n this update, we have focussed on the headline governance and regulatory issues that are facing RPs at this time. as we all deal with the Covid-19 crisis.
As employer pension contributions are not received directly by an employee but paid into a pension fund, it has been established practice to exclude such payments from the calculation of a week’s pay (for example when calculating statutory redundancy pay or holiday pay). However, in University of Sunderland v Drossou UKEAT/0341/16, the EAT has upheld the employment tribunal’s decision to include employer pension contributions in the calculation of a week’s pay.
In this case, Ms Drossou was dismissed by the University on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown in working relationships. The tribunal found that she had been unfairly dismissed and ordered compensation. When calculating Ms Drossou’s compensation, the tribunal found that a week’s pay should include employer pension contributions. Upon the University appealing the decision, the EAT agreed with the tribunal’s reasoning and confirmed that a week’s pay should include employer pension contributions.
This case alters a longstanding principle increasing the value of a statutory week’s pay under the Employment Rights Act 1996. A number of payments and remedies are based on the statutory week’s pay and, consequently, these will be increased. These include:
- Statutory redundancy payments;
- Holiday pay under the Working Time Regulations;
- Compensation under TUPE, the protective award made for failure by the employer to inform or consult; and
- Basic award and determining the upper limit on the compensatory award made for a successful unfair dismissal claim.
The implications of this decision will be of particular interest to employers who make large contributions under a defined benefit pension scheme. The average contribution to defined benefit pension schemes is 21.2% according to a 2015 ONS survey. A week’s pay for employees who participate in these schemes could, therefore, potentially, be over a fifth as much before this ruling.
There may be further litigation to challenge the validity of the EAT’s judgment but, in the meantime, employers should be aware of the adjustment to the calculations.
The law surrounding organ donation has changed. The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill came into effect on 20 May 2020 and has implemented an opt-out system for organ donation.
Commercial and local authority landlords could benefit from urgently reviewing their legal options.
The Cabinet Office has published guidance asking for people to act responsibly, fairly and “in the national interest”.
To help our charity clients look to the future, we summarise key guidance and updates over the last week.
On 18 May 2020, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) wrote to all social housing residents in England (residents).
For anyone who is currently restrained from holding their General Meeting or have held such in breach of their governing documents, help is on the way!
Social landlords may be surprised to learn that “landlords should be able to carry out routine as well as essential repairs for most households”.
Many housing providers are now re-thinking about gathering information to complete their data return to the Regulator of Social Housing, with the initial exercise having been delayed by Covid-19.
With many premises being left unoccupied (or minimally occupied) during the lockdown, both Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive have warned of the increased risks of Legionella.
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