Monthly Archives: April 2013

Employment lawyer fees – what you need to know

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As an employer or employee faced with employment law difficulties, it’s sensible to turn to the experts for advice – but it’s equally as prudent to familiarise yourself with how to pay for it should the situation arise.

Here at Ashby Cohen, our experience in the industry allows us to guide you through the most complex employment laws. Whether you’re an employer or employee, there are a number of affordable funding solutions available to help you achieve the best possible legal resolution.

If you’re mounting a legal case as an employee, we can offer you:

  • An agreed and fixed hourly rate
  • Rates calculated in units of 12 minutes
  • Invoices at regular intervals

Additionally, as part of your household contents insurance or credit card, you may have a legal expenses insurance policy attached – and this can cover you for all your legal expenses from the moment your employment is ended (subject to certain conditions).

If you’re an employer, we can agree on a fixed hourly rate calculated in units of 12 minutes and invoiced regularly. Also, we can occasionally agree on a flat fee for non-contentious matters such as drafting employment contracts or reviewing a staff handbook. In these cases, we will estimate the time we’re likely to spend on the issue and quote appropriately.

Of course, here at Ashby Cohen we’re firm believers that prevention is better than cure, and it’s important that you receive the best advice possible before pressing ahead with litigation.

We offer an initial telephone consultation that’s free of charge. Contact us today and find out what we can do for you.

Getting advice on workplace discrimination

In 2011/2012 there were 28,550 discrimination complaints assessed by employment tribunals – but only 1.2% of these actually resulted in a financial reward. With less than half of all claimants having legal representation, these figures show just how vital it is to seek legal advice if you are being discriminated against.

Workplace discrimination can take many different forms, so it is worth knowing exactly what your rights are.

Watch this video and feel free to share it so others can see just how beneficial it is to seek legal advice if they are a victim of any type of discrimination.

What does the Enterprise and Regulatory Bill mean for employers?

Unfair dismissal laws will be impacted heavily this summer, with the introduction of the Enterprise and Regulatory Bill.

The Bill will bring with it a whole host of changes, however it has already attracted plenty of controversy – with many claiming that it’ll make it quicker and easier for businesses to get rid of staff.

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On the other hand though, the business secretary Vince Cable believes the move will ease some of the pressures on Britain’s struggling businesses, and will lead to Britain becoming more “enterprise-friendly”.

Regardless of your personal feelings over the Bill, if you’re an employer you’ll need to familiarise yourself with it.

The two biggest changes that the Bill will bring with it are a cap on compensation in unfair dismissal claims, and the need for former employees to pay to lodge a claim.

The cap will stand at either 12 months wages or £74,200 – whichever is lower for the individual in question.

At present, it doesn’t cost an individual anything to lodge an unfair dismissal claim, however once the Bill comes in to effect it’ll cost £250 to lodge a standard claim – and an extra £950 if the case goes to a tribunal.

While many have been critical of this move (several high profile figures have claimed the figure is far too high for anyone that’s just lost their job), it’s hoped that it’ll also cut down on the number of people “chancing their arm” by launching tribunals with little substance behind them.

Another important change relates to “protected conversations”. In short, this means employers will be able to take staff aside with no prior warning and offer to pay them to leave, without the conversation being used as evidence in an unfair dismissal trial. However, this protection won’t apply in discrimination cases, or if undue pressure is placed on an individual within the conversation.

As you’ll no doubt be able to see, the changes are fairly significant. But while they’ve been designed to put a greater deal of power back in the hands of employers, failure to adhere to them properly can leave you wide open.

If you’d like further clarification on the changes from an employment law specialist, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, we’d be more than happy to advise.

April 2013 employment law changes, and what they mean for you

This month has seen a number of new employment laws come into effect, each of which will have an impact on employersThis month has seen a number of new employment laws come into effect, each of which will have an impact on employers – regardless of the size and type of their operations.

If you’re looking to improve your working environment in line with the changes, then you’ll need to know their key aspects, and what you’ll need to do to make sure you’re falling into line with them.

Firstly, you’ll have to bear in mind that the rate of statutory sick pay has increased from £85.85 to £86.70 a week.

It’s not just statutory sick pay that you’ll need to keep on top of though. Maternity, paternity and adoption pay have increased as well – you now have to pay at least £136.78 a week instead of £135.45.

While these changes are fairly small, if you’re not taking them into account you’re breaking the law. That means it’s absolutely essential that you implement them.

Another development that employers will need to keep on top of is the Real Time Information (RTI) scheme. Under this scheme, employers have to report PAYE deductions to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) prior to (or at least at the same time as) them being implemented, as opposed to just once a year. This information needs to be sent to HMRC electronically, so you might need to update your software if you’re unable to do this.

Finally, you’ll have to bear in mind that the minimum consultation time for collective redundancy has decreased where more than 100 employees are involved. While it’s something that all employers will be keen to avoid, the consultation period to make redundant 100 or more employees within 90 days (or less) has been reduced from 90 days before the first dismissal takes place to just 45.

The minimum consultation period remains at 30 days if you’re proposing to make redundant between 20 and 99 employees though. For further information about this side of things, we offer an initial free consultation with regards to redundancy law.

Making these changes is essential, so if you’re unsure about any of them, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’d be more than happy to advise you further.