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Marc Jones
Changes affecting the fall out of a broken employment relationship

The annual statistics for claims in employment tribunals (ETs) for 2011/2012 have just been published.  The statistics show a 15% reduction in ET claims being presented and an increase in costs awards by ETs, where over 80% have been made against claimants. Despite this, the Government is intent on its employment law reform programme under the auspices of promoting growth – especially for small businesses.Marc Jones

The reforms are on the face of them one-sided and favour employers.  The first of wave of reforms came into force on 6 April 2012.  The right to claim unfair dismissal was increased from 1 year to 2 years (i.e. as it was before 1998), deposit orders (i.e. the price a claimant has to pay for continuing with claim that is judged on the papers to have little prospect of success) increased from £500 to £1,000 and costs orders (i.e. where a party has acted unreasonably in bringing or defending a claim) increased from £10,000 to £20,000.  These measures alone will provide some comfort for employers facing unreasonable and speculative claims, which was of great concern to the majority of employers.

What’s hot and what’s not

“No fault dismissals”
An idea by the Government to help micro-businesses (i.e. those with less than 10 employees) has been scrapped, which would have a put a bar on the right to claim unfair dismissal.  These were clearly open to abuse by unscrupulous and/or clever employers and lawyers.  The proposal failed to consider the negative impact on businesses in that employees were more likely to job hop to a company that provided job security and further failed to take account that some employees would be seeking higher salaries, sign-on bonuses and contractual severance payments to work for a micro-business.

Settlement agreements
According to the Government, these are the way forward for ending the employment relationship.  Such agreements will be a standardised short-form compromise agreement – so nothing new there apart from the text!  However, as with existing compromise agreements employees must take legal advice on the terms of a settlement agreement for it to be binding.  In reality this may well simply amount to nothing else but a change in name with the standard clauses you would expect to find in most compromise agreements revised in parts.  However, unlike compromise agreements that can be used for a multitude of sins, settlement agreements provide a “cloak of protection” for employers in unfair dismissal claims and will be inadmissible.

Like compromise agreements, settlement agreements will cover other matters and not limited to the ending of the employment relationship.  However, if a settlement agreement is issued to compromise an internal complaint of discrimination but is rejected by the employee then the protection would not bite.

Thankfully, the Government is proposing a statutory code of practice (from Acas) covering the use of settlement agreements, draft letters and template agreements.

Protected conversations
The idea of the protected conversation is that employers can talk to their employees about ending the employment relationship and severance packages without having to worry about those conversations being referred to in a subsequent unfair dismissal claim, if those discussions broke down.

According to the Government’s consultation document ‘Ending the employment relationship’ the possible pros for such communications in the workplace appear to be far outweighed by the cons.  Therefore, it appears unlikely that these will materialise.

When everything goes pear-shaped

Automatic referral to Acas
Before ETs will deal with a claim, it will automatically be referred to Acas to try and facilitate a settlement.  There has been scaremongering that this will mean that Acas will need further resources to cope with this.  However, all ET claims are currently referred to Acas to conciliate with a view to reaching settlement.  The only difference is that until there has been pro-active steps taken by Acas to settle the claim, ETs will not deal with them.  This appears to be similar to the much maligned Statutory Dispute Resolution Procedures, where hurdles were placed in front of claimants to comply with procedural stages before ETs had jurisdiction to determine claims.  This led to considerable satellite litigation at much cost and confusion and contributed to their demise.  As always the “devil will be in the detail” on what steps the parties will actually have to do comply with their pre-claim obligations before ETs will allow claims to proceed.

As part of the Government’s consultation document ‘Ending the employment relationship’ and Acas has welcomed the opportunity to draft the code of practice.

Cap on compensation
The Government is proposing a cap of a year’s salary on compensation.  It intends to abolish the current cap of £72,300 for a compensatory award, which is linked to the cap on a week’s wages currently £430 calculated for basic awards to the lower figure of the national median average earnings (currently £25,882) or an employee’s annual net salary.  However, the Government has not provided any firm details on this and it could be between 1 and 3 times the median average earnings.

The compensation for discrimination claims will remain uncapped and therefore, some claimants will still try and link dismissal with discrimination to overcome the unfair dismissal cap.

This proposal also forms part of the Government’s consultation document ‘Ending the employment relationship’ and therefore, may fall by the wayside after the consultation period has ended.

What is probably the most contentious of all of the employment law reforms is the introduction of fees from commencement to the conclusion of a claim.  The proposed fee structure will have two levels:
  • Level 1 claims – generally for sums due on termination of employment eg unpaid wages, payment in lieu of notice, redundancy payments, where the issue fee will be £160 and the hearing fee £230.
  • Level 2 claims – include those relating to unfair dismissal, discrimination complaints, equal pay claims and claims arising under the Public Information Disclosure Act, where the issue fee will be £250 and the hearing fee £950.
There will also be fees for a review of default judgment fee, an application to dismiss following settlement, issuing a counter-claim, an application for a review of a decision and judicial mediation.

ETs were originally designed for litigants in person and have been free since their inception in 1967.  The introduction of fees, which are due to come into force in Autumn 2013, will completely change the face of employment law and is bound to reduce claims as claimants will be concerned about paying the fees.  It is also likely to place an obstacle to settlement as employers may simply disengage with any settlement discussions until the hearing fee has been paid – hoping that the claimant will simply withdraw a claim rather than pay the fee.

The Government has stated that certain claimants on low-incomes will qualify for remission and only those that can afford to pay will be affected.  But as of yet there are no guidelines on what levels of income will qualify for remission.

The Government’s reforms will undoubtedly be welcome by all employers, as any measure that makes it harder to, or hinders a claim, will allow employers to focus on their business rather than having to keep one eye on their employees in case they bring a claim.
Marc Jones joined Turbervilles as an employment partner in June 2004. He has specialised in employment law and human resources, in particular litigation since 1994. He qualified as a barrister before transferring to become a solicitor in 1998.

[email protected], 0800 085 1705,

Turbervilles Solicitors is a leading law firm in the South East of England with offices in Uxbridge, Chorleywood, Hillingdon, High Wycombe and Maidenhead that specialise in HR and employment law.



Staff training crucial for SME recovery post-COVID



Staff training crucial for SME recovery post-COVID 1
  • 47% of UK’s top performing SMEs provide regular, formalised training for all staff
  • Despite this, 15% of small businesses report to never training staff
  • New findings come as part of an independent, holistic study into small business success, commissioned by Allica Bank to support British businesses

A new study, commissioned by business bank, Allica Bank, shows that the practice of regular training correlates strongly with high performance in SMEs and will be vital to businesses’ prospects of a swift recovery post-COVID. The study analysed data from over 1,000 companies and ranked their success on a scale that evaluated factors including productivity, growth, consistency and outlook.

Post-pandemic, many businesses will be focussing on day-to-day survival; it might be easy to forget long-term planning, of which staff training is a key component. Allica Bank’s findings indicate that small businesses should incorporate training programmes into their recovery strategy to ensure long-term viability. Training will improve morale, retention and boost the company’s credibility.

The study showed that routine staff training is a common characteristic among the most successful SMEs. 47% of the 100 highest scorers on the SME Performance Index provided training for employees at least on a quarterly basis. However, nearly half of all small businesses (46%) only provide training once a year or less, inadvertently hindering their growth and success prospects.

Frequency of training also differed across sectors. 34% of legal businesses provide training for staff once a month compared to just 6% in the hospitality and leisure sector. Whilst there will always be sector-specific disparities, firms in all industries can benefit from boosting and improving their training programmes.

Chris Weller, Chief Commercial Officer, Allica Bank, said:

With so many concerns and barriers for small businesses to navigate in the immediate term, it can be difficult for managers to focus on the training and development of their teams. However, if COVID has taught us anything, it is that adaptability and resilience are invaluable.

“The provision of regular training not only builds these characteristics into teams but serves to maintain a sense of value and togetherness that will boost morale, aide retention and improve performance – all of which contribute to the ongoing success of a business.”

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to training, but it’s vital for business longevity that staff are supported with a formalised programme of some description. Customers will respond well to a company whose employees demonstrate enthusiasm and competence. Employees also need to feel that their skills are constantly being improved and expanding. These skills will contribute to the success of a company and this will feed through to the bottom line.”

Allica Bank’s SME Guide to Success identified six ‘rules to success’ that were more likely to be displayed by top-performing SMEs compared to their counterparts. The full report contains a wealth of additional data and insight into each of these topics.

As part of its mission to empower small businesses, Allica Bank is making the findings freely available and running a series of free online workshops with relevant partner organisations for businesses to attend.

Aliya Vigor-Robertson, CEO, JourneyHR, the expert partner for Allica Bank’s training workshop, adds:

Staff need direction and the knowledge that they are advancing in their career to stay motivated and engaged at work. An unmotivated, disengaged team is no recipe for long-term success and will ultimately hamper a business. Team members that lack tangible support from above are less likely to identify with their role and its duties, which is a completely natural reaction.

“Regular staff training is a key component of tangible support and will make the team feel secure in their career development. A happy team with purpose and direction will contribute to a thriving business”

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What Is Globalization



What Is Globalization 2

What is globalization? Globalization, or inter-connectedness, is the ever-growing process of integration and interaction among countries, individuals, businesses, and even governments all over the world. Globalization has rapidly accelerated in recent years because of advances in communication and transportation technology. This allows us to be able to get from one country to another quickly and easily. This also allows us to communicate freely use the Internet to connect with our friends and families around the world.

So what is globalization and why is it important? Globalization will benefit many people around the world who are looking to travel more freely, save money on their monthly expenditure, be able to meet new friends and relatives from different parts of the world, learn more about a new culture, and take part in trade and commerce.

Globalization will benefit all of us because there will be more opportunities for everyone to participate in global markets. People in different countries have access to resources, information, and products they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford. There are also many opportunities for people to work at home.

Globalization is not just an economic boon, but it can also benefit all of us in other ways. As globalization continues, the boundaries between individuals, states, and countries will become less porous. There will be fewer political conflicts in the world, less violence, and a greater sense of cooperation, tolerance, and peace. These are all positive impacts of globalization.

However, globalization has also created some negative effects as well. It has caused people from one country to move to another to take advantage of globalization. This is also leading to some negative consequences such as a reduction of jobs in some countries. The effects of globalization also include increased competition and unemployment in many countries. Due to this decrease in jobs, wages are dropping.

The only way we can stop globalization is to make sure that we know what it is and what its benefits are. We must understand globalization and its impact on our lives and make sure we are ready to accept the changes that it may bring. if it is inevitable in the future.

The key is to be educated about globalization. There are plenty of books, websites, and television shows that explain how globalization is impacting us and the rest of the world. Globalization is not always bad, but we must be careful not to lose sight of its positives.

In the end, globalization is here to stay, so we must learn to live with it and embrace its benefits. We cannot fight it and try to fight it off, but we must learn to deal with it. And we can do that by educating ourselves. Globalization is here to stay for the long term but we must learn to adapt to it and learn how to live with it.

Globalization can be beneficial for all of us, but it has also caused many problems in the past. There were many cases of unfair trade practices and there was the rise of unfair labor practices. Some people argue that globalization has also reduced the pay of most Americans. So while globalization is definitely not all bad, we should understand that the benefits of globalization are not unlimited. and that we must be willing to give it some limitations and accept some sacrifices.

The biggest benefit of globalization is the ability for all of us to communicate with each other easily. The ability to connect with other people across borders makes it possible to share ideas, information, and knowledge. Since we can communicate with each other, the chances of getting a good price for our goods or services goes up dramatically. and it also allows us to save money by buying in bulk. This also translates to more savings on our end.

As mentioned earlier, globalization has brought about a change in the way people work and live because people are no longer tied down by jobs. They now have the freedom to travel and do what they enjoy.

As globalization continues, there will always be some people who are unhappy with globalization and are afraid to open their eyes to new opportunities that are available to them. But that is okay; this is part of the process of globalization.

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What Is Microsoft Teams



What Is Microsoft Teams 3

Microsoft Teams is an application and web-based collaboration tool that combines chat, videos, online collaboration, document storage, and collaboration with other applications. The service integrates well with the Microsoft Office 365 business solution and features numerous extensions that can integrate well with other non-Microsoft products, like SharePoint. There are many different versions of Microsoft Teams but here are some of the basic functions that all versions offer.

Teams also offers a variety of options for people to create and customize their own groups. This feature provides a way for people to organize their teams within Microsoft Teams. For example, there may be teams for business projects and then another group for personal tasks or social tasks. There are also different types of teams which include teams for social, personal and business.

Microsoft Teams allows users to make lists of files and documents and view them from different perspectives such as in the document viewer or from another Microsoft Teams project. This feature is called “project pane”, and it shows a summary of each of the files in the project. There are also sections for all files in the project that you can see in the “Files” pane.

Microsoft Teams gives users the ability to share information and collaborate on these shared items. A user can create a document that has other people add comments or attach files and then save the document to a list so that other people can view the document in a Microsoft Teams document viewer.

Another feature of Teams is the ability for you to invite other team members to work with you. A user can join a team and then invite other team members to collaborate with the team members who join the team. You can also invite team members to join a new team. When a team member joins a new team, they will be automatically added to your existing teams and the teams will merge together.

Microsoft Teams provides a number of different ways for you to collaborate with others and see the files and documents of others. These include groups and threads in the main document viewer. You can search your files using the search box in the document viewer and you can share your documents with others by email.

Microsoft Teams provides users with a variety of different tools to help you organize and manage your teams. You can assign members to specific teams, assign permissions to members, create custom groups, organize tasks and events, and organize files and documents into groups.

Microsoft Teams can help you build a team and create a collaboration culture that you want to create at your organization. You can use this tool to build effective teams and increase productivity and improve your relationships within the organization. Microsoft Teams offers a variety of options to help you get started and become more productive quickly and easily.

Teams are created easily. If you have several departments within your organization and need to create a team for each department you can do this easily. Teams are made easy and you can get your teams up and running quickly.

One of the best features of Microsoft Teams is the ability to invite people from around the world and let them work with the same documents and projects. You can have the documents and projects organized and shared in the same way throughout the entire organization, regardless of what country they were created in. You can create a similar project in the same language that they were created in and share it with other employees in the organization.

One of the most amazing features of Microsoft Teams is the ability to have multiple team members edit and view the documents and files in the same way. With Microsoft Teams you can have a document and have people edit the same document at the same time without any problems. The changes that you make can also be seen by other team members and can be modified by them without ever needing to send the document again.

Microsoft Teams is the perfect tool for building a powerful and effective collaboration culture. You can share documents and files in the same way that the rest of the organization can view the information.

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