In Brief: Important Updates from April 2019

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 30 April 2019
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A number of useful articles and interesting case law reviews were added to the NI Employment Law Hub throughout the month of April. Here is a quick recap of some of the recent developments within the employment law sphere:

Increase in Limits for NI

The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019 came into operation on 6th April 2019.  Amendments included an increase of the maximum amount of “a week’s pay” for the purpose of calculating a redundancy payment or for various awards including the basic or additional award of compensation for unfair dismissal from £530 to £547. 

Vento Bands Increased

In respect of claims presented on or after 6 April 2019, the increased Vento bands shall be as follows:

  • a lower band of £900 to £8,800 (less serious cases);
  • a middle band of £8,800 to £26,300 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); and,
  • an upper band of £26,300 to £44,000 (the most serious cases), with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £44,000.

How do I handle it?

April saw an increase in the NMW and Pension Contributions.  Patricia Rooney of Tughans looks at the impact of these in our ‘How Do I Handle It?’ Series.

First Tuesday Q&A

What happens to employee benefits during long-term sickness?  The answer to this and other key questions are answered by Johanna Cunningham from Arthur Cox in our First Tuesday section.

Upcoming events

There is still time to register for Legal Island’s events in May and June.  Click here for more information.  

Case Law Reviews

Frudd and another v The Partington Group Ltd [2019]

The Claimants in this case were employed at a caravan site as a warden/receptionist team. Alongside two other such teams they worked ‘on call’ from evening until morning. They argued that the whole period of time spent on call should be considered ‘time work’ for the purposes of the national minimum wage (NMW) legislation.  The EAT held that when the caravan park was shut (known as the ‘closed season’), the claimants were ‘available for work’ rather than actually working and this therefore did not constitute ‘time work’.

Antuzis and others v DJ Houghton Catching Services Ltd and others [2019]

The claimants were employed at various farms and suffered exploitative conditions.  The central issue in this case was whether the respondent directors were liable for inducing a breach of contract by the company. In the present case the court was satisfied that the directors of the company “actually realised” that the employees were not receiving minimum wage, holiday pay and overtime payments as they were legally entitled to. As a consequence, they were in breach of s.172 of the Companies Act 2006.  

Shelbourne v Cancer Research UK [2019]

In this case an animal research worker at the charity had been lifted and dropped by a drunk visiting Cambridge University scientist. Ms Shelbourne sustained serious back injuries. She sued her employer, rather than the visiting scientist. The High Court distinguished the present case from previous case law in a number of areas but, in particular finding that the visiting scientist was not an employee of the charity (never mind the owner) and the party was organised by volunteers at their behest.

Mr Jozsef Fitz v Holland and Barrett Retail Limited [2019]

The claimant, after being promoted to supervisor became responsible for opening the store in the morning and closing the store at night if the store manager was absent.

He claimed that in carrying out these tasks he had accumulated over two hundred hours in overtime after his contracted shifts were due to finish, for which he was not paid.  The tribunal held that the claimant was employed under a fixed hours’ contract and so was “entitled to payment” for the extra hours.  It explained that in the absence of an express agreement outlining that the claimant’s salary covered such extra work, the claimant should be paid for such extra hours.  The respondent was ordered to pay the claimant £1,019.75 in compensation for the overtime worked. 

Legal Island is running an event dealing with all manner of contractual matters, Contracts for the Modern Employment Relationship taking place on the 5th June in the Merchant Hotel.  Click here to register.

This article is correct at 30/04/2019

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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