Employment Law: 5 tips for November 2020
Writing this as we go into another lockdown, we begin our report for this month with:
1. Covid-19 related Employment issues:
- Breaking News- Further Extension of CJRS ( Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) – this was meant to end on 31 October, then in December but as at 5 November it has been announced that it will continue until 31 March 2021. Support is the same as in August; – for claim periods running to January 2021, the government pays 80% of wages for hours not worked up to a cap of £2,500 per month, which is more generous than for September and October. Full time and flexible furlough are permitted. The JSS (Job Support Scheme) which was supposed to come into effect of 1 November has been further postponed. Under extended CJRS, support is available for employees who were on the PAYE payroll by the end of 30 October 2020 or who were made redundant after 23 September but re-employed. Full details will be announced on 10 November but in the meantime this link might be helpful https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/extension-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/extension-of-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.
- New Coronavirus regulations – The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 are in force for at least 28 days. They include a prohibition on leaving home and also detail which businesses can stay open. Other regulations on people who must self-isolate came into force on 28 September so that employers cannot allow workers back to work (unless at home, or wherever they are self-isolating). Employers can to be fined from £1,000 to £10,000 if in breach. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1045/made/data.pdf
2. Covid-19 related Immigration issues:
- New rules – the final pieces of the UK’s new immigration system were revealed with the publication of changes to the Immigration Rules last month. Changes to sponsored worker routes, including minimum salary and skill level reductions and the abolishing of the advertising requirement, will be in effect from 1 December 2020. Visitor and Student visas are among the other visa types affected. Please see our article on the new immigration system for a comprehensive summary of the changes.
- Covid concessions – Visa holders whose visas expire between 1 November to 30 November 2020 and who are unable to leave the UK, can request additional time to remain in the, known as ‘exceptional assurance’. The request is made by contacting the Home Office Coronavirus Team and providing evidence of being unable to leave the UK.
- To settle in the UK, under most immigration routes applicants must not have been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period during the qualifying period for settlement. The qualifying period is usually 5 years or 3 years. Under the new immigration rules coming into force on 1 December 2020, absences due to the global pandemic will not count towards the 180-day limit on absences in any 12-month period. For further information please see our article Update on Coronavirus and UK Immigration.
Employment issues (not Covid-19 related)
- Public Sector Exit Payments – for exits on or after 4 November 2020, there is a cap of £95,000 on exit payments, even if the terms were agreed before that date. This applies to all types of severance payments, such as statutory redundancy payments (but SRPs cannot be reduced), ex gratia sums or voluntary exit payments, employer pension contributions including any top ups, any shares/share options or payments in lieu of notice which exceed a quarter of the employee’s salary. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1122/made/data.pdf
- Acas Early Conciliation rule changes – from 1 December 2020, the one month period for conciliation (which can be extended by a further 2 weeks with the parties’ agreement) is changing. It will be a 6 week period with no further extension.
- What does long term effect mean in disability discrimination? The EAT has upheld a tribunal decision that said that an employee suffering from paranoid delusions in 2013 (which affected his sleep, attendance and time keeping at work) was not disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, when it came to dismissing him in 2017. This was because he could not show that there had been any substantial adverse effects on him that lasted or were likely to last 12 months in the intervening period, even though the delusions began again before his dismissal (Sullivan v Bury Street Capital Ltd).