In episode 208 of our Employment podcast, Christopher Fisher is looking at two recent discrimination cases dealing with two important issues – will interim relief remedies be introduced for discrimination claims and will gender-critical beliefs be protected as philosophical beliefs.  One case is from the EAT and one from the Court of Appeal.  You can listen to it here: UK Employment Law | Perspectives & Events | Mayer Brown

HMRC has published information on the use of unfunded pension arrangements which are set up in an attempt to avoid corporation tax, income tax and National Insurance (“NI”) contributions.

If you think you have put in place such an unfunded pension arrangement, or are considering setting up an unfunded pension arrangement in the future, you may find the information helpful in understanding the tax treatment that will be applied to that arrangement.

Continue Reading Disguised remuneration: HMRC information on tax avoidance using unfunded pension arrangements

The Pensions Regulator has published its annual funding statement for occupational defined benefit (“DB“) pension schemes.   The statement is relevant for trustees and employers making decisions on scheme funding. It provides wider guidance on covenant monitoring due to the impact of COVID-19 and climate change risks. It highlights the need for employers to provide detailed financial projections to assist trustees in understanding the impact of COVID-19 and in managing future unexpected events.

Purpose

Aimed at schemes with valuation dates between 22 September 2020 and 21 September 2021 as well as schemes undergoing significant changes that require a review of their funding and risk strategies.

Timing

Confirmation that current valuations will be regulated under existing legislation and guidance as the new DB funding code of practice is not expected until late 2022.

Key messages

  • Contingency planning – stress testing or scenario planning for possible future economic environments should be considered particularly for schemes experiencing any continued material impact caused by COVID-19.
  • Post-valuation experience – can be considered but where allowance has been made for positive post-valuation experience the expectation is that any material negative post-valuation experience will be considered in future valuations.
  • Mortality – uncertainty relating to COVID-19, including that the long-term impacts will take time to emerge, is noted. If the decision is made to materially weaken existing mortality assumptions trustees should consider putting in place monitoring and contingency plans if those revised assumptions are not met in practice.
  • Affordability and deficit recovery contributions – where employers continue to request liquidity support through reduced contributions, trustees are expected to obtain suitable mitigations which, could include; all dividends to stop, equitable treatment of the scheme with other creditors and covenant enhancing measures i.e. security or guarantees.
  • Managing risk, including climate risks – continued focus on integrated risk management (IRM) of the employer’s covenant, investment risks and scheme’s funding plans. The impact of climate change on IRM should be proactively considered. The Regulator will be looking at disclosures in the statement of investment principles and implementation statement to monitor climate change activity.
  • Corporate activity – based on the expectation that there will be an increase in corporate activity as the recovery from COVID-19 progresses, trustees should be prepared and ready to act. To facilitate this, employers are expected to inform trustees early and to keep them informed. Employers should also note that trustees are expected to take a rigorous approach and to negotiate mitigation where relevant whether a valuation is underway or not.

Implications

While the Regulator is clearly sympathetic to the challenges posed to employers and trustees by COVID-19, there is a clear expectation to address these, and the climate change obligations, through clear and measurable contingency plans.

Data regarding employment tribunal cases for the latest quarter (January to March 2021) has been published by the Ministry of Justice. The interesting statistics show, when compared to the same period in 2020:

 

 

  • Receipts of single tribunal claims decreased by 13%, to 9,100 claims, with disposals also decreasing by 14%;
  • The tribunal’s outstanding caseload increased by 39%;
  • Receipts of multiple tribunal cases have increased 14%, to 15,000 claims, with disposals decreasing by 34%.

ACAS have also recently published its early conciliation (EC) and employment tribunal data for England, Scotland and Wales for the period April to December 2020. Headline results show:

  • Over 60% of EC notifications did not materialise into an employment tribunal claim;
  • At least 77% of ET1s filed by Claimants did not proceed to a hearing;
  • Cases such as discrimination and whistleblowing were more likely to progress than others.

The data above shows that Claimants continue to bring the more complex cases involving multiple claims to the employment tribunal. Whilst the majority of cases are withdrawn (presumably settled), it is these cases which are the most likely to proceed.  It is anticipated that the number of cases brought in the employment tribunal may rise going forward as a result of the pandemic’s impact on businesses and the furlough scheme ending later this year. An increase in redundancies can be expected and, therefore, so can cases involving unfair dismissal as a result.

 

 

In an eagerly anticipated update, the Home Office has announced that the Covid-19 adjustment to the right to work check will no longer end on 20 June 2021 but will be extended to 1 September 2021.  Read here for our full blog post:

https://www.mobilework.law/2021/06/a-welcome-and-longer-than-expected-extension-to-the-covid-19-uk-right-to-work-check-concession/

The Home Office has published a revised Code of Practice on preventing illegal working, covering the changes to the right to work check requirements for EEA citizens which come into effect on 1 July 2021.  In this article, Mayer Brown’s James Perrott looks at the changes that the Code introduces, how this will affect UK employers, and the areas of continued uncertainty.

In the latest episode of our Employment podcast, we look at two cases relevant to employers looking to bring employees back to work.  The first concerns an employee dismissed because of ‘upset and friction’ caused by the way in which he was carrying out his health and safety responsibilities and whether that dismissal was automatically unfair because of the special protections around health and safety dismissals in the Employment Rights Act.  And the second is a ‘fire and re-hire’ case about when an employer can fairly dismiss an employee who refuses to agree to Covid-related changes to their employment contract.

Please click on the link to access the podcast: UK Employment Law | Perspectives & Events | Mayer Brown

 

In our latest podcast, we look at an unfair dismissal case about an employee who refused to return to work due to Covid-related safety concerns, and a case about mandatory vaccination policies and whether they can amount to a breach of human rights.

https://www.mayerbrown.com/en/perspectives-events/podcasts/2021/05/episode-206–a-view-from-mayer-brown–returning-to-work-from-lockdown–two-recent-cases

As an update to our recent post, the Home Office has now pushed back the date for the changes to Right to Work checks required by UK employers.  The new rules will now begin on 21 June rather than 18 May, as had previously been proposed.

Please click here to read the update by James Perrott, Mayer Brown’s Head of Global Mobility for UK and Europe: Ending of Covid-19 adjustment to UK Right to Work checks postponed | The Mobile Workforce