Employment & Pensions

United Kingdom

For your business to be successful, you must manage your employees and their benefits as well as your employee representatives such as works councils and unions. Employers with occupational pension schemes also need to work with scheme trustees to manage liabilities, risk and member expectations.

Employment and pension law in the UK is complex, and our team of award-winning employment and pensions specialists can help you navigate the maze of regulations, new law, policy documents, pension fund structures and other legal complexities you must contend with on a daily basis.

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    Employee Incentives

    CMS has the largest number of partners dedicated to employee share plans in a City law firm. With over forty years’ combined experience as partners in their field, our team also stands out for the range of work it does. We each advise FTSE100 and multinational companies on their share plans and the public company M&A work that goes with that, but also advise start-ups, particularly in the tech and life sciences sectors and other companies which are private equity owned. We will work together with you to maximise the opportunities to reward employees in as tax-effective a way as possible and deliver their rewards cost-effectively.

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    No business can be successful without effective management of its workforce. However, the handling of executive contracts, equal opportunities, restructurings and restrictive covenants within the framework of constantly evolving employment law is challenging. If your business crosses borders, you will be faced with additional legal hurdles.

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    Our award-winning pensions team is experienced in advising trustees and employers on all aspects of defined benefit and defined contribution pension schemes. We also have considerable experience advising on group pensions, self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs), insurance products (including buy-in and buy-out arrangements), longevity products and other structures. Unlike other pension law practices, we also work on litigation, as this enables us to brief clients in full on any potentially contentious issues and provides a balanced approach to our advice.

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    Workplace Mediation

    Conflict at work can be extremely time consuming and frustrating. It can also be expensive, particularly if it leads to absence and litigation. Many HR managers tell us that wish they could turn to an in-house mediation team and ask for help, but they don’t have the resources available.

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    Law-Now: Em­ploy­ment
    Vis­it Law-Now for leg­al know-how and com­ment­ary
    Law-Now: Pen­sions
    Vis­it Law-Now for leg­al know-how and com­ment­ary


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    CMS On your radar - June 2017
    Key em­ploy­ment is­sues across Europe and bey­ond
    The Gren­fell Tower Fire – Gov­ern­ment An­nounce­ments
    The im­ages of the burn­ing Gren­fell tower will re­main in the memory of people across the coun­try for some time to come. With the death toll still rising, and the iden­ti­fic­a­tion of bod­ies con­tinu­ing, the Gov­ern­ment is keen to be seen to be tak­ing ac­tion.
    20 March 2017
    CMS ad­vises Pat­ron Cap­it­al on sale of Gen­er­at­or Hos­tels
    De­tails of Flex­ible Work­force De­vel­op­ment Fund an­nounced
    The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has pub­lished plans for a Flex­ible Work­force De­vel­op­ment Fund (FWDF) to be made avail­able to or­gan­isa­tions in Scot­land who pay the ap­pren­tice­ship levy. Or­gan­isa­tions who do wish to ap­ply to the fund will be dealt with on a first come.
    Har­vard Study on Ar­ti­fi­cial Light Finds Breast Can­cer Link
    A large, long-term study from Har­vard T. H Chan School of Pub­lic Health, shows a strong cor­rel­a­tion between wo­men who live in areas with high levels of out­door light­ing at night and in­creased risk of breast can­cer.
    Man­u­fac­turer Fined £800,000 over In­jured Work­er
    A Durham sup­pli­er to the aerospace trade has been fined £800,000 when an em­ploy­ee sus­tained ser­i­ous leg in­jur­ies at the com­pany’s Llantris­ant, Pontycun fact­ory. The work­er fell in­to the path of an ad­van­cing work plat­form.
    HSE Out­lines New Pro­ced­ure to Chal­lenge FFI Bills
    The HSE has launched a new pro­ced­ure for chal­len­ging Fees for In­ter­ven­tion (“FFI”) bills after a con­sulta­tion by the reg­u­lat­or was broadly backed by re­spond­ents. The FFI scheme en­ables the HSE to charge for some health and safety en­force­ment activ­it­ies, whereby.
    CMS Clar­ity Guide No. 25: The Pen­sions Reg­u­lat­or’s Powers
    Wel­come to our twenty fifth Clar­ity Guide. The mor­al haz­ard powers of the Pen­sions Reg­u­lat­or (“tPR”) have re­ceived in­creased at­ten­tion from vari­ous parties re­cently, par­tic­u­larly in light of high pro­file cases such as BHS.
    Gov­ern­ment tar­gets board­room with em­ploy­ment re­form pro­pos­als
    The Con­ser­vat­ive party’s mani­festo for the May 2017 elec­tion in­cluded pledges to have ex­ec­ut­ive pay pack­ages ap­proved by an an­nu­al vote of share­hold­ers, re­quire­ments for com­pan­ies to pub­lish the ra­tio of ex­ec­ut­ive pay to broad­er work­force pay and en­sure em­ploy­ees’.
    Gov­ern­ment Cor­por­ate Gov­ernance Pro­pos­als – Ex­ec­ut­ive Re­mu­ner­a­tion...
    On 29th Au­gust 2017, the Gov­ern­ment pub­lished its pro­posed im­prove­ments to the cor­por­ate gov­ernance re­gime in the UK, fol­low­ing a con­sulta­tion pa­per is­sued in Novem­ber 2016. Over­all, the pro­pos­als it now in­tends to im­ple­ment - wheth­er on re­mu­ner­a­tion or oth­er­wise.
    Trust­ee Train­ing - 17 Oc­to­ber 2017
    Trust­ee train­ing is es­sen­tial for all oc­cu­pa­tion­al pen­sion scheme trust­ees and forms an im­port­ant part of help­ing trust­ees to com­ply with the trust­ee know­ledge and un­der­stand­ing re­quire­ments in the Pen­sions Act 2004.
    Fatal Ac­ci­dent In­quir­ies: A new Act
    Changes set to mod­ern­ise the sys­tem of Fatal Ac­ci­dent In­quir­ies (“FAIs”) have now come in­to force. The In­quir­ies in­to Fatal Ac­ci­dents and Sud­den Deaths etc. (Scot­land) Act 2016 came in­to force on Thursday, 15 June 2017.
    Fire Safety Con­sid­er­a­tions for Uni­versit­ies
    Fire safety is­sues are front of mind for own­ers of multi-oc­cu­pied res­id­en­tial build­ings fol­low­ing the Gren­fell Tower tragedy.   There is ob­vi­ously wide­spread shock that such an in­cid­ent could oc­cur, giv­en the UK’s highly reg­u­lated build­ing stand­ards re­gime.
    Trust­ee Know­ledge Up­date - Au­gust 2017
    Trust­ees of oc­cu­pa­tion­al pen­sion schemes have a stat­utory duty to en­sure that they have an ad­equate know­ledge and un­der­stand­ing of the leg­al is­sues rel­ev­ant to their scheme.   They must also en­sure that they are up to date with rel­ev­ant changes in the law, which.
    Vol­un­tary over­time pay may need to be in­cluded in the cal­cu­la­tion...
    In Dud­ley Met­ro­pol­it­an Bor­ough Coun­cil v Wil­letts, the Em­ploy­ment Ap­peal Tribunal (“EAT”) has provided some fur­ther clar­ity on the ex­tent to which pay­ments as­so­ci­ated with vol­un­tary over­time should be taken in­to ac­count when cal­cu­lat­ing hol­i­day pay.
    Pen­sion­able pay caps – BBC suc­cess in the Court of Ap­peal
    The Court of Ap­peal has found in fa­vour of the BBC in an ap­peal by Mr Brad­bury, a mem­ber of the BBC Pen­sion Scheme. The court has con­firmed that the BBC was en­titled to im­pose a 1% cap on pen­sion­able pay rises and that it had not breached its im­plied du­ties.
    Tribunal fees ab­ol­ished
    In a ground break­ing judg­ment the Su­preme Court in R (on the ap­plic­a­tion of Uni­son) v Lord Chan­cel­lor has ruled that tribunal fees are un­law­ful and should be quashed. In a costly de­cision for the gov­ern­ment, all pre­vi­ous fees that have been is­sued will now.
    Cor­por­ate of­fences of fail­ure to pre­vent the fa­cil­it­a­tion of tax eva­sion...
    On 12 Ju­ly 2017, The Crim­in­al Fin­ances Act 2017 (Com­mence­ment No. 1) Reg­u­la­tions 2017 (the “Reg­u­la­tions”) were laid be­fore Par­lia­ment, bring­ing in­to force the new cor­por­ate crim­in­al of­fences of fail­ure to pre­vent the fa­cil­it­a­tion of tax eva­sion with ef­fect.