Richard Porter, a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and a Legal 500 Recommended Lawyer, leads the Employment Law team at Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP). The team provides a broad spectrum of legal advice and guidance on all aspects of Employment law, from contracts of employment and disciplinary procedures to tribunals, redundancy and severance.

Richard, who works closely with fellow Employment solicitors Sam Welham and Adina Milleare for both employers and employees, says “Employment law is a really fascinating area of the law – it is relevant to virtually everyone – most people either are or have been employers or employees. It is also an area of the law that is constantly evolving, both through new legislation and through case law, and there have been some significant developments in Employment law during 2015 that everyone should be aware of.”

These include:

  • Auto enrolment pensions are now with us and all employers with between 1-50 employees will have their staging dates between 1st June 2015 and 1st April 2017. Until 30th September 2017 2% of the employee’s qualifying earnings (£5,824 – £42,385) must be paid into each employee’s pension fund, of which 1% comes from the employer and the remainder from the employee and tax relief. Between October 2017 and September 2018 the percentage increases to  5%, of which 2% comes from the employer and the remainder from the employee and tax relief, and from 1st October 2018 it is 8%, of which 3% comes from the employer and the remainder from the employee and tax relief.
  • Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) became available to all couples who share responsibility for a child born or adopted after 5th April 2015. Most couples will be able to share up to 50 weeks SPL and 39 weeks ShPP by curtailing their maternity leave, maternity pay or maternity allowance and giving their employer 8 weeks notice of their entitlement and intention to take SPL and ShPP. SPL can be taken by one partner whilst his or her partner takes other forms of leave. If one partner is self employed the other partner can take the full 50 weeks. SPL and ShPP is taken in blocks of complete weeks and the leave can run continuously or discontinuously.
  • When an employee is on holiday he or she is entitled to receive their normal weekly remuneration during their holiday, which includes any commission they would normally earn during the week,both guaranteed (obligatory) and non-guaranteed overtime, and in many cases voluntary overtime. Where employees have not received full pay during their holidays they can claim the balance as an unlawful deduction from earnings. There is a 3 month time limit, but where there has been a series of deductions (within at least 3 months of each other) the claim can go back for a maximum of 2 years.
  • There is a new, free, “Fit for Work” occupational health service which will help prepare return to work plans for those who have been off work for 4 weeks.
  • Clauses in zero hours contracts which prevent workers from working for another employer are now unenforceable.
  • The penalty for failing to pay National Minimum Wage has been increased to a maximum of £20,000 per employee and the naming and shaming of offenders introduced.

Every employer encounters employee-related issues from time to time. These may relate to any number of problems including poor performance, poor health, disability, harassment, reasonable adjustments, misconduct, holidays, working time, business re-organisation, redundancy, variation of terms – the potential issues are many.

The TSP Employment team firmly believe that prevention is better than cure and the TSP Retainer Agreement is designed specifically to prevent difficulties occurring. To find out more about how the TSP Retainer Agreement can help your business or to contact Richard and the team call 01206 217027 or email