Tag Archives: Miller Samuel

Glasgow Council Workers Suffer From Zero Hour Contract Rise

According to new figures, the number of workers on zero-hour contracts working for Glasgow City Council has risen significantly in the last year.

The figures show that the Council employ 1,689 people on zero-hour contracts with no guarantee of regular work, up from 1,436 in the previous year. The vast majority of those working on zero-hour contracts work as supply teachers, exam invigilators and classroom assistants, with many of the councils at-arms-length companies hiring on zero-hour contracts exclusively.

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Enforceability of Real Burdens

In property law, a real burden imposes an obligation on a party to do something or an obligation not to do something, e.g. an obligation to pay money or a restriction on the use of a property. The important characteristic of a real burden is that it runs with the land i.e. it affects the land itself and not merely the owner of the property at that moment in time, and it affects both properties: it burdens one piece of land for the benefit of another piece of land.

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Employment Law and the Election

The outcome of the upcoming general election could have a large impact on employment law, with various proposed changes appearing in party manifestos. A key potential change would be the devolution of the Employment Tribunal system in Scotland, draft provisions for which are contained in the Scotland Bill 2015 following the report of the Smith Commission. It remains to be seen whether these provisions will become law. If they do, it means that the potential exists for there to become greater differences between the Employment Tribunal in Scotland and those in England and Wales.

This is generally not mentioned in the manifestos of the various parties, but proposals regarding a number of employment law issues are. Looking at the manifestos of the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and UKIP, issues which tend to feature are the minimum wage, changes to zero hours contracts, discrimination and employment tribunal fees.

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The Scottish souvenir title “scams” – a storm in a teacup?

It has an understandable attraction to it. Being a Laird or Lady of some remote Highland location. To imagine yourself as some swashbuckling character in some Game of Thrones style landscape, running around in a kilt, Golden Retriever by your side, and brandishing your sgian-dubh at any trespasser who dares encroach onto your little patch of Scotland. For most non-Scots, it brings to mind a highly inaccurate, heavily romanticised, view of Scottish Highland life and simply serves to reinforce the misconceptions of quintessential Highland society.

I am, of course, talking about the infamous Highland “souvenir” plots that have proven (and continue) to be a popular choice of unique gifts. In 2010, the Daily Record reported the case of “Lord Hicks of Lochaber” (aka Kevin Hicks, a fireman from Essex) who was so pleased with his Highland plot and Lordship title that he was reported to have proclaimed: “I’ve ordered some stationery and I intend to change my passport, driving licence, all that kind of stuff”.

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Barristers Condemn Rise In Cost of Employment Tribunals

Over 400 barristers have signed an open letter stating their concern regarding the cost of employment tribunals in the UK.

The open letter directly attacks justice secretary Chris Grayling calling the increase in tribunal fees introduced by the government as a “barrier to access to justice”.

The letter states “It is very clear from the drastic reduction in the number of claims brought in the employment tribunal that fees are currently too high.”

“The fees are a significant barrier to accessing justice and are preventing employees from being able to complain about contraventions of their employment rights.

“We do not think that the current level of fees can be justified by the suggestion – repeatedly made by the media, politicians and others – that prior to July 2013 a significant percentage of employment tribunal claims were vexatious.

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Private rented accommodation and tenancy deposit schemes

This article is concerned with the way in which Scottish courts are interpreting the (fairly new, at time of writing) tenancy deposit schemes.  These are given effect by Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, and the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (the “Regulations”).

The type of landlord caught by the Regulations is a person other than a local authority, registered social landlord, or Scottish Homes.  The type of tenant similarly caught are those who are not a member of the landlord’s family.

In reality, this means that the Regulations will cover any ‘arms length’ private letting of residential property.

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Updates in Employment Law

The beginning of the new tax year on 6th April is one of two dates in the year when changes to employment law tend to be made. This is a brief summary of some changes which came into force this week:

Shared Parental Leave

As discussed in more detail in our blog last week, the shared parental leave scheme is now available to all parents due to have or adopt a child.

Adoption rights

A number of changes have been made to the rights of those adopting children as of the 5th April 2015. These are:

  • The requirement for employees to have 26 weeks service in order to be eligible to take adoption leave has been removed, making it a ‘day one’ right in line with maternity leave.
  • Employees have the right to time off to attend adoption appointments if they have at least 12 weeks service. Single adopters are entitled to paid time off to attend up to 5 appointments. Where there are joint adopters, only one is entitled to pay, and the other is entitled to unpaid time off to attend two appointments. It should be noted that an employee who takes paid time off to attend adoption appointments may not then take paternity leave in respect of the same child. Couples adopting children will therefore have to consider if they will both attend appointments and which of them will elect to be paid.
  • Statutory adoption pay has been brought in line with statutory maternity pay, so that it is paid at 90% of the employee’s gross weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks of leave.
  • Adoption rights are extended to couples adopting a child from outside the UK and to those fostering children in England as part of a Fostering for Adoption placement.
  • Rights to adoption leave and pay are also extended to parents where their child is born to a surrogate. The fact that this involves a birth rather than a placement means there are slight differences in the provisions, such as those on notification and evidence.
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Shared Parental Leave

On 5th April, the much discussed Shared Parental Leave (SPL) scheme will become a live issue for employers to deal with. The concept of SPL is itself relatively straightforward: one parent can choose to end their maternity or adoption leave and share the remaining available leave with their partner. The legislation appears less straightforward as there are various requirements and processes to be followed. As the provisions apply to children born or placed for adoption on or after the 5th April 2015, employees may now starting looking to take SPL and it will be helpful for employers to be aware of the provisions. This blog will cover some key points to be aware of in terms entitlement and requirements, as well as some practical points for consideration.

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Summer Placements – Miller Samuel LLP

Miller Samuel is currently looking to offer summer placements to law students seeking experience of working in a commercial lawyer’s office.

Our main practice areas are Commercial Property, Residential Conveyancing, Private Client, Family, Litigation (Personal Injury & Commercial Litigation) and Employment and successful applicants will have the opportunity to gain exposure to all of these areas.

During the placement, the successful candidate will be required to carry out administrative duties, undertake legal research and will have the opportunity to shadow our professional staff.

Placements will last for 2 week periods, which will take place between June and August (exact dates to be confirmed). The placements will be unpaid, but candidates will receive a £20 per diem to cover expenses.  If you are interested in applying, please forward your CV to nancyp@millersamuel.co.uk.

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Holiday pay update- Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels?

On Wednesday of last week, we had the latest development in the ongoing saga of what pay an employee is entitled to when they take annual leave.  This instalment came as a result of the Employment Tribunal in the case of Lock v British Gas Trading Limited reconvening following on from an earlier decision taken by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the same case.

Lock…

Mr Lock worked in sales and his case related to his claim that when he took a period of annual leave he was unable to earn commission which he otherwise could have done in carrying out his duties.  Accordingly, when taking annual leave, he suffered a subsequent reduction in pay.  Interestingly, the case did not relate to the actual pay which Mr Lock received during his holiday periods: British Gas did account for commission earned in previous periods when calculating the payment due for annual leave.  Rather, Mr Lock argued that as he was unable to earn commission during annual leave, the pay he would receive in subsequent periods was reduced.

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