Category: Latest News

Coronavirus, business, and employment law

One big issue is on everyone’s mind in the UK and the globe in the last month. It has affected everyone.

Every responsible person is trying to do their bit to make life easier for the public. We pay tribute to all public service key workers, without whom we could not manage at a time like this.

COVID-19 has affected everyone’s working life, and people are wondering what the implications are for their businesses and jobs.

Important questions that arise in the world of employment law:

Can employers just terminate the jobs of their employees because of the economic impact of COVID-19?

Can employers temporarily ‘lay-off’ employees? In what circumstances. And for how long? With or without pay?

Can employers make employees redundant? What payment are employees entitled to, if any?

What are the appropriate grounds for redundancy? What process has to be followed? What are the consequences of not following the process?

What are the other risks and possible claims that an employee or employer may have?

What is the best practical approach that you can take, whether you are an employer or employee?

Is offering or accepting a settlement agreement a viable option? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

And if you are not an employee, but a self-employed contractor, what rights do you have?

The answers to these questions are complex and depend upon several factors. Some advisors purport to give simplistic one-line answers in a bid to win new clients, but experienced professionals know that that is simply not possible, because each situation is different. Factors which come into play include:

  • the express and implied terms of the contract
  • the length of employment
  • the nature of the work and traditions within that industry.

Even the law itself is changing rapidly as the coronavirus crisis spirals. Specialist lawyers need to keep up with the developing law in this area.

If you want the best possible advice possible for your needs, whether you are an employer or employee, you can receive it from Sterling Law’s Consultant Solicitor and specialist in employment law, with 20 years’ expertise in this field, Kuldeep Clair.

Please look up Kuldeep’s impressive profile at https://sterling-law.co.uk/en/kuldeep-clair/

Kuldeep Clair is making himself available for booking for a remote consultation at this very difficult time, at short notice, both inside and outside office hours. As lawyers, we will do whatever possible to help those hit by this crisis.

For expert advice on any employment issue, Kuldeep can be contacted on 07484 614090 or kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

COVID-19: Lay-off and redundacy

Businesses are looking to reduce their bills in response to more people self-isolating at home.
While some send their employees to work from home maintaining their wages, others take advantage of lay-offs and reduced working hours.

Although there is general guidance available to employers, we suggest you seek legal advice before taking any actions and changing employees’ terms. Otherwise, you may face fines and costly tribunal hearings.

What about 0-hours workers?

0-hour workers cannot be suspended from work without a mutual agreement. If you decide to do so, you are opening up your company to claims. Otherwise, the right to suspend should be clearly stated in the contract.

Can I make employees stay home for a period of time on a reduced pay?

As an employer, you require a contractual right to do so and will need to follow the contract change process. You must also seek agreement from employees. Be transparent about why you have to do so and what employees can expect in the future, including redundancies.

What is lay-off?

Lay-off is when you as an employer take an employee off work at least for one working day due to lack of work.
Lay-off can trigger redundancy if it lasts for 4 weeks in a row, is more than 6 weeks within a 13-week period. In this case, an employee may opt for redundancy, and therefore, will be eligible for a redundancy payment.
Statutory lay-off pay: up to £29 a day for five days in any three-month period – so a maximum of £145.

If you have to make your workers redundant, you have to follow the redundancy procedure.

Find out more about your rights by contacting us.

020 7822 8535

07 305 966 531 for messengers

CLAIMING SICK PAY – WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?

According to the Acas advice, every employee or worker is eligible for any SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) in they need to self-isolate and thus stay home due to: having coronavirus or its symptoms, if someone in their household has coronavirus or its symptoms, or if they have been told to self-isolate by NHS 111.

However, as an employee you must tell your employer you are unable to work as soon as you can, provide with the reason why, and also let them know for how many days you are likely to be absent. Your employer should be flexible about you providing evidence from doctors, as you may not be able to get a sick note while you are self-isolating.

«By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After 7 days, it is for the employer to determine what evidence they require, if any, from the employee. This does not need to be fit note (Med 3 form) issued by a GP or other doctor» –
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19#what-to-do-if-an-employee-or-a-member-of-the-public-becomes-unwell-and-believe-they-have-been-exposed-to-covid-19

Agency, casual and zero-hours workers can get SSP if they meet the eligibility conditions, namely:

  • they earn on average at least £118 per week before tax;
  • they’ve told their employer about their condition within any deadline the employer has set or within 7 days.

Recently the UK government has decided that everyone with taking sick leave/self-isolating due to coronavirus or its symptoms is eligible for a sick pay from day 1 If you are, however, self-employed, or earn less than £118/week, according to the Budget, you can “more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance”: “For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support”, you will be able to claim Universal Credit  “without the current requirement to attend a job centre if they are advised to self-isolate”.

Still have your questions or worried? Let us know by contacting us. Just send us a message here, or reach out to contact@sterling-law.co.uk. 07 305 966 531 is available to those who prefer messengers.

Brexit implications on your business

Are you a VAT registered business trading between the UK and EU? You might find the below Brexit update from HMRC EU Exit and Borders useful.

What Brexit means for your business?

From 1 February 2020, the UK is no longer a member of the EU. The transition period will last until the 31 December 2020. During this time no changes to the terms for trading with the will take place (unless rules change for the whole of the EU). 

This means there will be no changes to customs, VAT, excise, free movement of goods or any other terms of trade (at least in relation to Brexit). 

What will happen after 31 December 2020?

From 1 January 2021, the terms of trading with the EU will change, e.g. new customs arrangements will take place. You will need to make customs declaration if you are importing or exporting goods to and from the UK. 

What you need to do now:

1. Check updates regularly. Follow our page or check on 

www.gov.uk/hmrc/business-support

2. Make sure you register for the Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. 

You will need it to submit a customs declaration. Make sure it starts with letters GB. 

You can find out more at

www.gov.uk/eori

3. Decide how to make a customs declaration. 

You can either make declarations yourself or work with a customs agent. 

Information and guidance will be provided by HMRC soon.

Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP):

Registration and use of the TSP are currently being suspended. If you already applied for the service, keep your documentation safe. Postponed VAT accounting is currently not available during the implementation period. 

Source: HMRC, EU Exit and Borders

Need help? Book a free phone call with us here.

Or just email us on contact@sterling-law.co.uk

DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT

A new case – 3 Jan 2020

On what kind of beliefs can an employee claim discrimination?

Most people are aware that it is unlawful to discriminate on grounds of gender, race or nationality, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability.

An employment tribunal within the last week re-affirmed a fundamental principle of the Equality Act 2010, namely that the concept of ‘belief’ is not confined to just the Abrahamic religions, or any other religions, as some would have us believe!

‘Belief’ includes any philosophical belief, provided it is held genuinely and seriously, and includes, as in this case decided on 3rd January 2020, veganism. The claimant here was a vegan who believed that this was the reason that he had been victimised in the course of his employment. The employee had ethical objections to the way in which his employer behaved.

Of course, vegetarianism is included as well, as is, for instance, atheism and agnosticism and paganism. No belief has any privilege over any other – which I would say is exactly what you would expect in the law in a modern civilised secular society.

Kuldeep Clair

Senior Employment Solicitor

If you need expert advice on an employment issue, contact our consultant employment solicitor:

Kuldeep Clair – 07484 614090 or kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

EQUAL PAY DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT

Just on Friday, a prominent new case was reported in the news involving equal pay.

It is prominent because it involved a claim by a well-known BBC journalist, Samira Ahmed, against her employer, on the basis that she had been underpaid for several years, for presenting one programme, amongst others. Her equal pay ‘comparator’ or rival BBC male journalist, was Jeremy Vine. Salary figures at the BBC had been made public as a matter of policy, and these showed that Mr Vine had been paid at a rate considerably more per programme, even though they both have been similarly experienced in their fields – over 25 years or so.

Of course, the BBC attempted to offer an alternative explanation for this disparity to the employment tribunal, but it was not accepted by the tribunal on the facts before it. The programmes in question were very similar and required similar skills. If the opposite had been accepted, the case would not have succeeded. Samira Ahmed’s success means that she will receive back pay for perhaps six years amounting to a six-figure sum. Six years is the maximum period for which an employee can claim back pay in an equal pay claim.

Our senior specialist employment solicitor, Kuldeep Clair comments, “I have found that claims for equal pay commonly turn on the ability of an employer to provide an explanation for the difference in pay. This can be difficult, but sometimes an explanation may not even be necessary, because the work simply is not easily ‘comparable’ at all. So there can be potential problems in both bringing and defending claims, unless you have expert professional representation.

Kuldeep dealt with an equal pay claim last year for a claimant which was settled for a substantial five figure sum. He was opposed by a prominent City firm, defending a national hospitality company. “The defence initially put forward by the employer was essentially the same”, says Kuldeep, “namely,  that my client’s work was of a different nature and could not be compared to the dozen male managers who occupied comparable positions to her. But they had a change-of-mind two weeks before the tribunal hearing date, when they realised the strengths of my client’s claim.

Kuldeep goes on to note that this year it is exactly 50 years since the introduction of the Equal Pay Act 1970, which was a turning point in anti-discrimination legislation. “We have now moved forwards a long way since the days when women were expected to either stay at home and do the dishes, or at most possibly expect to take menial work at whatever pittance of a rate was offered to them without any argument.

For advice on any employment issue, Kuldeep Clair can be contacted on 07484 614090 or kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

PK: Court of Appeal remits Ukrainian draft evader asylum claim back to the Upper Tribunal

Our client, PK is now raising funds for his application to the Upper-Tribunal. His initial application was refused by the Home Office. However, following a successful appeal, he now has another hearing at the end of March after the case was remitted to the Upper-Tribunal.

The client is launching this legal action to set a new precedent that would help other people in a similar situation.

The funds would be delegated to cover the legal expenses, including senior barrister QC (queen’s council), who is instructed in the matter to present the client in the Upper-Tribunal.

Ultimately, he needs to raise £30,000, which will cover the barrister fees of senior barrister QC and junior barrister, who are already instructed on the case and lead the previous successful appeal.

You can help PK by donating here.

You can read more about the case below:

Our client, PK, entered the UK unlawfully in 2013 and claimed asylum in 2014 upon facing deportation.

However, numerous asylum claims have been rejected, the call-up notices received were considered fraudulent documents, and PK faced removal.

PK appealed to the First-tier Tribunal which considered two main issues:

Could the military service in Ukraine involve acts contrary to the basic rules of human conduct defined by international law?

If the appellant was to receive a prison sentence, would the conditions there breach Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights?

The Tribunal considered such acts to be unlikely, but not impossible, and found that the most likely punishment for draft evasion in Ukraine would be fine. The appeal was therefore dismissed, as the harm feared would not be sufficiently serious to breach Article 3 of the ECHR.

The main question we raised in the Court of Appeal was whether punishment for draft evasion must reach minimum severity in order for a draft evader to be considered a refugee. We also argued there is an inconsistency between the Upper Tribunal and the Secretary of State definition of “minimum severity”.

The appeal was allowed and the case was remitted to the Upper Tribunal.

Sterling Law instructed Anthony Metzer QC and Julian Norman to represent the client.

You can read the full article here.

Ruslan Kosarenko
Senior Partner

 

 

 Nozima Rakhimjonova

Associate

nozima@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

 

 

Nadiya Pylypchuk

Trainee Solicitor

nadiya@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

ARE MATHEMATICAL EQUATIONS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT? ARE THERE ANY LEGAL PROVISIONS THAT LEGALIZE AUTHOR’S RIGHT ON IT?

So, mathematical equations are not protected by copyright, because they were created for public use. It would be unfair towards everyone and it will create a monopoly! Moreover, it will restrict the free-flow of information and can be used by only the owner. Every person should have an opportunity to use mathematical equations for personal or business purposes. The law gives the creators of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, sound recordings, broadcasts, films and typographical arrangement of published editions, rights to control the ways in which their material may be used. The key point is that you can be inspired by the form of expression, but not an idea of the expression. Unfortunately, it is often becoming difficult to see the difference between the idea and expression. When the expressions are inseparable from the ideas, those expressions are not protected.

Thus, if you would like to create a math book, you can use mathematical equations that are all available for you. However, be careful with personal diagrams and illustrations because they are protected under copyright law. By adding an original idea, it can be protected under copyright law.

In Eastern Book Company & Ors v. D.B. Modak & Anr, the court set up the two condition:

  1. Sweat of Brow; and
  2. Modicum of Creativity.

Meeting these criteria, the work will be considered to be ‘original‘ and will be protectable under the copyright.

Please do not hesitate to contact us.

By Katsiaryna Pazniak

contact@sterling-law.co.uk

You can book an appointment here.

 

Sterling Law is now a Legal 500 firm

We are proud to be included in the Legal 500 rating. Simply put, Legal 500 highlights the practice area teams who are providing the most cutting edge and innovative advice.

According to Legal 500:

Sterling Law advises on all types of UK visa and sponsor licence issues for a range of corporate and individual clients. The team is adept at handling PBS applications, which includes advice on sponsored migrants, highly skilled migrants, entrepreneurs and investors.

The team also advises on human rights-related cases at initial application and appeal levels and has experience in a variety of other cases including asylum, protection and family reunion cases. Ruslan Kosarenko is praised for his abilities as a ‘dynamic problem-solver’.

TESTIMONIALS

This team is unusually responsive and extremely well organised.

The team is dedicated, hardworking and brings a positive attitude towards even the most difficult case.

Ruslan Kosarenko takes a ‘can-do’ approach to cases and gets excellent results.

WORK HIGHLIGHTS

Advised on the humanitarian protection of a Filipino national who divorced her former partner from Phillipines and faced persecution and death threats her home country due to the bigamy case filed by her former husband.

Represented a Brazilian client and protected the best interests of her child in separation case.

Advised on successful Investor visa applications after an initial refusals.

https://www.legal500.com/

Contact us to resolve your legal matter:

contact@sterling-law.co.uk

+44 020 7822 8535

+44 7 305 966 531

Or book an appointment with us here.

Read about our successful cases here.

ARTICLE 8 APPEAL OUTSIDE THE IMMIGRATION RULES ALLOWED ON THE SPOT!

Our client, a citizen of the Russian Federation, came to the UK at the age of 12 to study. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from a UK university, our client applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK under the ten-year continuous long Residency Rules.

The Home Office refused the application with no right of in-country appeal. The client’s previous legal representatives did not challenge this decision, at which point our client became an over-stayer as his continuous leave was broken. Instead, our client then applied for leave to remain based upon his private life. This application was refused on the grounds that our client did not satisfy requirements 276ADE of the Immigration Rules.

Immigration Rules 276ADE (1)

The requirements to be met by an applicant for leave to remain on the grounds of private life in the UK are that at the date of application, the applicant:

(i) does not fall for refusal under any of the grounds in Section S-LTR 1.1 to S-LTR 2.2. and S-LTR.3.1. to S-LTR.4.5. in Appendix FM; and

(ii) has made a valid application for leave to remain on the grounds of private life in the UK; and

(iii) has lived continuously in the UK for at least 20 years (discounting any period of imprisonment); or

(v) is aged 18 years or above and under 25 years and has spent at least half of his life living continuously in the UK (discounting any period of imprisonment); or

(vi) subject to sub-paragraph (2), is aged 18 years or above, has lived continuously in the UK for less than 20 years (discounting any period of imprisonment) but there would be very significant obstacles to the applicant’s integration into the country to which he would have to go if required to leave the UK.

 

After approaching numerous other lawyers, the client approached Sterling Law. Our lawyer, Oksana Demyanchuk and her team lodged an appeal with the First-tier Tribunal on the grounds that the decision was a breach of our client’s Article 8 ECHR human rights. In particular, the emphasis was placed on the fact that our client had established an extensive private life in the UK since his entry. After considering the grounds put forward and the bundle of documents provided in support of the appeal, the Judge allowed the appeal on a spot despite our client not meeting any of the Immigration Rules! In doing so, the Judge found that

the Home Office timing resulted in unfairness because it effectively prevented the appellant from benefiting from paragraph 276 ADE of the Immigration Rules when he had qualified for indefinite leave to remain.

 

Moreover, the Judge found that our client

  • has built up a significant private life in the United Kingdom;
  • has the English language skills of a native speaker;
  • is financially independent; and
  • It would be in public interest to retain him in the country.

Bearing the above in mind, it was held that any interference in the Appellant’s private life will result in unjustifiably harsh consequences.

 

Thanks to Oksana Demyanchuk and her team, our client can remain in the UK which already become a home for him.

 

Contact us should you have any immigration-related question:

oksana@sterling-law.co.uk and michael@sterling-law.co.uk

+44 (0) 207 822 8535

You can also text us via facebook.