Quire fire updates from this months Employment Law newsletter

Share Schemes – annual return reporting deadline fast approaching

A reminder that all companies with a registered share scheme are required to submit an annual return for the scheme to HMRC on or before 6 July every year (in respect of the preceding tax year) to avoid incurring a penalty for non-compliance. HMRC has just announced an extension to 24 August for this year’s deadline, due to technical issues with the online service.

Birketts’ share scheme administration service can assist with your obligation to notify HMRC of any new share scheme arrangement or newly issued share options and to act as your agent to complete and submit compulsory online annual returns on your behalf. For more information, please contact Kirsty Scripps, Employee Incentives Administrator on 01473 406350, or kirsty-scripps@birketts.co.uk.

Advocate General: carrying over paid annual leave

The Advocate General (AG) has given his opinion in the case of King v The Sash Window Workshop Ltd and another, referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by the Court of Appeal.

Mr King was engaged as a commission-only salesman for 13 years and was not paid for any periods of holiday during that time. An employment tribunal held that he was a ‘worker’ and therefore entitled to be paid statutory holiday pay under the Working Time Regulations 1998. The case was subsequently referred to the ECJ to determine whether the right to paid leave carries over until the worker has the opportunity to exercise it.

According to the AG, a worker is entitled to be paid on termination for annual leave that has accrued during employment, which the worker has been discouraged from taking because it would have been unpaid. In the AG’s opinion, the right to carry over the annual leave entitlement can apply indefinitely, potentially for the full 13 years of Mr King’s engagement by the company.

The AG’s opinion is not binding on the ECJ so will not necessarily be followed in the court’s final judgment. If the ECJ does choose to follow it, there will be significant implications for employers of individuals wrongly categorised as ‘self-employed’.

Queen’s Speech - Employment legislation

The Queen’s Speech on 21 June 2017 set out the Prime Minister’s legislative plans for the next two years. Unsurprisingly there will be an Immigration Bill. The details for this were sketchy, but it was focused on enabling the government to remove EU free movement rights and replace them with new British rules.

Many of the proposals set out in the Conservative manifesto were not mentioned. However, this may be because they can be implemented through secondary legislation and do not need to go through the full Parliamentary process. Examples include their plans to double the new Immigration Skills Charge by the end of the next Parliament, increase the minimum income threshold for a British national to sponsor their spouse for a visa and tighten up the rules for students, with an expectation that they will leave the UK after their studies. We will of course keep you updated on all of these.

Taylor Review

The Independent Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy, launched in November 2016 and led by Matthew Taylor, is due to issue its final report very soon.

In advance of its publication, Matthew Taylor has announced that the review will propose a six-point plan to the Government, to help ensure that the law keeps up with the modern world of work. The review will support:

  • Creating a ‘national strategy for work’;
  • Promoting technology of benefit to the workforce;
  • Creating a fairer tax system to contribute to ‘sound public finances’;
  • Initiatives to promote a fair balance of rights and responsibilities;
  • Creating clear, legal, distinctions between ‘employees’, ‘workers’ and the self-employed; and
  • A more significant role for the low pay commission.

Mr Taylor has suggested that his recommendations will not result in additional regulation for business, but will instead encourage responsible corporate governance, good management and stronger employment relations.