08000 93 00 94
Call us to discuss your claim
08000 93 00 94 Enquire Now

Get ready for the apprenticeship levy

April 5, 2017 at 9:00 AM

It could be the biggest change to way young people are trained for decades. But how businesses plan to put the upcoming payroll tax to use has yet to be seen.

Get ready for the apprenticeship levy

From 6 April 2017, all UK employers with an annual payroll bill of more than £3 million will have to pay 0.5 per cent of it in the form of an apprenticeship levy - even if they don’t plan to take on an apprentice. Not all companies are ready – according to City & Guilds, around a third of companies liable to pay it were still unaware it existed.

Employers will have an annual allowance of £15,000, which will be offset against the levy. In effect, only employers with a annual payroll of more than £3 million will be liable to pay the levy (because 0.5% of £3 million is £15,000). Employers who are part of a group structure will have one £15,000 allowance to share between the group. The levy will be paid through PAYE each month and any unused allowance can be carried forward to the next month.

The new digital apprenticeship service will distribute the funds raised by the levy for employers to use on apprenticeship training and assessment in England. Separate arrangements for funding apprenticeships apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Government has published guidance for employers on how the apprenticeship levy and the new funding system will work.


About the Author

Philip McCabe Photo

Philip McCabe is an experienced employment lawyer who has been advising businesses and individuals on a wide range of employment and HR issues since 2000.

He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association, Industrial Law Society, and Law Society. He regularly writes for national publications on employment law issues and is a regular columnist in the Derbyshire Times.

Posted in: Blog

Tags: ,

Holiday pay – the next big case...

April 5, 2017 at 9:00 AM

It is established law that annual leave can be carried over into the following holiday year if the worker is prevented from taking the holiday through sickness. But what if they are prevented from taking leave for other reasons beyond their control?

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is considering whether to extend the circumstances where employers must allow workers to carry over holiday.

Holiday pay – the next big case

In Sash Window Workshop Ltd and another v King, Mr King was a commission-only salesperson who worked for the window company on a self-employed basis for some 13 years. His annual leave was unpaid. Some years, he took his full annual leave entitlement, but in others, he did not request all of it because, if he was not working, he would not get any pay.

Mr King’s time with the company ended. Among the claims he brought in Tribunal were was one for a series of unlawful deductions from wages for holiday not taken.

The Tribunal accepted that both parties had mistakenly believed that Mr King was self-employed when in fact he was in a worker and as he was unable to exercise the right to take annual leave, he was entitled to carry that leave forward into the next leave year – despite making no request to do so.

The Tribunal saw no difference in principle between being unable to take paid leave through sickness and the circumstances in Mr King’s case. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) agreed. In theory, sick leave may not be the only situation that might prevent a worker from taking their annual leave and sent the case back to the original Tribunal to consider if Mr King was truly “unable”, for reasons beyond his control, to take annual leave and as a consequence did not exercise his right to it.

This EAT decision was appealed to the Court of Appeal, which referred the case to the ECJ. The question being whether the burden should fall to the employer to assess worker status properly, face possible liabilities when employment ends, or whether it is for the employee to enforce their rights in a court or tribunal at the time, at the risk of job security.

One important point made by was that, as the Working Time Directive is a health and safety measure, and the burden of ensuring compliance should fall on the employer.

The Advocate General indicated that he would deliver his opinion on 8 June.


About the Author

Philip McCabe Photo

Philip McCabe is an experienced employment lawyer who has been advising businesses and individuals on a wide range of employment and HR issues since 2000.

He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association, Industrial Law Society, and Law Society. He regularly writes for national publications on employment law issues and is a regular columnist in the Derbyshire Times.

Posted in: Blog

Tags: ,

“Mind the Gap” - are you ready for gender pay reporting?

April 4, 2017 at 9:00 AM

The difference in pay between men and women is troubling. But will the reporting scheme which gets under way this month be a step towards its eradication?

Mind the Gap - Train Station Platform Warning

Employers with a headcount of 250 or more will be required to publish the difference between mean and median pay of full-time male and female staff, as well as the difference between bonus pay, the proportions of men and women awarded bonuses as well as crunch some complex numbers to calculate the lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper quartile pay bands.

There is a wider definition of who counts as an employee for the reporting compared to the Equality Act 2010. This means that workers are included, as well as some self-employed people. Agency workers are included, but counted by the agency providing them.

Private and voluntary sector businesses should base their data on staff employed on a ‘snapshot’ date of 5 April. Businesses will have 12 months to publish the information on their website and upload it for publishing on a government website also. The figures, along with a written statement confirming their accuracy, must be accessible to staff and the public. Employers have the option to provide a commentary alongside their calculations to explain the reasons for the results and give details about what actions being taken to reduce or eliminate the gender pay gap.

Whilst the reporting requirements might appear to only apply to businesses with more than 250 staff, in practice, any size business providing services to another business may be asked to provide the information voluntarily so they can prove to their suppliers pay staff fairly.


About the Author

Philip McCabe Photo

Philip McCabe is an experienced employment lawyer who has been advising businesses and individuals on a wide range of employment and HR issues since 2000.

He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association, Industrial Law Society, and Law Society. He regularly writes for national publications on employment law issues and is a regular columnist in the Derbyshire Times.

Posted in: Blog

Tags: ,

The perils of April Fool jokes in the workplace

March 31, 2017 at 9:00 AM

1st April is a time harmless mischief - but what happens when someone plays the April Fool at work?

What is humorous to one person could feel like harassment to another. It is easy for horsing around and “banter” to go too far, for someone to take offence and lead to allegations of misconduct and bullying. Employers will be left to manage the fallout and face the risk of a claim against them in an Employment Tribunal.

Carphone Warehouse Shop Front

One “practical joke” turned into something far more serious and resulted in Mr Otomewo doing just that - taking his employer, Carphone Warehouse to court and winning.

Two of Mr Otomewo’s colleagues took his phone without his consent, accessed his Facebook account and changed his status to say “finally came out of the closet, I am gay and proud.” The two workers knew their manager was not gay. The Tribunal decided that the employees' conduct amounted to sexual orientation discrimination despite Mr Otomewo being heterosexual.

Age based comments are often the focus for complaints and a sensitive area for many. Even if someone appears to tolerate the teasing, they may still be able to succeed in a claim at Tribunal for discrimination.

What should employers do? If a worker raises a complaint or grievance - investigate it promptly, fully and take the appropriate action. Failure to be seen to treat a grievance seriously or to prevent harassment, discrimination or bullying occurring could entitle an employee to resign and claim they were forced out.

Mr Otomewo brought his claim against his employer rather than the two colleagues. If the actions were carried out 'in the course of their employment', employers can find themselves liable for the actions of their staff. The employer was liable for the acts of its employees because the Facebook entries had been posted in the course of employment, during working hours and were between staff and a manager.

Compensation in discrimination cases is unlimited so this could prove to be expensive.

Tips for employers

• Just because something occurs on 1st April, don’t turn a blind eye to it. Deal with misconduct in the same way as you would do so if it occurred on any other day.

• If an employee complains that a trick has been played on them, deal with it efficiently and follow your grievance procedures.

• Whether a prank is offensive or not is not a subjective test - if the target of the joke takes offence and raises a grievance or even brings a Tribunal claim, saying the offence was innocent or unplanned is not a defence

• Ensure the right policies are in place and up-to-date and ensure all staff are aware of and trained to prevent inappropriate workplace pranks or jokes from occurring in the first place.


About the Author

Philip McCabe Photo

Philip McCabe is an experienced employment lawyer who has been advising businesses and individuals on a wide range of employment and HR issues since 2000.

He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association, Industrial Law Society, and Law Society. He regularly writes for national publications on employment law issues and is a regular columnist in the Derbyshire Times.

Posted in: Blog

Tags: ,

#PurpleDay - (50 Shades of Purple) Fundraiser

March 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM

If you have read my previous blogs on Epilepsy you will know that I organised a Purple Day on 24 March 2017 to raise money for Epilepsy Action.

Purple Day - Supporting Epilepsy Around The World

There was more purple in the office than you could shake a one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater at. There were purple tops, purple jumpers and dresses, purple scarves, purple nails, purple eye shadow, purple hair..... even a pair of purple pants!!!! I am really happy that so many of my colleagues got into the spirit of Purple Day. They selflessly munched their way through cakes and put their heads together to complete the Purple Quiz I concocted (there were numerous complaints about it being too difficult). The head scratching was worth it though as the winner received a purple prize box filled with lots of purple goodies.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable day and my colleagues were so generous that as a result, we will be donating £100.00. The money will be sent to Epilepsy Action and will be used to help them give expert advice to those with epilepsy, help towards reducing isolation and improve public attitudes, it will help to influence decision makers, enable vital research and support professionals.

• £6.00 could help experts support someone newly diagnosed with epilepsy by providing advice and information when they need it most

• £25.00 could help campaign to protect existing epilepsy specialist nurses from NHS cuts

• £50.00 could fund a six month supply of up-to-date information booklets and leaflets needed by an epilepsy specialist nurse for their patients

• £180.00 could fund an awareness session at a school, work place or care home by a specially trained volunteer

• £250.00 could help fund brand new research, such as a long-term clinical study by a research centre of excellence

Epilepsy Action provides vital support and expert advice, raises awareness and fights for a better deal for people with epilepsy. I always say to my little boy that small deeds performed often help to make the world a better place. I hope that many of you reading this will agree and I want to tell you that there are many ways you could get involved and help Epilepsy Action to continue the amazing work they do.

Purple Day Collage

You could give money in memory of a loved one or as part of a celebration, you could raise money with work colleagues or friends like I have with a coffee morning or a sponsored event, you could join Epilepsy Action’s weekly lottery, you could fill a small box or jar with loose change and donate it once it’s full, you could recycle unwanted items such as inkjet cartridges, stamps, coins or notes even cars (full details can be found on Epilepsy Actions website https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/involved/fundraise/recycling), or you could buy merchandise from the Epilepsy Action online shop.

Epilepsy Action receives almost no government funding and so relies on donations from people like me and you to provide the amazing services to people with epilepsy. £9.00 out of every £10.00 needed is received through donations. And even small amounts make a big difference.

Single donations

• £12.00 will help people get the advice they need to begin taking control of their epilepsy

• £25.00 will help more people to find the support they need near them

• £37.00 will help raise awareness so more people with epilepsy can feel safer in public

Regular donations

• £3.00 a month will help set up more support groups across the UK

• £8.00 a month will help people get expert advice and the confidence to push for better care and treatment

• £12.00 a month will help fund work to make sure more people understand the challenges of living with epilepsy and know what to do to help

I really hope that I have inspired you to get together with friends and family to raise money for this amazing charity. But if this is not possible for you right now for whatever reason I ask that you talk about epilepsy. The condition itself, the symptoms to look out for, how help can be obtained, what to do if you see someone having a seizure, the work of Epilepsy Action. My previous blogs have lots of information which can be found here #PurpleDay - Raising Awareness for Epilepsy & #PurpleDay - Identifying Types of Epilepsy and the Epilepsy Action website is full of helpful advice and stories from people with epilepsy.

If you talk about epilepsy it will not be so daunting for those who suffer, they will be able to talk freely about their condition and the affect it has on their life. The person you are talking to may be able to donate or will speak to others they know who could go on to help. It’s called a chain reaction and by working together we can all help to make a difference and bring epilepsy out of the shadows, which is what Purple Day is all about.


About the Author

Samantha Handley Photo

Samantha Handley is a Litigator within our Loss Recovery Team.

Samantha deals predominantly with corporate fleet clients and in addition to handling her own caseload, Samantha enjoys supporting and training new members of the team.

Posted in: Blog

Tags: ,

© 2017 Spencers Solicitors Limited trading as Spencers Solicitors. Registered in England and Wales No. 06059110. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (No. 00466097). This website uses cookies to store information on your device, please read our privacy policy for further details and on how to opt out. Sitemap.