forward and think where I plan to go from here. 

I would like to thank the SCE team for welcoming me in and helping me grow and learn what it is truly like to work in a law firm; the good, the bad and the ugly. My journey is only beginning, and I cannot imagine having started working anywhere else.”

We wish Maya all the best and it was a pleasure to have her for the summer. 

GDPR – The Consent Trap

Having got past 25 May 2018, the day the GDPR came into effect, the flood of GDPR emails is beginning to diminish. But were all these emails necessary, and in particular, was it actually necessary to seek consent? In many cases it was not necessary to seek consent to “stay in touch”.

Under GDPR consent is one of 6 legal bases for processing data. In most cases, organisations will be able to rely on the “legitimate interests” ground to remain in contact with their contact list.

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How to Manage Diversity in the Workplace

Managing diversity in the workplace presents employers with a number of challenges. However, these challenges can be easily managed by employers promoting a culture of tolerance and open communication. Below are our top tips for managing diversity in the workplace.

Treat each employee as an individual

Avoid making assumptions about employees from different backgrounds. Instead, look at each employee as an individual and judge successes and failures on the individual’s merit.

Prioritise communication

To manage a diverse workplace, organisations need to ensure that they effectively communicate with employees. Policies, procedures, safety rules and other important information should be designed to overcome language and cultural barriers by translating materials and using pictures and symbols whenever applicable.

Encourage employees to work in diverse groups

Diverse work teams let employees get to know and value one another on an individual basis and can help break down preconceived notions and cultural misunderstandings.
Base standards on objective criteria

Set one standard of rules for all groups of employees regardless of background. Ensure that all employment actions, including discipline, follow these standardised criteria to make sure each employee is treated the same.

Be open-minded

Recognise, and encourage employees to recognise, that one’s own experience, background, and culture are not the only with value to the organisation. Look for ways to incorporate a diverse range of perspectives and talents into efforts to achieve organisational goals.

Recruitment

To build a diverse workplace, it is crucial to recruit and hire talent from a variety of backgrounds. This requires leadership and others who make hiring decisions to overcome bias in interviewing and assessing talent. If organisations can break through bias and hire the most qualified people, those with the right education, experience and skill sets, a diverse workplace should be the natural result.

Policies and Practices

Organisations that embrace diversity also need to ensure that there are policies and practices in place to protect employees’ rights and stay compliant with government regulations.

Zero-Tolerance Policy

Having a diverse workplace means that jokes and comments about a protected characteristic need to be met with zero-tolerance enforcement. Policies should be put in place to handle misconduct and communicate to employees that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. Organisations also need to make sure they have a formal complaint policy, so employees know how to report misconduct within an organisation.

Training

Employees need to be aware of how to coexist with a diverse range of people, as well as be conscious of cultural sensitivity. Training can help an organisation manage diversity in the workplace by helping employees become more self-aware, which plays a vital role in helping employees understand their own cultural biases and prejudices.

If you need any help and advice in relation to the above, please do not hesitate to contact me or the employment team on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

If you would like to be kept up to date with any changes in employment or dispute resolution law, please subscribe to our newsletter.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.