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Belgian Ministry of Employment blows hot and cold on pre-return temperature checks

In an attempt to keep Covid-19 out of the workplace, many employers have been inquiring about the possibility of performing temperature checks before employees enter their premises each day. The Belgian Ministry of Employment’s position until last week was fairly relaxed: its FAQ document referred to the stance taken by the Belgian Data Protection Authority, … Continue Reading

And now for something completely different – EU abuse principles sink self-serving contract variation

Quite a fun little case on TUPE this week, if you like that sort of thing (and on the upside, even if you don’t, at least it has nothing to do with COVID-19). Regulation 4(4) of TUPE states that TUPE-related changes to terms of employment are void in most circumstances.  This has long been read … Continue Reading

Belgium – new “Corona leave” reduces young parents’ suffering

In a previous blog, we mentioned in mildly critical tones that the Belgian government still hadn’t issued a regulation on a proposed special “Corona leave” for young parents struggling to balance (home)work and the care of their children. It could just be coincidence, obviously, but the very next day the government reached agreement on the … Continue Reading

Dealing with health and safety fears of returning to the workplace (UK)

So now that the slow movement back to workplaces has started, the next hot question will be this: “If I don’t want to go back in because I fear infection if I do, can my employer make me?” The short and absolutely definitively answer to this is no.  And yes. It cannot compel you to … Continue Reading

Extension of IR35 to the private sector, Part 17 – the House of Lords takes revenge, eventually (UK)

Trying to find the most depressing part of the new House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee report on IR35 is not easy.  There are so many possible candidates, for one thing, and as an insight into the legislative process it is little short of terrifying.  Not even law by twitter like the Job Retention Scheme, … Continue Reading

Smoke lifts temporarily over Belgium’s occult period (and other questions about termination)

In a previous blog, in a world before the coronavirus hit Europe, we noted the social elections that Belgian employers have to organise in 2020 [here] for the appointment of employee representatives to the Works Council and Health & Safety Committee. Being a representative of that sort (and also being a candidate for that role) … Continue Reading

“The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television” – squaring lockdown with the Job Retention Scheme (UK)

A well-known term of the CJRS is that the employee shouldn’t while on furlough do any work for the employer or provide any services to it.  A simple enough proposition, one might think, despite the unknown pundit whose wise words appear above, but as with much of this Scheme, once you get down into the … Continue Reading

Early guidance for administrators considering furlough (UK)

Earlier this week, Mr Justice Snowden gave the first judgment on the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme [here].  Rather than bask in the Bank Holiday sunshine digging into his Easter eggs, he sought to bring clarity to some of the more murky aspects of the scheme – specifically, how the Scheme operates when the employer … Continue Reading

HMRC quizzed by Parliamentary Treasury Committee on Job Retention Scheme (UK)

Here is a quick glimpse behind the scenes of parliamentary process – some highlights from the Parliamentary Treasury Committee meeting yesterday when officials from HMRC were quizzed by the Committee about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, plus some thoughts of our own in bold. The new scheme will be up and running on 20 April … Continue Reading

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – first two weeks on the front line (UK)

As anyone who has spent the last fortnight trying to apply the Government’s CJRS knows, there is currently no actual law.  Bar some guidance clearly not written by employment or HR specialists (hence indiscriminate references to workers and employees, and use of “laid-off” to mean both put on leave without pay and made redundant), pretty … Continue Reading

Next steps in vicarious liability – no liability for employee’s personal vendetta (UK)

Back in 2016 we commented on the increasing breadth of the vicarious liability concept as seen in a claim against supermarket chain Morrisons [here].  The store was held liable to a customer who was violently assaulted by one of its petrol station attendants in direct contravention of the criminal law, his training and all reasonable … Continue Reading

We’re all going on a summer holiday – avoiding the Cliff of unwelcome accrual (UK)

New Coronavirus measures seem to arrive every day, but some old-fashioned issues still rock along underneath them, including just what happens when travel restrictions and the closure of everything fun put an immediate brake on your employees’ holiday plans. The obvious answer is that they defer the break until the world restarts, but by that … Continue Reading

The positive side-effects of staying close to employees in isolation (UK)

What a difference a week makes. By now, businesses, offices and families all across the United Kingdom are coming to terms with the recommendation that (where possible) people self-isolate as the UK Government seeks to “spread the peak” of the Coronavirus pandemic. Ignoring the seismic impact this has had upon businesses and industries, there is … Continue Reading

Reducing personnel costs in the Corona crisis: how Germany supports employers

Germany supports employers by facilitating the payment of short-time work benefits (“KUG”). KUG is a service provided by the Federal Employment Agency to safeguard jobs and avoid redundancies when employees are temporarily unable to be employed. The previous regulations in this regard have been considerably improved. The new regulation is limited in time and is … Continue Reading

Welcome pragmatism from UK’s ICO on disclosure of employees’ virus exposure

Some new clarification from the Information Commissioner’s Office yesterday about that grey area between individual privacy rights on the one hand and the public interest on the other. Against the background of the Coronavirus crisis (and perhaps recognising that any other position would be politically terminal), the ICO has made it clear that even though … Continue Reading

Dismissing to protect corporate reputation – how to keep your good name in the Tribunal (UK)

If one of your employees is arrested and charged with something more than usually distressing and distasteful, the question will inevitably come up of whether he can be dismissed. The driver for that inquiry will often be a fear on the employer’s part of adverse publicity arising from its continued employment of him against that … Continue Reading
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