UK: Termination payments – changes to tax treatment from 6 April 2018

Employers currently contemplating or negotiating termination agreements should be aware of changes to the tax regime which will apply for the 2018-19 tax year onwards. The expectation was that these will apply to payments received from 6 April 2018, although we understand that HMRC have advised that the new rules will only apply where the employment terminates on or after 6 April. HMRC have also stated that they are in the process of drafting detailed guidance on the application of the new rules and hope to publish it in the Employment Income Manual before 6 April. Once there is clarity on the date, employers will need to start factoring in the new rules when considering the timing and negotiation of termination payments.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Termination of employment

UK: Gender pay gap reporting – EHRC threatens enforcement action for non-compliance

The 4th April 2018 deadline for publication of employers’ first year of gender pay gap data is looming, yet over 90% of employers covered by the new statutory duty have still not reported. Many may have deliberately chosen to publish close to the deadline, perhaps in the hope that in the early April deluge their data will slip unnoticed through the net of media attention. Whether this strategy will itself attract negative publicity may depend on whether the GEO goes ahead with its original plan to publish three lists of employers “in early 2018”: those who have reported, those who have “demonstrated that they are on track to report” by registering on the government website (possibly as at 31 January), and those who have not yet registered. Employers who are not yet ready to publish may want at least to register to avoid being on the third list.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Remuneration (including bonus and incentive plans), Workplace culture, diversity and discrimination (including bullying and harassment)

UK: Arbitration – its growth, practical uses and limitations in an employment law context

There is a growing appetite to resolve employment disputes by arbitration.  This is the finding of the UK Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) which published its Report on Arbitration and Employment Disputes in November 2017.  The Report, a product of over two years of research, conducted by ELA’s Arbitration and ADR Group (chaired by Peter Frost of HSF and Paul Goulding QC of Blackstone Chambers), concludes that arbitration clauses are increasingly found in partnership and LLP agreements, deferred remuneration scheme rules and contracts of employment.

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Filed under Employment-related claims- procedure and form, Jurisdiction: UK

Indonesia: Compliance Check – Short Term Business Travellers

An increase in the incidence of inspections by the immigration authorities to workplaces reviewing the legality of the immigration status of foreign workers and business travellers means now is the time to review your mobility arrangements and ensure compliance.

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Filed under International mobility (including secondments, migrant workers, territorial jurisdiction), Jurisdiction: Asia

APAC: Individual Liberty Under Workplace Safety Laws

Workplace health and safety laws can often be confusing and the consequences of a breach can be significant. This month our team looks at whether there are penalties and offences under workplace health and safety law which can be imposed against individuals in the event of a breach.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Asia, Workplace Health and Safety

India: Dismissal of Sexual Harassment Petition

Widespread allegations of sexual harassment in the press and the international “#MeToo” social media campaign have thrown the issue of sexual harassment sharply into focus. This article looks at the recent case in which the High Court of Delhi dismissed a petition by an employee claiming that she had been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. The decision provides guidance as to what kind of conduct may amount to sexual harassment and follows the recent launch of an online portal that enables female employees to lodge complaints of sexual harassment.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Asia, Workplace culture, diversity and discrimination (including bullying and harassment)

Hong Kong: Disclosure of Criminal Convictions

Employers often seek to carry out criminal and other background checks on new employees as part of their pre-hire processes. The discovery of a prior criminal conviction may in some cases result in an offer being withdrawn, or at least another look at the business’ decision to hire a particular candidate.

There is a clear and obvious tension between the needs of an employer to have sufficient information to ensure they are hiring the right person for the role and the public interests in protecting an individual’s right to privacy and the rehabilitation of offenders.

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Filed under Data protection and privacy, Jurisdiction: Asia

Taiwan: Further Changes to the Labor Standards Act

Prompted by criticisms from both employers and employees to its amendments to the Labor Standards Act (the “Act”) in December 2016 (the “first amendments”), the Taiwanese Government proposed further revisions to the Act (the “further amendments”), less than a year after the first amendments were implemented. These recent amendments will take effect from 1 March 2018 and relate to rest days, overtime work and overtime pay and are aimed at providing employers greater flexibility in conducting their businesses and in managing the work schedules of their employees.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Asia, Working hours (including holiday, sick leave, overtime, rest breaks)

Australia: Uber driver not an employee – Fair Work Commission finds

The ceaseless trend towards casualisation and new rules of engagement in the gig economy is a modern fact of life. From bicycle couriers to ride sharers and food deliverers, relationships around work continue to fascinate. In the political realm, parliaments around the world are only slowly starting to grapple with how work is being redefined.

In December last year Deputy President Gostencnik of the Fair Work Commission delivered the first decision in Australia assessing whether an Uber driver is an employee. DP Gostencnik found that for unfair dismissal purposes, an Uber driver was not an employee.

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Filed under Employment status (including agency workers, casual workers, use of contractors and 'dispatch' arrangements), Jurisdiction: Australia, Termination of employment

Australia: Employment taxes update

Our colleagues at Greenwoods + Herbert Smith Freehills have published an excellent update on Employment Taxes. Click here to discover more.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Australia, Remuneration (including bonus and incentive plans)