Latest by Kelly Thomson

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Furlough, Act Now to Avoid the Knock

Published on 23 September 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Robert Waterson, Partner

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As we leave behind the curious summer of 2020, both HMRC and the SFO are readying themselves for the new term. First order of business: combatting corporate misuse of furlough and Covid-19 bail-out funds. According to official statistics released on 18 September, furloughing of staff in the wholesale and retail sector peaked on 24 April at 1.85 million employees - by 31 July, initial figures show 789,000 retail jobs furloughed– a decrease of more than a half since the peak for the sector. Some furloughed employees in the wholesale and retail sector have been returning to work as lockdown restrictions eased, others have, sadly, faced redundancy. As the furlough scheme winds down to a close next month, some employers may be faced with HMRC insisting that their furlough claims amounted to a misuse of – or even fraud against - the scheme.

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Is the promise of a severance payment a reasonable adjustment?

Published on 07 August 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner

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In this busy time, HR professionals would be forgiven for thinking that nothing beyond the realms of coronavirus is receiving any attention, however cases are still being decided and one Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) case, regarding employers' duties to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled employees, is worth some further consideration.

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The summer of discontent?

Published on 31 July 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Ben Roberts, Partner

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What comes to mind when you hear the word "summer"? The unbridled joy of no more school for 6 whole weeks? Buckets, spades and wind-swept beaches? Perhaps the call of a sun-soaked tropical island? For most, summer means taking some time out to recharge and switch off.

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COVID-19 legal update – Your workforce: Could workers who can work from home (and their employers) break the law by returning to the workplace too soon?

Published on 20 May 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Joanna Holford, Senior Associate

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The government has stated that that those who can work from home should do so and those who cannot should go to work. Is it an offence to go to the place of work when it is possible to work from home?

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Hot off the Press: COVID-19 - Your workforce: a Q&A on claiming for wage costs through the Job Retention Scheme

Published on 27 March 2020. By Patrick Brodie, Partner and Kelly Thomson, Partner

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On 26th March, HMRC issued guidance on claiming for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We explore some answers to key questions and add some questions of our own.

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COVID-19 Your workforce: a caution against putting equality on the backburner

Published on 27 March 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Rachel Pears, Inclusion & Diversity Lead / Internal Employment Counsel

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UK business, like much of the rest of the world, is and will, for some time, remain firmly in the grip of COVID-19's tentacles.

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COVID 19 Your workforce: What on earth is "furlough"?

Published on 24 March 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Patrick Brodie, Partner

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Meaning of furlough, especially in the context of companies dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Your workforce: pay and costs - practical ideas our clients are exploring

Published on 24 March 2020. By Patrick Brodie, Partner and Kelly Thomson, Partner

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COVID-19 Your workforce: pay and costs - practical ideas our clients are exploring. These are extraordinary times that place extraordinary pressures on all of us, including dealing with your workforce. We set out below some ideas that we are hearing about from our clients and some areas you may wish to think about in terms of your employee costs.

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COVID-19 Your workforce: supporting mental health when home working

Published on 24 March 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Patrick Brodie, Partner

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COVID-19 Your workforce: supporting mental health when home working. Many of us are working from home during this crisis and while this can be an effective way of working for some, it is less happy for others; loneliness, caring for vulnerable dependants and challenging home environments are all being experienced. There may be members of your teams who fall into these categories.

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Vegans: a new protected group?

Published on 31 January 2020. By Joanna Holford, Senior Associate and Kelly Thomson, Partner

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Retailers would be forgiven for thinking that 2020's Veganuary coincided with a new law protecting all those who participate. Much of the press coverage of a recent employment tribunal case appeared to suggest just that. The true picture is a little more nuanced. Munch on that kale while we fill you in...

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Changing retail landscape leads to decline in employee numbers

Published on 21 November 2019. By Kelly Thomson, Partner

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The retail sector continues to face change and challenge from every conceivable angle and employment within the sector is following this trend.

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Sharpen your blue pencil: the doctrine of severance in employment cases

Published on 15 August 2019. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Patrick Brodie, Partner

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In Tillman v Egon Zehnder Ltd [2019] UKSC 32, one such business asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the law and to change it to be fit for modern day purposes. In its landmark judgment handed down in July, the Supreme Court has done so. The core facts of the case are not unusual. Egon Zehnder (EZ) is a global specialist executive search and recruitment business. EZ recruited Mary-Caroline Tillman in 2004. As the High Court judge observed, the company regarded Ms Tillman as “a bit special”. She was recruited into a senior role on a salary of £120,000 and first year bonus of £100,000 and then rose steadily through the ranks of the organisation. By 2012, Ms Tillman was joint global head of the company’s financial services practice and a shareholder in the Swiss holding company.

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Put your little stone in the great mosaic

Published on 07 March 2018. By Kelly Thomson, Partner

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IWD is a day designed to galvanize such desire for change into real, sustainable action by people, by business and by government. And on Thursday 8th March many of us will pause for thought. In our reflections, one question will come up time and time again: what can I actually do to improve gender equality?

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Reporting on gender pay: top tips on building an internal swat team

Published on 11 March 2016. By Kelly Thomson, Partner

Paving the road to transparency over the gap in gender pay, the Government continues to push forward with its plan to make it mandatory for organisations with over 250 employees to publish the disparity between what women and men are paid.

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Facing the cold splash of reality and mandatory reporting on the gender pay gap: what's next for UK employers?

Published on 07 September 2015. By Kelly Thomson, Partner

As one of Enid Blyton's characters in Five Have a Mystery to Solve, exclaimed:

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