Using Social Media – German ban

The German Federal Cabinet is currently proposing to pass a law which will amongst other things prohibit employers from using social networking sites to find out about prospective employees. But how often do you search the internet to find out more about prospective staff and their social lives and is this something that could come in to force in the UK? According to the draft German Law, employers will be able to use accessible information from the internet to “background” search potential applicants, but will be prohibited from using information obtained from social networking sites used for “communication purposes”, such as Facebook which we are told is specifically cited as an example. The law is intended to establish a balance between the legitimate interests of employers against the protection of the employee’s personal data. In contrast, information gathered from professional networking sites, for example LinkedIn, will be able to be…

Can you stop staff from discussing salaries?

The answers to this question will change on 1st October 2010 when the Equality Act begins to come into force. The purpose of this Act is largely to consolidate existing discrimination law, bringing it in effect all into one Act, and therefore could be easily overlooked. However there are some new features that could have a significant impact on your business operations. This note deals with the first of three of these new features. Discussing pay, and victimisation As a result of the new legislation clauses which restrict an employee or worker from disclosing information about their pay or seeking information about pay levels from other employees or workers will be very difficult to enforce. Currently discussions of this nature can be prohibited and relied upon in disciplinary hearings. Some employers feel that pay rates are personal to individuals and do not want open disclosure, and indeed some employees no…

Licensing Debate

The issue of whether recruitment companies should be licensed remains one that will probably remain open for consideration for years to come. Clearly some agencies want it and others do not, and the idea of driving out so called “rogue agencies” is one that obviously appeals to all legitimately run operations. However setting up a new licensing regime would plainly be difficult. If the proposal is to be taken forward at all, even to a preliminary consideration stage, the reasoning behind it and the advantages must be set out clearly and transparently. Any advantage must be to the industry as a whole, not just to those who would want to use it for their individual company benefit, for example for operations abroad. In addition the nature of the target “rogue agencies” should be identified and everyone should be satisfied that existing laws are insufficient to drive them out. As things…

Lawspeed extends working hours

Lawspeed is pleased to announce that it is extending its working hours in order to meet current demand. Ravi Murphy, a director of the company, said “times are still difficult for many recruiters and they need to be able to access the right advice as and when an issue arises. To further facilitate the delivery of timeous responses in line with the objectives that our company name implies, our legal helpline for recruitment businesses is now open from 0800 until 1900.” The Lawspeed helpline is used by many agencies to obtain precision advice on contract and operational issues. The helpline can be accessed by calling 01273 236236.    

ARC welcomes PM’s comments on agency worker rights

In response to the Prime Minister’s indication that a review should be on the basis of how the existing laws affect ease of employment, Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the ARC said “we agree that the issue should be looked at in the round as well as in respect of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR). There is a clear distinction between agency work and regular employment. The former reflects the concept of short term deployment of labour and allows for the flexibility which has helped to provide UK hirers with a useful strategic tool for years. The distinction must not be blurred and the rules must be appropriate to enable agency work to function properly if jobs are not to be lost.” The ARC opposes the one rule for all approach that the previous administration advocated and the criticism from some quarters now reported against Mr. Cameron’s views. Adrian commented “for…

Business waiting for Govt to grasp the AWR nettle

The coalition government’s response on 5th July 2010 to a House of Commons question as to their intentions for the Agency Workers Regulations, namely whether they have plans to amend or replace the Regulations, was far from definitive. Ed Davey the (Liberal Democrat) Minister for Employment Relations gave a written answer that indicated that the government was ‘currently considering the way forward’. Contrary to some media reports this does not amount to the announcement of a review. However a review is required, says Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the ARC. Pointing to two of the Coalition’s agreed commitments in this area, to cut back gold plating of EU Directives and to reduce unnecessary costs, he said “the delay in announcing a review is worrying. There are a number of areas in which the Government could make significant savings, not the least because the public sector is one of the largest hirers…

Reviewing your contracts properly

Clients regularly come to us with their client’s terms and say ‘I’ve had a look through, largely it’s fine but can you just check I haven’t missed anything?’ Whilst we applaud the attempts at getting involved in the more gritty aspects of your contracts, often these contracts are anything but fine. We thought we would give you some pointers to highlight the importance of looking at each contract in detail before agreeing to provide your services. You can watch out for these before seeking legal advice. FEES: When can you charge a fee, are there transfer fees for all situations and are these Regulations compliant? Some contracts can appear to cover certain situations, but in fact do not. LIABILITIES:  Are you liable for the work your candidates are doing on site or just for your work as a recruitment business? This can be disguised, with some horrible consequences if things…

Recruitment law update

It has been a little while since the last recruitment law update in AgencyZone. We present here a summary of recent legal developments that may affect recruitment businesses and their clients.    The new right for time off to train or study. Employees now have a statutory right to request time off work for study or training, where it would improve the employer’s business or the employee’s effectiveness within it. This right is available to employees with at least 26 weeks of service and where the employer has 250 or more employees (from April 2011 this will be extended to organisations of all sizes). The legislation does not include requirements for the employer to fund the training, and there are various ‘permissible grounds for refusal’, which should cover most of the problems that might arise as a result of the employee’s time off. However, failure to follow the correct procedures may…

Minimise your MSC risk. Free and easy

The Managed Service Companies (MSC) legislation can expose recruitment companies to the transfer of the tax debt accrued by service providers, such as umbrella companies. Agency directors may be personally liable. Lawspeed’s Service Provider Audit (SPA) service has been helping recruitment businesses to minimise their exposure under the MSC legislation, free of charge, for over a year. Whilst SPA has always been free to recruiters, it is now even easier to minimise your MSC risk using SPA. Reminder of the problem All service providers claim they are compliant so that they do not expose the agency to risk of debt transfer. However, some models carry risk that may not be obvious and if debt transfer does arise, the sums involved could be substantial. Every MP will assert that his/her expenses claims are legitimate, some no doubt are and some apparently are not. However, an independent appraisal is essential in all cases. The same…

ARC urges change to ET rules for dubious claims

Every year employers and agencies face claims that have no real merit, yet employers choose to pay out rather than incur the cost of defending the action. The reason for this acquiescence was the subject of a recent networking meeting held by the Association of Recruitment Consultancies, which was attended by agencies and end users. Adrian Marlowe, chairman of the ARC, reminded the attendees how, earlier this year, there was much comment regarding the case of a serial litigant who was issuing Employment Tribunal claims, usually based on age discrimination allegations, following false CVs sent to agencies (and possibly directly to employers), advertising job vacancies. A neat way to make money, commented Marlowe, but how could this happen? He explained that practicality rather than justice was normally the driving factor, given the cost and aggravation that respondents faced whenever a claim was made. “Is this fair, and if not what…