In this newsletter we look at the latest legislation updates covering the Immigration Rules and Employment, along with recent case law rulings from the courts and the Rights of Agency Workers.

We hope you find this newsletter informative and helpful, if you would like more information on any aspect please contact us. Don’t forget to take a look at our website to see the full range of our services.

From basic Contracts of Employment to a fully Outsourced HR service we can help. If you would like to know more about any of our support, consultancy, and training services, and see how we can help you, please visit our website or contact us at info@connectivebusiness.co.uk to arrange a Free no-obligation consultation.

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Legislation Updates

Changes to the Immigration Rules

1) From 6 October 2019 and relating to Tier 2 of the Points Based System:
• The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its review of the UK shortage occupation list (known as SOL). It recommended new occupations be added and / or widened, including web designers, engineers, health / medical, biological scientists, psychologists, veterinarians, architects and IT specialist. This means that fewer roles will now be subject to very strict rules on passing the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT);
• Previous very strict rules in relation to licensed sponsors with digital technology qualifying status offering jobs in digital technology SOC codes will be relaxed;
• Schools will be pleased that advertising roles on the gov.uk “Teaching Vacancies” platform will now meet the requirements of an acceptable RLMT advertising method;
• Some SOC salary rates have been modified and will apply to Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) assigned from 6 October 2019;
• Ph.D. level occupations will be exempt from the annual monthly restricted CoS limit (currently set at 20,700);

2) From 1 October 2019:
• Employees sponsored in Ph.D. level SOC codes with UK absences for research purposes and relating to their visa sponsorship, will no longer have these absences counted within the indefinite leave to remain (settlement) absence rules;
• The rules on migrant salaries in the run-up to those applying for indefinite leave to remain where there has been a temporary reduction in earnings will be extended to cover a wider group – the rules will extend to those absent from work due to sickness, statutory parental leave, assisting in a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis and engaging in legal strike action – this is in addition to those on maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave;
• English language tests and Life in the UK certificates – applicants will be able to rely on their unique reference number, no longer requiring their paper test certificate;
• Many technical changes have been made to the EU Settlement Scheme rules (known as EUSS) – particularly for the family members of UK nationals returning from a European Economic Area (EEA) Member State or Switzerland. Most of the changes appear to provide clarity. There have also been some big changes to the “suitability” EUSS rules covering circumstances where applications may or must be refused;
• Administrative reviews (a mechanism to challenge decisions) must now be submitted online unless the original application was made on a valid paper form;
• Changes will also be made to the deadlines for applying for administrative review under the EUSS rules, and a discretionary rule to allow late applications will be removed – this change is not likely to be welcomed, particularly for applicants granted pre-settled status when they believe they qualify for settled status.

In addition to these changes, there has been another important and very recent government proposal relating to Tier 4 international students for the 2020/2021 intake – that is, that they will be able to stay in the UK for two years beyond completing their course. It is understood that such students will be issued a two year post-study work visa without needing a job offer or an employer to sponsor them and without any restriction on the type of work they can do.

Training Events

Operational Managers are key to a Company’s success, and how they work with and manage their teams is an essential part of this. We provide the following training courses to help Managers deal with issues and people correctly to enhance your business.
• Managing Discipline & Grievance
• Managers Guide to Handling Stress
• Influencing Styles and Persuasive Negotiating
• Managing Conflict
• Managing Performance
• Managing Attendance
All of our courses can be tailored to suit your exact needs and delivered at your premises if required.

Our 1 day Managing Conflict course is designed to:
• Realise the actual risks from physical or verbal abuse by employees and customers, whether face-to-face, or by telephone;
• Raise Manager’s awareness in order to recognise warning signs of danger;
• Help managers manage conflict and aggressive incidents, and apply skills in order to prevent incidents from happening in the first place;
• Give managers the tools to make informed choices to keep themselves and others safe whilst going about their work..

The course supports managers to develop the skills they need to manage conflict when in direct contact with employees and/or customers, or indirectly when managing teams. Enabling managers to enhance their communication techniques to prevent, defuse and deal with irate and aggressive people they meet and manage in the course of their work.

More details on each of the training courses can be found on our website.

Partner Services

We have established key partnerships to enable us to provide a rounded ‘people’ solution to our clients, including:
• Occupational Health services;
• HR Software.
• Health Insurance and Staff Healthcare Benefits;

We also have a number of other Associate Partners whose services we have used ourselves and also recommend, covering:
• Legal Services;
• Financial Services;
• IT services;
• Insurance Services;
• Health and Safety.
and more. Visit our website to see full information on our partners and services.

Helpful Hints & Tips – Rights of Agency Workers

An agency worker is an individual who has a contract with a recruitment company, to be supplied to work temporarily for a hiring company (or, as commonly known, a temp). This tripartite relationship means there are obligations on two parties: the agency and hiring company. A genuinely self-employed individual will not be an agency worker, so if the individual is on business on their own account, the following rights will not apply to them.

The AWRs provide important rights for agency workers, concerning their basic working and employment conditions, from day one and after a 12-week qualifying period.

Day 1 rights: from the first day of an agency worker’s assignment, he or she must be given the same access as directly employed staff to facilities and amenities. This includes the canteen, childcare facilities (such as a crèche) and car-parking or transport services. Agency workers also have the right to be informed of any relevant job vacancies at the hiring company, to give them the opportunity to find permanent employment.

Week 12 rights: an agency worker will be entitled to the same basic conditions as they would have been entitled to for doing the same job, had they been directly recruited by the hiring company. This only applies once they have undertaken the same role, whether on one or more assignments, with the same hirer for 12 continuous calendar weeks. The equivalent terms and conditions that agency workers are entitled to after this qualifying period are:
• pay (including basic pay, holiday pay, individual performance-related bonuses, commission or overtime);
• duration of working time;
• night work;
• rest periods;
• rest breaks; and
• annual leave.

This must be looked at on a term-by-term basis, rather than looking at the whole package. As recent case law has shown, it is not possible to compensate for less favourable terms in one respect, with more favourable terms in another (for example, a higher hourly rate to compensate for poorer rest breaks).

Pensions are not included within the AWR, which does mean that agency workers are not entitled to pensions that match what they would receive directly from the hiring company. However, agency workers are still jobholders for the purposes of automatic enrolment. As such, agency workers must be automatically enrolled into a qualifying pension scheme. The responsibility for automatic enrolment will fall on the agency, which has the contract with and pays the individual directly.

Provided the qualifying conditions are satisfied, agency workers will be entitled to receive SSP. Again, the obligation to pay this to the individual will fall on the agency, but commercial arrangements may dictate that the hiring company has to cover the cost. Any enhanced company sick pay that a hiring company offers will not come within the AWR, so an agency worker will not be entitled to receive this.

The AWR contains specific requirements for pregnant workers, once the 12-week qualifying period has been met. After this time, pregnant workers are entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments, and alternative work (or pay) must be provided where they are unable to continue with an assignment for health and safety reasons. Agency workers are entitled to statutory maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental pay, if the qualifying conditions are met. The obligation to pay these statutory amounts will fall on the agency, with the contract with the individual. However, agency workers will only be entitled to statutory maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave if they are employed by the agency (as in, they have a contract of employment, rather than the usual contract for services).