10 firm-wide promotions at Moore Blatch
With the firm’s continued growth and success, Moore Blatch, a top 100 law firm focused on supporting people, families and growth businesses for the long term, is delighted to announce 10 key promotions firm wide.
Employment law update – April 2019
April’s update covers the recently released ‘right to work’ online checking system, delves into the evolving world of whistleblowing and discusses a few cases highlighting the importance of rest breaks.
Our April issue also features a guest article from our corporate team, detailing how employers can work towards promoting and maintaining employee engagement.
Make your employees beam with a share scheme
Employee share schemes are increasingly common and increasingly seen as a cost-effective incentive for rapidly growing businesses in a range of sectors. We have recently seen some of the early schemes we helped to implement now come to fruition, which has been hugely satisfying.
So why have employee share schemes become so common? We believe it is down to a combination of a change in attitudes toward employees owning a piece of the pie in recognition of their hard work, as well as an appreciation of the flexibility and incentive offered by the arrangements. One of the most common employee share scheme is the Enterprise Management Incentive scheme (EMI), which we aim to outline in this article.
An EMI scheme
An EMI scheme enables options to be given to employees to acquire shares in a company upon various events happening. In this sense, it is no different to an option to acquire property or some other asset. The price for the shares is set on the date of grant and is usually the market value of the shares on that date, or higher. Importantly this purchase price is not payable until the EMI option is actually exercised and nothing needs to be paid on the date of grant! There are certain restrictions that apply to EMI options, caps as to the value of the options and notably the EMI options can only be granted to employees of the company. However, broadly speaking many businesses would qualify to grant them.
Usually the employee being able to exercise the EMI option will be dependent either on the employee hitting certain performance criteria over a period of time, or on the employee being employed by the company when it is sold. Giving an employee the right to share in the benefits of the sale may well bridge the gap between a salary paid by a well established competitor versus that able to be paid by a start-up business.
Employees can investigate before end of police inquiries
In the case of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust v Gregg, the Court of Appeal confirmed that an employer need not postpone a disciplinary hearing while an employee awaits the outcome of a police investigation.
Personal injury quantifiable in rest-break claims
The case of Grange v Abellio London Ltd will be of particular interest to employers as it confirms that non-compliance with (or a refusal to provide for) an employee’s entitlement to a rest break can result in an award of damages for personal injury.
Not all workers get 20 uninterrupted minutes off
In the recent case of Network Rail Infrastructure v Crawford, for workers deemed “special workers”, compensatory rest need not be an uninterrupted break for 20 minutes.
This case concerned a railway signal controller, who had more than 20 minutes’ break available to him in an eight-hour shift but his breaks weren’t for a continuous 20 minutes due to the nature of his job.
Employees are entitled to an uninterrupted 20-minute break, says Regulation 12 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“WTR”), unless they are excluded by Regulation 21, which specifies that certain “special workers” need not strictly adhere to Regulation 12. However, this is subject to Regulation 24, which deals with compensatory rest and obliges employers to provide equivalent value compensatory rest to special workers.
This may give some employers greater flexibility in managing shifts and cover at work, but employers must not forget the importance of encouraging their employees to take these breaks in order to protect their well-being and safeguard health and safety, as intended by the above WTR regulations. The case also clarifies that, even if an employer can manage the rota so that these special workers receive the uninterrupted 20-minute break, it is not obliged to, provided that the break allotted is of equivalent compensatory value.
When is a worker an employee?
In a recent landmark case that was hailed the ‘first public sector gig economy victory’, a group of art educators sacked by the National Gallery established “worker” status, despite the Gallery’s claim that they were self-employed.
Don’t shoot the whistleblower
The aim of integrity, health and safety, and fair competition should apply to most, if not all, industries and therefore these vital disclosures should be encouraged, not punished.
When sacking isn’t religious discrimination
In the case of De Groen v Gan Menachem Hendon, a teacher was sacked from an ‘ultra-orthodox’ Jewish nursery in London because she was living unmarried with her boyfriend. The nursery, Gan Menachem Hendon, dismissed Zelda De Groen for acting contrary to her employer’s “culture, ethos and religious beliefs”.