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POPULAR ONLINE PAYMENT METHOD VISA CHECKOUT LAUNCHES TO UK SHOPPERS

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POPULAR ONLINE PAYMENT METHOD VISA CHECKOUT LAUNCHES TO UK SHOPPERS
  • Visa Checkout, the easier way to pay online with a single sign-in, is making its debut in the UK, launching on lastminute.com
  • An exciting range of promotions is kicking off the partnership between Visa and lastminute.com
  • Visa Checkout is available in more than 23 markets and has expanded significantly, with 20 million consumer accounts and 300,000 merchants
  • Enrolled customers have a 51% higher conversion rate when compared to other customers[1] and data shows reduced cart abandonment

Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) today announced that its quick, safe and secure payment method Visa Checkout has launched in the UK. Visa Checkout allows consumers to securely store shipping and payment details without having to re-enter information while shopping online. Customers only need to enter a username and password – consistent across all merchants offering Visa Checkout, thereby reducing friction and the time taken to make a purchase.

lastminute.com is the first UK merchant to get on board. All of its shoppers will be able to take advantage of the innovative new service when making any purchase on the travel company’s website. To celebrate the UK launch of Visa Checkout, lastminute.com and Visa are running a six-week ‘use and win’ promotion on the site, running from May 7 to June 17.

Over the coming months, consumers with Visa cards from Barclays, Barclaycard, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, The Co-operative Bank and other issuers, will have the added ease and convenience of seeing an image of their card design when they choose to pay with Visa Checkout. This means consumers will immediately recognise their preferred card from their issuer that they know and trust.

Up to now, UK shoppers have been able to shop at global merchants such as Marriott, Emirates, Wyndham Hotel Group and Stubhub.com, but lastminute.com is the first UK-based retailer to join the service.

Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director of Visa UK & Ireland, said:

“We are delighted to welcome lastminute.com onboard as the first UK retailer to offer the benefits of Visa Checkout. We are actively working with leading retailers to bring the benefits of faster and more secure checkout to online shopper in the UK.”

“Consumers are increasingly demanding secure and easy-to-use digital payments when making purchases online. By removing the hassle of typing in payment account and shipping information each time, we have seen a noticeable increase in conversion rates for online retailers.”

“Visa Checkout also addresses the evolving needs of consumers who are looking for a simpler and more convenient shopping experience on mobile with no compromise on security.”

Brian Cole, CEO UK Cards, Barclaycard, said:

“Streamlining the online shopping journey is something we know our customers will welcome so we’re looking forward to being one of the first issuers in the UK to offer Visa Checkout.

“By removing the need to input personal and payment information every time they shop online, Visa Checkout makes it quicker, easier and more convenient for customers, and most importantly it does so whilst keeping their details safe and secure.”

Global Success Story

It is the latest development for Visa Checkout, which has expanded into 23 countries, most recently Poland, and now has 20 million registered users globally with new merchants regularly signing up.

Visa Checkout first launched in the USA in 2014 and is already widely used by more than 300,000 global retailers, including Avis Car Rental and Papa John’s.[2] Today, lastminute.com becomes the UK’s first retailer to offer its customers Visa Checkout.

The UK is the largest ecommerce market in Europe, with annual spending in 2015 higher than the next three biggest spenders combined.[3] This trend is set to continue, with a healthy 5.4 percent growth reported in 2016[4], as consumers continue to build their online profiles and grow more accustomed to paying online. Other UK retailers can now capitalise on this growth opportunity by signing up to Visa Checkout.  In particular, Visa Checkout’s mobile optimisation will help merchants take advantage of the ever-growing mobile payments opportunities. Visa research shows that 74 percent of Britons have made a payment using a mobile device, rising to 94 percent among 18-24 year olds.[5]

Marco Corradino, Chief Operating Officer at lastminute.com, said:

“Our aim is to help our customers achieve their dreams through travelling. And one very practical way to help them do so is to make the payment process as hassle-free as possible.

“We know that people want to be able to make quick, easy and secure payments online, so they can then start thinking about the next stage of their holiday experience with us.

“We are very pleased to be able to help them with that through offering Visa Checkout on all lastminute.com purchases in the UK. “

Implementation of Visa Checkout has led to increased conversion rates due to a reduction in cart abandonment. Research found that Visa Checkout shoppers convert to online buyers at a rate of 72 percent, rising to 77 percent for returning shoppers, against a conversion rate of 54 percent for traditional checkout[6]. Furthermore, Visa Checkout customers make 30 percent more transactions per person compared to other customers, while merchants running Visa Checkout promotions have seen 46 percent net new customers.[7]

With security a key consideration in the payment process, Visa Checkout securely stores all of the card and shipping details while using a range of advanced security tools to authenticate the account holder.

Further research found that 95 percent of Visa Checkout customers said signing up was easy, while 96 percent said they felt secure using it.[8]

Visa and lastminute.com Promotion

 To celebrate the UK launch of Visa Checkout, lastminute.com and Visa are running a six-week ‘use and win’ promotion[9] on the site, running from May 2 to June 13.

Anyone buying a flight on lastminute.com and paying using Visa Checkout, will be in with a chance of winning a Big Ticket Weekend to New York, including flights, accommodation, $1,000 spending money on a Visa prepaid card, as well as two VIP tickets to the Formula E race on Saturday July 15 and much more[10]. Further Visa Checkout and lastminute.com promotions will follow later in the year. The competition will be supported by digital display and social media activity.

[1]comScore 2015 Visa Checkout study, commissioned by Visa. Based on data derived from the comScore research panel of one one million U.S. PC/laptop users measuring panelists purchases

at 12 e-commerce domains, April-October 2015.

[2]VCO Quarterly Factsheet Q2 FY17 final

[3]European B2C E-commerce report 2016 – UK spending on online goods and services in 2015 was €157.1bn; France €64.9bn, Germany €59.7bn, Russia €20.5bn

[4]Visa Consumer Spending Index Data

[5]Visa Digital Payments Study, October 2016

[6]ComScore Visa Checkout Conversion Study, Jun-Dec 2015

[7] https://www.visa.co.uk/visa-checkout/

[8]Millward Brown Visa Checkout Customer Experience Survey, March 2015

[9]http://www.lastminute.com/promos/VisaCheckout.html

[10]Full competition details in Notes to Editors below

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Is it legal for an employer force an employee to have the COVID vaccine?

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Is it legal for an employer force an employee to have the COVID vaccine? 1

By Amanda Hamilton, CEO, National Association of Licensed Paralegals

Can you force your staff to have the vaccine before they return to work? Quite simply, no, not legally!

Despite the claims of some of the anti-vaxxers, there is no law in the UK which requires mandatory vaccination. The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 devolves powers to Parliament to legislate in order to protect UK Citizens. The law enables Parliament to intervene in an emergency situation, such as the pandemic, and impose lockdowns and restrictions to protect citizens, but it cannot impose mandatory vaccinations.

In other words, there is no power to make vaccinations mandatory. This raises a whole host of issues – from human rights to equality – and balances them against the rights of others to be safe in their workplace. In addition, it raises issues around the possible criminal implications of forcing someone to be vaccinated against their will.

Potential criminal implications: The Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 s20 states that an unlawful wounding would occur if a person were forced to have a vaccination against their will. A wound means ‘a break of the skin’. This statute still remains in force today.

Human Rights and Equality: Compulsory medical treatment or testing is contrary to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights meaning that it is a human right to refuse medical treatment if you wish to do so. Refusing medical treatment could be because of deeply held religious or other beliefs, and this brings into play the Equality Act 2010. This statute states an individual is protected from discrimination from nine possible characteristics including: age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sex.

So, an employer cannot force an employee to be vaccinated. But can that employer dismiss an employee for refusing the vaccine?

Again, simply no. If they did, then it would amount to an unfair dismissal and the employee could justifiably take the employer to an employment tribunal for discrimination. The case would be brought under the Equality Act 2010 in that the claimant’s refusal to be vaccinated is founded on a fundamental belief or on religious grounds. It would of course, be for the claimant to prove that she/he has such beliefs.

And it would be exactly the same if the claimant felt that they were being victimised, because of their belief, to such an extent that they felt that they could not continue being in the employ of the employer, and consequently, resigned. This would amount to constructive dismissal. The result being the same as if the employer had dismissed the employee – an employment tribunal case could ensue for unfair dismissal.

So how on earth can an employer manage such a situation if there is a statutory duty to provide a safe environment for employees in the workplace? The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 places the responsibility on employers to protect the ‘health, safety and welfare’ at work of all employees and includes others on the premises such as temps, contractors and visitors.

This appears to be in contradiction to the premise that it is an individual’s right to refuse the vaccine. The only way to manage this is to impose certain guidelines on employees such as those we are all asked to follow during the current pandemic, e.g. social distancing, mask wearing and sanitising/hand washing etc.

It may also be prudent to find alternative work for the employee until it is safe for them to return. A reasonable solution such as this should be acceptable to an employee. If not, and the employee brings an unfair dismissal case against the employer for constructive dismissal on the basis of discrimination, then a Tribunal, hearing such a case would weigh up the rights of the claimant to refuse the vaccine, with the nature of the work they do, the alternatives offered to them, and how many others would be put at risk, if they were to continue in their role without vaccination. In other words, they would look at the situation and apply a test of reasonability.

Lastly, can an employer insist that their staff tell them whether or not they have been vaccinated?

If you can demonstrate that asking them to be vaccinated is a reasonable management instruction, then asking them for this information will also be reasonable. However, just as you can’t force them to be vaccinated, you also can’t force them to reveal their vaccination status. Again, equality laws will come into play if there is a risk that revealing their vaccination status will result in discrimination within the workplace.

If they do agree to tell you then this will constitute sensitive personal health data and you’ll need to comply with GDPR. The same applies to information about who has not been vaccinated and why.

Generally, the best policy is one of unambiguous communication. Explain why you’d like staff to be vaccinated and why you’d like the information about their status. Give them an opportunity to discuss this privately with you or your HR department, and look at ways to mitigate the risks and offer alternative working options.  This way you have done your best to provide the right working environment, have kept staff informed and engaged in the process and ultimately reduced the chances of a successful Tribunal claim.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Hamilton is Chief Executive of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP), a non-profit Membership Body and the only Paralegal body that is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England). Through its Centres, accredited recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for a career as a paralegal professional.

See: http://www.nationalparalegals.co.uk

Twitter: @NALP_UK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NationalAssocationsofLicensedParalegals/

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-hamilton-llb-hons-840a6a16/

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UK’s Taylor Wimpey sees recovery building in 2021 after good start

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UK's Taylor Wimpey sees recovery building in 2021 after good start 2

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

(Reuters) – Britain’s third-largest homebuilder Taylor Wimpey reported a strong start to the year on Tuesday and forecast a recovery in sales and margins in 2021 after a slump in 2020.

The group also earmarked 125 million pounds ($174 million) for fire safety work on its developments amid a nationwide drive to improve building safety following a deadly tower block fire in London in 2017.

The FTSE 100 firm said it expected to develop fewer affordable homes than usual this year, with a higher proportion of more profitable private homes, which would help improve its operating margin.

Its shares were trading 2.2% higher at 1000 GMT.

“The key news is that they are talking better on the operating margin for 2021, recent trade has been resilient … and all looks in pretty good shape,” said Canaccord Genuity analyst Aynsley Lammin.

Taylor Wimpey said it expected 2021 operating margin to rise to between 18.5% and 19% after it tumbled to 10.8% in 2020 from 19.6% a year earlier.

Britain is expected to extend a tax break on home purchases by three months and unveil a mortgage guarantee scheme in Wednesday’s budget, moves that could bolster the housebuilding sector after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled an exit plan from coronavirus lockdowns.

Taylor Wimpey, which has operations in Britain and Spain, joined rivals Barratt and Persimmon in setting aside funds to meet new fire safety regulations introduced after a deadly fire at London’s Grenfell Tower in 2017.

The group made pretax profit of 264.4 million pounds ($367 million) last year, down 68.4% from a year earlier and just below analysts’ average forecast of 267 million in a company-provided poll. Revenue fell about 37% to 2.79 billion pounds.

It resumed dividend payments, with a final payout of 4.14 pence per share.

($1 = 0.7202 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru. Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Mark Potter)

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Boohoo defends supplier practices after report of possible U.S. import ban

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Boohoo defends supplier practices after report of possible U.S. import ban 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Boohoo defended its supplier practices again on Tuesday after a Sky News report said the online fashion retailer faced the possibility of a U.S. import ban due to allegations over the use of slave labour in supplier factories.

Sky News said U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seen sufficient evidence to launch an investigation after petitions from lawyer Duncan Jepson, who runs Liberty Shared, a campaign group against modern-day slavery.

It quotes Jepson as saying Boohoo is not doing enough to stop forced labour in the factories in Leicester, central England, which supply many of its clothes.

Shares in Boohoo were down 5.7% at 0907 GMT.

Last September Boohoo accepted all the recommendations of an independent review which found major failings in its supply chain in England after newspaper allegations about working conditions and low pay, and set out steps to tackle the problems.

The group, which sells own-brand clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products targeted at 16- to 40-year-olds, said that over the past eight months it has been working closely with UK enforcement bodies.

“It is important to note that auditors and investigators who are forensically examining suppliers in Leicester have found no evidence of modern day slavery,” it said in a statement.

Boohoo said it has not been notified of any investigation by U.S. CBP.

“We are confident in the actions that we are taking to ensure that all of the group’s products meet and exceed the CBP criteria on preventing the product of forced labour entering the U.S.,” it said.

“We will work with any competent authority to assure them that products from our supply chain meet the required standard.”

In November Boohoo appointed retired judge Brian Leveson to independently check its “Agenda for Change” programme, which implements the recommendations of the independent review.

“The group continues to make excellent progress as it works to implement the review’s recommendations and improve our supply chain in Leicester,” it added.

(Reporting by James Davey)

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