HOW UNITED KINGDON LAWS AFFECT UNITED STATES EMPLOYERS
HOW UNITED KINGDON LAWS AFFECT UNITED STATES EMPLOYERS
The expansion of companies and businesses to other jurisdictions usually requires a lot of legal planning. This is because most of the laws are likely t be different. Albeit they have many similarities, the U.S. and U.K. legal systems are also different in many areas. Over the following subheadings, we shall explore how U.K. labor laws differ from American labor laws. Trade Unions, and Transfer of Business and Employment. Trade unions or labor unions, as they are called in the U.K., have been out of fashion for a while now, especially in the private sector. In different parts of the world, the reason for the establishment of trade unions was similar – the demand for more suitable working conditions. In the U.K., there are many laws regarding labor unions. These consultations involve meetings between employers and employees intending to agree on proposals put forward by management. The employees in this collective consultation, however, cannot overrule the proposal made by their employers. Therefore, this measure hardly empowers the employees. Nonetheless, there are situations where it is mandatory to notify employees before making decisions concerning them. One of such situations is the application of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). The TUPE exists to protect employees whose employment is being transferred. Some of the ways that this law does this are as follows: Employees are not dismissed.
Employees’ most important terms and conditions of contracts are not worsened.
Affected employees are informed and consulted through representatives before transfer.
The major reason for communicating the news about the transfer of business is to ensure that the employees can make decisions and prevent the other issues listed above. If there is a trade union, the union has to be notified. However, when there is no union, as is the case in most situations today, a representative of the employees is notified. Of course, there are consequences for not adhering to the TUPE. A very popular legal maxim, applicable in the U.K. and very popular in other parts of the world, “Ignorantia juris non excusat, ignorantia facti excusat,” posits that ignorance is not an excuse before the law. Hence, if you are the owner of a U.S. company that has just expanded to the U.K. and by some mishap, you are misinformed about this law, it is unlikely that your company will be spared. There is a financial consequence of up to 13-weeks of pay per employee in a TUPE case if an employer flouts the rules. In a case where an employer decides to fire 20 or more employees within 90 days, these terminations are known as collective redundancies. There have to be consultations for more than thirty days before the first termination in a collective redundancy-situation. Furthermore, when more than 100 employees are being fired, the number of consultation days before the first termination has to be 100 days. The consequences for flouting these U.K. laws can be penal; so, the effects are rather adverse. Furthermore, the financial consequences of flouting such rules are up to about 90 days of pay per affected employee. A special court known as an employment tribunal exists for treating cases that have to do with mass dismissals or terminations. Discrimination
Employees also have the right to not be discriminated against based on disability, gender reassignment, marriage, race, religion, beliefs, and more. These conditions are called protected characteristics. There are two major types of discrimination in the U.K.; direct and indirect discrimination. U.S. employers are likely to understand these concepts because they are very much like disparate treatment and disparate impact. U.K. law also posits that apart from protected characteristics, employees are also protected from discrimination based on their working status.
Remuneration Like the U.S., there is a national minimum wage in the U.K. The minimum wage for people who are 21 years old and above is approximately $10.50 per hour. Employers should note that the wage changes every October, depending on the inflation rate. Workers are entitled to sick pay of $145 per week, for up to 28 weeks. Again, this pay increases if there is inflation. Hence, there is a likelihood that as an employer, you would have to pay more in wages every year. Termination of Employment Employees’ employment cannot be terminated without prior notice unless they are being fired for gross misconduct. Also, employees with more than two years of service cannot be dismissed unfairly. Much of the law relating to termination of employment has to do with discrimination and following due process; much of which has been discussed above. The National Law Review has a podcast that explains Labor and Employment Law in the U.K. explicitly.
There are quite a few differences between the American and British legal systems, especially in the labor and employment sector. It is important to hire experienced lawyers with knowledge about the legal jurisdiction if you want to expand your firm.
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