On the first day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
January saw Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man sign Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with each other. While a DTA had been in place between Guernsey and Jersey since the 1950s, it required updating. However, no DTA had been in place between the Isle of Man and Guernsey or Jersey so this was a new development.
On the second day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
In February, the Employment Tribunal hearing of Greening v iQ Music and Computer Solutions Limited took place. Mr Greening was dismissed for various reasons, one of which was being spotted surfing when he had called in sick to work. Whilst accepting that Mr Greening’s employer had a genuine belief that Mr Greening had committed an act of gross misconduct, the Tribunal reaffirmed the need for a fair disciplinary process to be followed by an employer even in circumstances warranting instant dismissal.
On the third day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
In March, the Employment Tribunal considered the issue of redundancy. In its decision following the hearing of Torode v Guernsey Gas, the Tribunal reinforced the four basic principles of fairness when dealing with a redundancy situation; namely the duty to consult with the employee, the duty to warn of redundancy, the duty to establish fair criteria for the selection of employees and the duty to explore alternatives to redundancy.
On the fourth day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
April saw Treasury & Resources and HSSD launch a joint consultation on personal tax, pensions and benefits in Guernsey as part of a two year review of the way that the States collects tax from and pays benefits to the people of Guernsey.
On the fifth day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
The Billet d'État XI was published on 10 May 2013. It contained proposals for managing the size and make up of the Island’s population to be debated by the States. It was proposed that a system of employment permits would replace the current housing licence regime with Long Term permits being issued for a period of 8 years, Medium Term for 5 years and Short Term permits for a period of up to 1 year.
On the sixth day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
In June, HMRC was forced to review its policies and procedures in selecting and handling QROPS after suffering an embarrassing defeat in a judicial review launched by members of the Singaporean Rosiip Scheme. The judge labelled HMRC as obstructive and inconsistent and its behaviour shameful and aggressive. HMRC was ordered to issue a policy statement setting out its definitive position on QROPS.
On the seventh day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
July saw the launch of our specialist Employment and Pensions Team! We have been delighted with the response and the support we received from all of our clients, old and new.
Further afield, July saw the introduction of fees for the Employment Tribunal in the UK. Complainants now have to pay a filing fee of up to £250 and a further fee of up to £950 once the case makes it to the Tribunal. Guernsey’s Chamber of Commerce supports the introduction of a filing fee, but whether Guernsey will follow the UK’s lead remains to be seen.
On the eighth day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
Following the launch of the consultation on personal tax, pensions and benefits in April, the States released a feedback report providing a summary of responses to the consultation in August. The key results included the need to restrain public expenditure and limit the tax burdens on households. There was broad support for the current pension arrangements but less willingness to pay more for it and a further rise in retirement age was the preferred route to limit expenditure.
On the ninth day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
In September, the Employment Tribunal issued its decision in Capper v Chateau du Village Nursing Home, which saw the highest reduction to date of an unfair dismissal award made to an employee. Although the Tribunal found against the employer due to its technical breach in failing to follow all the stages of an appropriate disciplinary procedure, it nevertheless concluded that it would be just and equitable to reduce Mrs Capper’s award of compensation by 95% as a result of her conduct. Her award was reduced from £7,553 to a mere £377.65.
On the tenth day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
The Seafarer Recruitment and Placement Services (Maritime Labour Convention 2006) Guernsey and Alderney Ordinance was approved by the States of Deliberation on 30 October. The Ordinance is aimed at regulating those agencies which employ mariners as part of the “offshoring” employment industry with the purpose of protecting seafarers and satisfying the recruitment and placement requirements of Regulation 1.4 of the Maritime Labour Convention. Also, the statutory maternity regime approved by the States in February 2012, with a target start date of January 2014, was postponed with no alternative date for implementation being proposed.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
November saw HMRC finally coming back with clarification on how it will handle QROPS, although the policy statement it was ordered to make in June was never made public. There is, in effect, an amnesty for transfers to schemes made before September 2008. However, HMRC’s statement is viewed by commentators as lacking clarity and failing to provide new information. Also, the States of Guernsey approved the Disability & Inclusion Strategy which is expected to result in the introduction of disability discrimination legislation in the employment field by 2016.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, AO Hall said to me:
The States of Guernsey considered proposals brought by Treasury & Resources to amend pension provisions in Guernsey’s Income Tax Law. If passed, it would remove the differential in tax treatment between Guernsey residents and non-residents and allow occupational pension schemes with members in more than one island to regain QROPS status with HMRC and be able to receive transfer payments from UK schemes. This would help employees moving from the UK to Guernsey to bring their pension rights with them and support businesses which operate across the Channel Islands.