Kidwells Articles

Bid to ban rip-off deals on pensions

Bid to ban rip-off deals on pensions

PENSION firms are to be banned from giving retirement advice in a bid to prevent the unscrupulous from ripping off savers.

Millions of workers are now set to get a better pension deal after Chancellor George Osborne yesterday announced the separation of sales from advice.

People will get free independent information about retirement options under a guidance guarantee which starts next April.

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"What's on the horizon"

"What's on the horizon"

What to expect……

30th/31st July – Holiday Pay

We've recently reported on the ongoing saga that is holiday pay, see articles here and here dealing with who is entitled to what and when. The cases of interest to all Employment Law Practitioners and Employers at the moment are Neal v Freightliner Ltd and Fulton and another v Bear Scotland Ltd which are due to be heard at the Employment Appeals Tribunal on 30 and 31 July 2014. 

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Pensions: enrolment and partnerships

Pensions: enrolment and partnerships

An employer must automatically enrol ‘eligible jobholders’ into a qualifying pension scheme. An eligible jobholder is a ‘worker’ who works or ordinarily works in the UK, is aged between 22 and state pension age, and receives ‘qualifying earnings’ which exceed the £10,000 annual earnings trigger for auto-enrolment.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, LLP members are now deemed to be workers for whistleblowing legislation purposes. The Pensions Act 2008 also uses a very similar definition for ‘worker’, and on this basis it is very likely that, for the majority of LLPs, their members will be ‘workers’.

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Equality impact

Equality impact

The Administrative Court recently quashed a council’s decision to revoke a London soup kitchen’s licence to operate in an authority-owned car park (Blake and others v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2014] EWHC 1027). The court found that the council had breached its public sector equality duty (PSED) in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

In giving judgment on 7 April 2014, Mrs Justice Simler stressed the ‘need for clear well-informed decision-making when assessing potentially grave adverse impacts on some of the most vulnerable members of society… in the current economic climate’.  

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Golden Years: Pension payouts

Golden Years: Pension payouts

According to national figures many pensioner's incomes have risen by nearly £1,000 a year and they now receive almost as much as the average salary.

Pensioners worried over paltry returns on their savings and rising bills are finally seeing the financial pressure ease. It is the first time in three years that pensioners’ incomes have been recorded as going up faster than inflation.

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Big bold global push to beat Dementia

 Big bold global push to beat Dementia

Dementia "one of the greatest enemies of humanity" says PM David Cameron

In December 2013 the G8 summit on dementia was held in London. Its aims were to:

  • stimulate greater investment and innovation in dementia research
  • improve the prevention and treatment of dementia
  • improve quality of life for people with dementia

This focus on the issues raised by dementia nationally and globally was repeated at the recent G7 dementia summit where David Cameron delivered a speech  calling for a "big, bold global push” to beat dementia.

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Right to request flexible working from 30 June 2014

Right to request flexible working from 30 June 2014

Once again it’s all change in the world of Employment Law and HR.

From 30 June 2014 the statutory request for flexible working will extend to all employees providing they have 26 weeks' continuous employment at the date the request is made.

Only one request may be made under the statutory scheme in any 12-month period and must be made in writing. The rights do not extend to agency workers or self employed.

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Forced Marriages Policing Act 2014

A new law has been passed by the government in England and Wales making it a criminal offence to force people into marriage.

From today, parents who force their children to marry can be punished by up to seven years in prison. Previously, courts have only been able to issue civil orders to prevent victims being forced into marriage.

The law will give victims the confidence to come forward and protect thousands of people each year. It will apply if people are forced into marriage in England and Wales, as well as to UK nationals at risk of being forced into marriage abroad

This new law has been welcomed by many different religions and groups’ throughout the world.

The complete article by the BBC news will bring a better definition regarding forced marriages in relation to the Criminalisation - under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.   

Nicola Haines Trainee Solicitor

 

Weight in the workplace

Weight in the workplace

You may have heard that the European Court of Justice is to consider the  test case of FOA, acting on behalf of Karsten Kaltoft   and the issue of whether obesity in and of itself can amount to a disability. The implications of a judgment that this was the case could be very far reaching and as the problem of obesity continues to increase this is an issue that employers should give some thought to.

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World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014

With only a few days away from kick off we wanted to remind employers of the helpful advice and guidance issued by ACAS concerning the World Cup.

Although fairly straight forward, the guidance is well worth a read dealing with:

  • Annual leave
  • Sickness absence 
  • Flexibility
  • Social Networking and Websites
  • Drinking or being under the influence 

Good communication with staff will be essential over the next month. Deal with any issues that may crop up promptly, fairly and reasonably following your own internal procedures. 

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The Small Claims Track - How it Works

The Small Claims Track - How it Works

Recovery of Debts of £10,000.00 or less:
 The Small Claims Track - how it works

If you are a small business or individual and are owed monies you can issue a county court claim against the debtor (once you have given sufficient notice of your intention to do so).  If a claim is issued and not defended you may apply for a Judgment against the debtor and thereafter enforce that Judgment by a method that is most appropriate.

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Child contact

Child contact

With the school summer holidays a matter of weeks away, there are families that will be tackling the matter of shared care after the family unit has been divided.  Today, approximately 26 per cent of households in this country that have dependent children are headed by a single parent.  According to the charity Gingerbread, there are two million single parents today in Britain.

Many of these families will have been through separation or divorce; some will have been through both.  Not only is this an emotionally difficult time but when children are at the heart of the family it can be extremely stressful.

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A probate time bomb

A probate time bomb

“As rising house prices increase the amounts at stake, and more and more home-made wills are being written, we are sitting on a ‘probate time bomb’,” says Barrister Dennis Sharpe of Field Court Chambers.

He said: “The average house price has now risen to the level at which, in the absence of a will, the courts will apply rigid rules to the distribution of an estates’ assets. This can often lead to large sums being given to children or grandchildren ill-equipped to deal with such sudden riches, or to surviving parents who didn’t expect to receive monies.”

“We are also finding that using ‘write your own will’ kits can lead to contested probate claims. This is especially prevalent where beneficiaries of the will have helped a relative to write it, an avenue which allows, in certain circumstances, for the will to be contested.”

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ACAS Early Conciliation and Guidance

ACAS Early Conciliation and Guidance

If you also follow our Kidwells HR website, you will have seen an article earlier this year regarding ACAS Early Conciliation which is due to come into force for claims made on or after 6th May 2014. ACAS have now posted some guidance on how this will proceed.

The guidance is in the form of an “Early Conciliation Explained” leaflet and I have set out the main points of this below:

For the relevant claims, it will become mandatory for a Claimant to inform ACAS when they wish to make a claim. It is not mandatory for the Claimant to enter into Early Conciliation should he wish to proceed to Tribunal. However, it is advised in order to attempt to settle any claims before they reach proceedings which will benefit both Parties involved.

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Legal Costs of a Dispute

Legal costs of any dispute can soon outweigh the issue that people argue about; Lawyers are supposed to know this but time and again I see lawyers with such large costs that a party simply cannot face the costs of settling. The thrust of relieving the courts of the workload of hearings is to encourage disputing parties to try and settle at Mediation [ADR] but again this in itself creates costs and sometimes makes the matter harder to settle.  The case of PGF II SA v OMFS Company 1 Limited [2013] EWCA Civ 1288 has been reported in the Law Gazette where they say this case “...has given its strongest support for alternative dispute resolution since its decision in Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust [2004] 1 WLR 3002. More significantly the case considered, for the first time as a matter of principle, the following question: what should be the response of the court to a party which, when invited by its opponent to take part in ADR, simply declines to respond to the invitation in any way?” in my opinion, the directions from this case are just worse than the understanding before.

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Questions answered about making a will

Many people have the false perception that when they die their possessions will automatically go to their loved ones, regardless of whether they have a Will. By having a valid Will you can ensure that your possessions go to the people that you choose. With a valid Will in place you are also preventing your loved ones from a great deal of expense, delay and distress that may arise if you die intestate (without a valid Will).

What is a Will?

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From GPs to Marriage Counsellors

Photo: ALAMYIt has recently been said that GPs should provide marriage support to elderly couples. With the cost of adult care sky rocketing up due to the rising number of people heading to the divorce courts as they approach retirement age - some say that other government bodies should help elderly couples stay together because of the pressure "silver splitters", are putting on the care system. 

A senior Tori MP Andrew Selous says that GPs should talk to those over the age of 50 about their relationships and direct them to counselling services and that older couples should be encouraged to take "relationship MOTs" with a counsellor.

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Same sex marriages action for pension plans

Same sex marriages action for pension plans

The key provisions of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (the “Act”) are due to come into force on 13 March 2014 and the first same sex marriages can take place on 29 March 2014. This legislation affects survivors’ benefits provided by occupational pension plans.

It has been recommend that trustees and employers consider the survivors’ benefits to be provided to same sex spouses to ensure that their pension plans meet at least the minimum requirements. Where they have choices to make, they should consider what information or action is needed and ensure their intentions are reflected in their pension plan’s rules.

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