Check your passports
In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on 29th March 2019, those with UK passports that expire in less than six months may run into difficulty when travelling between countries. The new rules state that after 29th March, you should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. If you have UK employees that travel to the EU for work, this could be problematic because they could be treated as ‘third country nationals’ after Brexit.
If you leave it until the last minute, there could be long delays in processing applications as large numbers of people try to renew their passports in the event of a no deal Brexit. If you have overseas workers in the EU, then act now or risk them being unable to enter a country and continue working.
The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.
Check driving licences
A survey by RAC Insurance found that only 13% of respondents would inform their employer of any points they incurred and 25% already had points that they had failed to disclose. If you require any employees to drive on business, you should routinely check their driving licence. But how should you do it and when?
Look at the photocard
Ask for a copy of the employee’s physical driving licence. Most employees will produce a photocard-style driving licence, but they may show you an old-style paper licence if they have not changed any of their details since it was issued. Paper licences are still legally valid so you can’t demand that an employee apply for a photocard. Always insist on seeing the original driving licence and take a copy for your records. Don’t accept a photocopy.
A driving licence provides certain information, but it won’t show you penalty points. The DVLA moved this information online in 2015. You can sit with your employee whilst they check their own online account in front of you and print a copy of that page or get their permission to check via the DVLA’s online portal.
After your initial check you should review the driving licences of all employees who drive on business regularly. This should be at least annually but, as points can rack up quickly, every six months would be better.
Lawyer filmed watching porn at work
A partner at a law firm, Hogan Lovells, has agreed to leave the firm and his £900,000 a year job, after he was caught viewing pornographic images on a work computer. A lawyer watching from a window in Irwin Mitchell’s offices, which are next to Hogan Lovells’s, used a mobile phone to film the partner and sent the footage to the senior employee's HR department.
How could Hogan Lovells have prevented this embarrassing incident?
End free browsing
The employer was vulnerable because it allowed its employees unrestricted access online. If you don’t do so already, ask your IT department to block access to all pornographic and inappropriate websites immediately. In addition, ask them to apply an image filter. This will prevent staff viewing and/or uploading unacceptable images and material from other sources such as a personal e-mail address or a USB stick.
Spell it out
Make it clear that you will deem it as gross misconduct if an employee logs on to any sexually explicit websites and this could render them liable to summary dismissal. Make no distinction between logging on to unacceptable websites via your own IT network and a personal device. If you do, this will make it difficult to act if an employee is seen viewing pornographic material on their own mobile phone during working hours.
The GDPR does not make it unlawful for you to monitor your employees’ online activities. It is allowed if your monitoring is to detect the unauthorised use of your IT system and your employees know in advance that you will monitor their activity and how you will do it. Provide this information in an e-mail and Internet policy
Our latest short seminar
In case you missed it, this is your personal invitation to the latest in our series of short seminars on key HR and employment law topics for 2019. Each seminar complements our annual employment law updates, which are held in June. This seminar is Employment status and the Gig Economy and will take place in London on 5th March and Manchester on 7th March. I do hope you can join us
Recently the gig economy has been in the spotlight of a lot of media attention and case law. Companies are offering arrangements that are changing the working landscape and the trend towards flexible working practices is growing. In the UK, the debate is firmly fixed on the difficulty faced by many companies in balancing the need for consistency and quality with flexibility. But the core message emerging from recent tribunal judgments is often that what you say in your documents will not necessarily decide the status of the individuals you engage.
As an HR professional, it is your responsibility to support your organisation as it deals with these complex challenges. Understanding the status of your staff and whether an individual is self-employed, a worker or an employee is crucial because it determines the extent of your legal obligations
We have seen a significant increase in requests for help in understanding the status of a company’s workforce. In this seminar, our team of experienced employment lawyers will take you through some of the most complex and emotive issues. There will also be plenty of opportunity to ask for specific advice on any matters you are currently dealing with. Amongst the many questions our employment lawyers will be answering are:
- Why does employment status matter?
- How do I identify an employee, worker and self-employed person?
- What is the potential liability if an employer incorrectly classifies someone as a worker or as self-employed?
- What can be learnt from the Uber judgement and other recent cases?
- Can a right to send a substitute in a contract defeat any claim that an individual is a worker or employee?
- Are agency workers employees? If so, who is their employer? How do employers manage the risk of agency workers making claims?
- The gig economy – what are the issues and what are the proposals for reform?
- IR35 – What is it, what are the tax implications of employment status and what are the latest developments?
The seminar is free to attend, starts at 9.15am and will finish by 11.15am. Refreshments will be available at 8.45am (with registration) and during a mid-morning break.