Hong Kong: Unpaid internship or illegal work?

Unpaid internships are often seen as a way of providing valuable industry experience to students. However, there has been an increasing global focus on whether such arrangements also enable the exploitation of individuals to perform unpaid work. In Hong Kong, while there are exemptions from the application of certain employment related laws which apply to categories of student interns, organisations that wish to host unpaid interns must carefully consider key legislation to ensure compliance. Continue reading

UK: New Resources

New presidential guidance has been issued in relation to how employment tribunals should calculate pensions loss and awards for injury to feelings in discrimination cases, available here. There are three bands for injury to feelings, with a usual minimum of £800 and maximum of £42,000 (save for exceptional cases); these will be reviewed in March 2018 and annually thereafter.

Continue reading

Singapore: Illegal workers – High Court holds employer liable for injuries to illegal worker

In Md Shohel Md Khobir Uddin v Chen Yongbiao and another [2017] SGHC 109, the Singapore High Court (SGHC) awarded an individual working illegally 80% of the damages claimed for personal injuries suffered as a result of an employers' negligence. In reaching her decision, the learned Judge held that public policy weighs in favour of awarding damages to injured illegal workers. Only where the injury is the direct result of commission of a crime will relief be denied. In addition to discussing public policy considerations, the SGHC provided guidance as to the factors and circumstances which may be taken into account by the courts when apportioning liability between parties in circumstances where the employee's own negligence contributed to his injury.

Continue reading

UK: Immigration Act introduces new offence from 12 July 2016

The Immigration Act 2016 has also recently been enacted. With effect from 12 July 2016, there will be a new offence of working in the UK illegally and the current criminal offence of knowingly hiring an illegal worker will be extended to apply where an employer employs someone whom they have reasonable cause to believe is an illegal worker; the maximum custodial sentence on indictment will also increase from two years to five years. Other provisions not yet commenced include a new power to impose a 48 hour closure of the premises of employers and the Secretary of State will have power to introduce an immigration skills charge on certain employers who sponsor skilled workers from outside of the European Economic Area, planned for April 2017 (although the vote for Brexit may obviously affect this).

Employers should take the opportunity to ensure HR systems are up to date and proper right to work checks are completed.  HR and line managers may also need to be trained to identify circumstances giving rise to a "reasonable cause to believe" someone is an illegal worker, and what steps to take if they become aware of new information about an employee's immigration status.

UK: New resources – flexible work form, SPL guide, illegal work, disabled employees

The Government has published the following new resources for employers:

Please contact us if you would like a copy of our HSF client briefing on the new shared parental leave regime.

UK: Increase to employer penalty and revised codes re illegal working in force from 16 May

The maximum civil penalty for illegally employing adults who do not have the right to work in the UK has increased from £10,000 to £20,000 for contraventions not occurring solely before 16 May 2014.  Two revised codes of practice for employers, on preventing illegal working and avoiding discrimination when carrying out recruitment checks, also came into force on 16 May (click here). Continue reading

UK: New resources

  • Our global EPI team has produced a guide to employee issues on a multi-jurisdiction business transfer, to assist our clients in meeting some of these challenges. The guide contains an overview setting out key practical steps that can be taken to address the risks, as well as giving a top level summary of the main employee issues in 32 jurisdictions. Please click here if you would like a copy.
  • New Acas guidance on managing small-scale redundancies (under 20 proposed dismissals) is available here.
  • On 28 October 2013 the UK Border Agency published an updated version of its full guide for employers on preventing illegal working in the UK (replacing the May 2012 issue), available here.

UK: Illegal workers – changes proposed to penalties for employers

The Home Office has published the results of its consultation on the civil penalty scheme to prevent illegal working, available here. Key changes for employers (to be introduced in the Immigration Bill or secondary legislation to be introduced in April 2014) include:

  • the maximum civil penalty for an employer in respect of each illegal worker is to be increased from £10,000 to £20,000 (reduced to £15,000 for a first time breach)
  • the range of documents acceptable as evidence of the right to work is to be reduced
  • the need for annual checks on documents for an employee with time-limited status will be removed and replaced with a check at the point of expiry of the employee’s permission to be in the UK
  • the grace period for document checks to be made on employees acquired pursuant to a TUPE transfer is to be extended from 28 days to 60 days.

China: Illegal foreigners targeted by China’s new exit-entry law

Bigger fines will be imposed on foreigners illegally entering, living or working in China. Foreign executives of companies that fail to pay full remuneration to employees may also be prevented from leaving China. Refugees have been formally recognized.

 These and other changes have been introduced by the "Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People's Republic of China", effective 1 July 2013, (New Law) and the "Exit and Entry Administration Regulations of the People's Republic of China", effective 1 September 2013, (Implementing Regulations). Several previous laws and regulations that were issued in the 1980s have been repealed. Continue reading