Category: Latest News

GDPR update: personal data transfer

Recently there was a decision in the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-311/18 – Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland Ltd and Maximillian Schrems.

 

The CJEU has confirmed how EU standards of data protection must travel with the data when it goes overseas, which means this judgment has wider implications than just the invalidation of the EU-US Privacy Shield. It is a judgment that confirms the importance of safeguards for personal data transferred out of the UK.

 

First of all, I would like to explain what did the Court rule in its judgement. In the case of Data protection commissioner v Facebook Ireland Ltd and Maximilian Schrems, the Court examined the validity of the European Commission’s Decision 2010/87/EC on Standard Contractual Clauses (“SCCs”) and considered that it is valid.

 

However, that validity, the Court added, depends on whether the 2010/87/EC Decision includes effective mechanisms that make it possible, in practice, to ensure compliance with the level of protection essentially equivalent to that guaranteed within the EU by the GDPR and that transfers of personal data pursuant to such clauses are suspended or prohibited in the event of the breach of such clauses or it being impossible to honour them.

 

As a conclusion, the Court stated, that the 2010/87/EC Decision imposes an obligation on a data exporter and the recipient of the data (the “data importer”) to verify, prior to any transfer, and taking into account the circumstances of the transfer, whether that level of protection is respected in the third country concerned, and that the 2010/87/EC Decision requires the data importer to inform the data exporter of any inability to comply with the standard data protection clauses, and where necessary with any supplementary measures to those offered by that clause, the data exporter then being, in turn, obliged to suspend the transfer of data and/or to terminate the contract with the data importer.

 

The Court also examined the validity of the Privacy Shield Decision, as the transfers at stake in the context of the national dispute leading to the request for preliminary ruling took place between the EU and the United States (“U.S.”). The Court considered that the requirements of U.S. domestic law, and in particular certain programmes enabling access by U.S. public authorities to personal data transferred from the EU to the U.S. for national security purposes, result in limitations on the protection of personal data which are not circumscribed in a way that satisfies requirements that are essentially equivalent to those required under EU law, and that this legislation does not grant data subjects actionable rights before the courts against the U.S. authorities. Because of such a degree of interference with the fundamental rights of persons whose data are transferred to that third country, the Court declared the Privacy Shield adequacy Decision is invalid.

 

What does this mean for you?

 

If you are or were transferring data internationally, you are no longer able to rely on the Privacy Shield rule, and in order to transfer data to the US would need to check whether you can do so under the conditions laid down below.

 

Please note that further work is underway by the European Commission and EDPB to provide more comprehensive guidance on extra measures you may need to take. In the meantime, you should take stock of the international transfers you make and react promptly as guidance and advice become available. 

 

The EDPB has recommended that you must conduct a risk assessment as to whether SCCs provide enough protection within the local legal framework, whether the transfer is to the US or elsewhere. The receiver of the data may be able to assist you with this.

 

We could assist you and review your privacy policy to ensure compliance with recent legal changes and your international data transfer. If we will conclude that your Privacy Policy is not compliant, we will have to amend it accordingly and to further consider the use of controller-to-processor standard contractual clauses.

Michael Iatsukha

michael@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

Contact us:

Travelling during COVID-19: Travel corridors

COVID-19 brought a lot of uncertainties to travellers. The change of policy on travel from France and the Netherlands shows that decision on travel restrictions can virtually be made overnight.

In this article, we will explain which travel corridors are currently open and how you can avoid complications while travelling.

What is a travel corridor?

A travel corridor (often referred to as an air bridge) is a reciprocal arrangement between two countries allowing travel without the need to quarantine for 14 days. Those travel corridors are under a constant review by the government and might exclude any country that has seen a rise of coronavirus cases.

The countries currently included in the travel corridor exemption, as listed on the Government website of 14 August 2020, are as follows:

 

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei (added 11 August – if you arrived in England from Brunei before 11 August, you will need to self–isolate)
  • Cayman Islands
  • the Channel Islands
  • Croatia
  • Curaçao
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Estonia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • French Polynesia
  • Gibraltar
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • the Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Macao (Macau)
  • Malaysia (added 11 August – if you arrived in England from Malaysia before 11 August, you will need to self–isolate)
  • Mauritius
  • Montserrat
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Poland
  • Reunion
  • San Marino
  • Seychelles
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • Vatican City State
  • Vietnam

 

 

What if My Time was Split between Countries on the list and not on the list?

If you spent time in a country which is not on the list and go to a country on the list it will depend on the number of days you spent in those countries. For example, if you spent 7 days in a country not on the list and 7 days in a country on the list, you will have to self-isolate in England for 7 days because 7 out of 14 days you spent in an exempt country.

What is Meant by Self-isolation?

Self-isolation effectively means that you cannot leave the place where you are staying in the UK for the first two weeks after arrival. You should (as taken from the Government website):

“not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential care. The only friends and family who you can have contact with are those who travelled with you or people who you are staying with.

You cannot go out to work or school or visit public areas. You should not go shopping. If you require help buying groceries, other shopping, or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery.

In England, you must only exercise within your home or garden. You cannot leave your home to walk your dog. You will need to ask friends or relatives to help you with this.

NHS Volunteer Responders are also available if you need help collecting shopping, medication, or would like a telephone ‘check-in and chat’. Call 0808 196 3646 (8 am to 8 pm) to arrange volunteer support. You can arrange one-off support, or schedule more regular help whilst you are self-isolating.

In England, you can only leave your accommodation in limited circumstances. These include where:

  • you need urgent medical assistance (or where your doctor has advised you to get medical assistance)
  • you need access to basic necessities like food and medicines, but only in exceptional circumstances such as where you cannot arrange for these to be delivered
  • you need to access critical public services such as social services and victim support services, but only in exceptional circumstances
  • you need to go to the funeral of a family member or someone you live with
  • you need to visit a dying or critically ill family member or someone you live with
  • you need to fulfil a legal obligation such as participate in legal proceedings
  • there’s an emergency

You are not allowed to change the place where you are self-isolating except in very limited circumstances, including where:

  • a legal obligation requires you to change address, such as where you are a child whose parents live separately, and you need to move between homes as part of a shared custody agreement
  • it is necessary for you to stay overnight at the accommodation before travelling to the place where you will be self-isolating for the remainder of the 14 days
  • there’s an emergency

If this happens, you should provide full details of each address where you will self-isolate on the public health passenger locator form. If in exceptional circumstances, you cannot remain where you are staying, you must update the form as soon as possible”.

Final words

The travel corridors change on a daily basis. We recommend you to frequently check the governmental website if you are planning to go on holidays in order to avoid unnecessary complications.

 

Employing EU citizens after Brexit

Recently, the Home Office started to refuse more and more applications for EU settlement scheme. As of June 2020, there were 3.71 million applications. In May 2020 Home Office made 900 refusals and in June 2020 it refused 1,400 applications.

A lot of UK employers have a significant number of EU employees as a part of their workforce. If employees lose their permission to work in the UK, employers might bear a lot of costs. If your employees apply as early as possible it will give them a chance to resubmit the application if it is refused. If, however, the employees wait until the deadline of 30 June 2021 they might lose permission to work in the UK and might not be able to re-apply. The process is also taking longer at the moment because of the COVID-19.

If an employee does not have valid permission to work in the UK past the deadline, it might lead to their dismissal. This will not only have a negative effect on the employee but also the employer can lose a valuable part of the workforce.

In order to avoid any complications with your application, you can consult one of our experienced lawyers for the EU settlement scheme application.

Contact us: contact@sterling-law.co.uk or 07 305 966 531

 

Covid & Visa sponsorship: Tier 2, Tier 4, Tier 5

The Home office has updated their guidance for Tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors in the UK who are sponsoring those affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

If your student or employee is absent

No enforcement action will be taken against sponsors who continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences due to coronavirus.

Sponsors do not need to report student or employee absences related to coronavirus.

This can include absences due to illness, their need to isolate or inability to travel due to travel restrictions.

Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if because of coronavirus:

  • a student is unable to attend for more than 60 days
  • an employee is absent from work without pay for more than 4 weeks

The above will be kept under review.

If you have issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) and the sponsored employee or student has not yet applied for a visa

The employee or student will still be able to apply for a visa.

The start date for the course or employment stated on the CoS or CAS may have changed. We will not automatically refuse such cases.

For example, we may accept a CoS or CAS if they have become invalid because the employee or student was unable to travel as a result of coronavirus. We will consider this on a case by case basis.

If you’re sponsoring a student who’s waiting for their Tier 4 visa application to be decided

You may allow students to start their studies before their visa application has been decided if:

  • you are a Tier 4 sponsor (other than Tier 4 Legacy Sponsors)
  • you have assigned the student a CAS
  • the student submitted their application before their current visa expired and has shown you evidence of this
  • the course they start is the same as the one listed on their CAS
  • the student has a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required

Your reporting responsibilities start from the date that you issue the CAS, not from the date that their application is granted.

If the student’s application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused you must terminate the student’s studies.

If you’re sponsoring employees who are working from home

You do not have to notify us if you’re sponsoring employees who are working from home due to coronavirus.

Other changes to their working arrangements must still be reported as usual.

If you’re sponsoring an employee who’s waiting for their Tier 2 or 5 visa application to be decided

You may allow employees to start work before their visa application has been decided if:

  • you have assigned them a CoS
  • the employee submitted their application before their current visa expired
  • the role they are employed in is the same as the one on their CoS

Your reporting responsibilities for an employee start from the date you have assigned them a CoS, not from the date that their application is granted. You will not be able to report information to us using the sponsor management system. You must however ensure that you record and maintain all the relevant information set out in the sponsor guidance on your own systems. Any changes that will impact the eventual consideration of the migrant’s visa application should be updated on the CoS, as normal.

If the employee’s application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused you must terminate their employment.

If you cannot pay the salaries of sponsored employees because you’ve temporarily reduced or ceased trading

You can temporarily reduce the pay of your sponsored employees to 80% of their salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is the lower.

Any reductions must be part of a company-wide policy to avoid redundancies and in which all workers are treated the same.

These reductions must be temporary, and the employee’s pay must return to at least previous levels once these arrangements have ended.

 

Contact Oksana Demyanchuk for further information:

oksana@sterling-law.co.uk

+44 020 7822 8535

CYPRUS FAIRS FAVOURABLY FOR CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM

Especially in the government handling of Covid19, protection of its citizens and quick return to normalcy.

Never has there been so much emphasis placed on the importance of global mobility, further to the initial shock and disruption of Covid19, and the political and financial aftermath that has left us all searching for the  return to normalcy.  Most of us have waited anxiously to see the response by our government policy, and the steps taken to protect its citizens from the pandemic, during such unchartered territory. We have quickly come to realize, the importance of what  we perhaps once took for granted, the stability of our country’s infrastructure, health system,  and social security,  as a means of protecting its’ citizens and preserving business, wealth and  the economy.

Although there has been no formal global response policy to Covid19, it has swiftly become apparent that some countries governments have taken quick action to protect their citizens, whilst others have failed miserably.  Such unprecedented times have also seen us highly dependent on media, for validity of government information and guidelines, so we now know how living in a country that allows for freedom of speech and a trusting government is paramount.

With countries like the USA now enforcing martial law where Black Americans and other immigrants are made feel unsafe, losing their human rights and liberties, and Hong Kong citizens feeling suffocated by the newly proposed controversial national security legislation announced by Beijing to tighten Chinese rule, completely overriding Hong Kong’s own legislative process, threatening their human freedoms and civil liberties. Also with other countries such as Russia enforcing public surveillance, with prominence of facial recognition fast expanding, where government authority is stamping down on public freedoms and monitoring social media, the threat of losing our freedoms seems to have become a greater fear than the fear of COVID19 itself, resulting in many HNWIs placing global mobility and citizenship by investment on the top of their agenda, with view to protecting their families, safeguarding their wealth and preserving it for future generations to come.

So why has Cyprus, such a small gem in the Mediterranean sea, received so much praise and attention during the pandemic, by those searching for dual citizenship or looking to relocate their family and wealth?

Cyprus is the 3rd. largest island in the Med, and is located at the eastern end of Europe, at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Cyprus is known to have one of the lowest crime rates in the world and is considered to be one of the most attractive onshore tax regimes in the world, ranking 37th best country for business by Forbes in 2018, and 5th best relocation destination in the world, by Knight Frank. Having joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone in 2008, Cyprus is deemed one of Europe’s rising stars, with a steady increase in GDP since the bank crisis of 2013, with its robust legal system based on English common law and transparent regulatory framework, with Cyprus’ banking system, now fully compliant with EU AML Directives.  Cyprus is also OECD compliant, and has one of the most attractive corporation tax rates worldwide, of only 12.5% and many non-dom zero tax benefits, and has attracted many UHNWIs and HNWIs alike.

With the highest tertiary education % in the EU, and a highly educated

professional workforce, where English is the main business language, as well as other widely spoken languages including Greek and Turkish, Cyprus has received much interest from international firms and investors worldwide.

Cyprus also has a strong infrastructure with a free, efficient national health service (YESI), and some of the best ranking universities and private schools, with languages taught as part of the curriculum including Chinese and Russian.

Cyprus’ main industries include financial services, banking, shipping, tourism, R&D and telecoms, as well as emerging industries such as energy and natural gas exploration. The real estate sector has also accelerated over the last ten years, seeing a steady increase in house prices to their pre 2013 high levels.

All this combined with a high quality of life, some of the best blue flag beaches of the world,  sunny  weather all year-round and friendly people with diversity and inclusion of all religions, makes  Cyprus a top Citizenship by Investment choice for many HNWIs and favourable relocation destination for many. With Europe having established itself as the most sought after region for high net worth investor immigration, Cyprus is now deemed the best Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) in the world.

Cyprus’ quick quarantine response to Covid19 and astute decisive action by economists, scientists and the Cyprus democratic government, has resulted in the island having one of the lowest fatality rates in Europe. Cyprus began lifting restrictions and returning back to normalcy in May, with the opening of the construction sector and public sector, with some schools resuming by mid-May, as well as private and public hospitals, and all citizen restrictions having been lifted by the end of May. From 1st June Cyprus hotels were open for business and Cyprus airports are to follow, with the reopening of international flights as from the 9 June, from selected low risk countries. Cyprus is proving an exemplary model country in pandemic management, taking successful measures resulting in quick returning back to normalcy, and has been praised for its quick recovery strategy, and shows optimism in its economic recovery.

Cyprus’ strong ethics in the importance family, education, wellbeing, business and innovation has held the country in good stead with amazing results. Therefore is a serious contender for someone evaluating their alternative citizenship application, dual passport, or a relocation destination.

The Cyprus Investment program offers the quickest route to a European passport obtained in approximately only 180 days. It is the only citizenship program offering such a simple and efficient way of obtaining dual citizenship.

Since 2013, the Cyprus Investment Program has attracted an investment of €6.6 billion. The Cyprus government has now lifted the 700 application cap, imposed earlier in the year, and is now more than ever committed to processing the CIP applications as quickly and efficiently as possible, providing they meet the eligibility guidelines and are fully compliant, as a means of boosting the country’s economy.

Eligibility requirements for the CIP include:

  • The main applicant must be 18 years of age or above
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Have no frozen assets within the EU, as a result of sanctions
  • All applicants must have a Schengen visa
  • The applicant must not have had a citizen application previously rejected by any other EU member state
  • Politically Exposed Persons entrusted with a prominent public function in the last five years are not eligible to apply, even if they do not hold such function at the time of the CIP application;
  • Adult applicants must visit Cyprus in order to provide biometrics for the permanent residency permit, which must be held for a minimum of 180 days, prior to citizenship been granted.

The main advantages of the CIP are as follows:

  • Freedom to live, work and study anywhere in the 28 EU member states including over 172 countries worldwide, including Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
  • A quick route to acquiring EU citizenship, as a means to relocate to the UK
  • An easy process, with no language or medical testing
  • All family members are eligible including spouse, children including adult dependants  up to age 28 (prior to 29 birthday), and parents, even if over the age of 65
  • No physical residency requirements to live in Cyprus, other than holding of the Residency permit for 180 days prior to citizenship being issued
  • A better quality of life for the family, including excellent healthcare and  education for children, access to top-rated universities
  • Increased personal security and safety and enjoyment of freedoms with excellent lifestyle for all the family
  • Attractive tax regime with zero tax for non-domiciled individuals, no dividend tax and no inheritance tax
  • Citizenship is valid for life and can be passed on to your descendants
  • The acquired assets can be sold after 5 years, other than the €500,000 primary residence which must be held for life, and the €150,000 government donation which is non-refundable
  • Property investment can be rented and may yield between 3-5%. Real estate investment may also provide a guaranteed buy back option, at the end of the five year term (this may be available by some real estate firms)

The investment criteria starts from €2,150,000. The applicant may choose to invest in residential real estate or a combination of real estate and other investment investments as well as a non-refundable contribution.

The €2,000,000 investment option, must be made in residential real estate investment (plus VAT if applicable), as well as a non- refundable government donation of €150,000.

Or

An investment of €2,500,000 can be made, in a combination of real estate and/or other investment instruments such as AIFs, or investment in Cyprus companies as well as a non-refundable government donation of €150,000.

The government donation involves a non-refundable contribution of €75,000 to the Government Research and Development fund and €75,000 to the Land Development Organisation, in both options.

The investor may choose to sell the primary residence to the value of €500,000 and replace with another at any time, and should they wish their parents to be added to the application they can do so without any additional investment other than the purchase of their own primary residence to the value of €500,000 plus VAT.

Jenny Tryfonos Consultancy can assist you with Cyprus investor immigration services. Being of Cyprus descent, living in the UK and speaking the Greek language fluently, Jenny works with trusted local Cyprus lawyers and partners to protect the interest of her clients, ensuring that their needs are met every step of the way, keeping them informed throughout the application process and giving clients peace of mind, from start to successful acquisition of their Cyprus passport. Through her trusted advisory network, other HNWIs services offered include relocation, property acquisition, tax structuring, banking, trusts, and Cyprus company formation services, making your Cyprus experience complete and hassle free.

For a better visual idea on what Cyprus has to offer, check out the video Cyprus-The real return on investment

For further information on the Cyprus Investment Program, feel free to email contact@sterling-law.co.uk or send a WhatsApp or Telegram request to Jenny Tryfonos, so you can discuss your requirements further, in strictest confidence, or call +44 7 305 966 531.

Why it is important to have a Will and ensure it is up to date

A Will is one of the most important documents of a person’s life because it gives you control over how you dispose of your assets after you die. Without it, your assets could go to people you do not know or like, leaving your beloved family members and relatives without a share of your estate. Even if you have made a Will, your loved ones may still get nothing from your estate if you do not have your Will updated to reflect your changing personal and financial circumstances.

If your personal and financial circumstances change significantly and you do not have a Will in place, you may wish to have one prepared for you to reflect these changes.

Major life events, which necessitate changes in your Will, include the following:

  • Marriage or civil partnership

If you have made a Will prior to your marriage or civil partnership, the marriage or civil partnership automatically invalidates the terms of your existing Will. This means that your Will is invalid and, unless a new Will is drawn up, your estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy after you die. The rules of intestacy mean that your property is shared out according to set rules, where your spouse or civil partner is the first to inherit what remains in your estate. This creates a problem if you wish to leave your estate to your children or other family members instead of leaving it to your new spouse or civil partner.  If that is the case, you need to make a new Will in order to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.

  • Divorce or dissolution of civil partnership

Getting a divorce or dissolving your civil partnership does not automatically invalidate your Will. If your marriage or civil partnership ends, your Will works as if your spouse or civil partner had died on the date when the divorce or the dissolution of the civil partnership was issued. This means that if your spouse or civil partner was named as an Executor or Trustee in your Will, they are no longer able to fulfil this role. Further, any portion of your estate that you had left to them no longer takes effect unless you expressly state this, and it returns back to the residue of your estate passing to your Residuary Beneficiaries. Also, you may wish to take into account your stepchildren when updating your Will.

  • Children and grandchildren

The birth or adoption of children or grandchildren may necessitate a change in your Will if you wish to provide for your new children or grandchildren in your Will.

  • If your spouse or civil partner dies

If you had appointed your spouse or civil partner to be the Executor or Trustee in your Will and they die, you need to update your existing Will to remove them as the Executor or Trustee and include a new Executor or Trustee.  Similarly, if your spouse or civil partner was the Beneficiary in your Will, you need to update your Will to remove them as the Beneficiary and include a new Beneficiary.

  • If an Executor or Beneficiary named in your Will dies

If your chosen Executor in your Will dies, you need to update your existing Will to remove them as the Executor and add a new Executor. Likewise, if a beneficiary in your Will dies, you need to update your Will to remove this Beneficiary and include a new Beneficiary.

  • Moving home

If you buy or sell your home or other property, you should review and update your existing Will if you already have one prepared. If you do not have a Will in place and you are purchasing a property, you should have a Will prepared for you to reflect this.

Similarly, if you acquire assets or property outside England and Wales, you need to update your Will to cover your assets and property located abroad. If you have already made a foreign Will in respect of your foreign assets and property, you need to ensure that your existing Will does not revoke any previous ones you have made.

  • Start or sell your business

If you start your own business or sell your business, you should review and update your existing Will if you already have one in place. If you do not have a Will in place and you are setting up a business, you should have a Will drawn up for you to reflect this.

  • Significant changes in estate value

Fluctuations in a person’s wealth are common and if the size of your estate has grown or shrunk significantly, you may wish to update your existing Will to reflect these changes in your financial circumstances.

  • Inheriting assets or money

If you have recently inherited a large legacy, you need to update your existing Will or have a new Will drawn up for you to add the new legacy. There might be tax consequences that you need to take into account.

Once you have updated your Will or had a new one drawn up for you, ensure to tell your Executor where your Will is stored so that they are able to locate your Will when it is necessary.

It is good practice to review your Will regularly, at least every three to five years, or after any major changes in your life to ensure that it reflects your wishes and changing personal and financial circumstances.

Ensuring that your Will reflects accurately any changes in your personal and financial circumstances could save your family members and relatives a lot of the complications and hassle that an outdated Will might entail. Further, a Will that reflects your wishes can ensure that your assets go to the people you want to benefit from your estate, that your children are looked after by people you trust and that people of your choosing administer your estate after you die.

Book a call with our family lawyer to discuss.

You can learn more about us here

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.

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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

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