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
    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.
    20 March 2017
    CMS ad­vises Pat­ron Cap­it­al on sale of Gen­er­at­or Hos­tels
    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.
    Court of Ap­peal cla­ri­fies what “in the pub­lic in­terest” means in Chester­ton...
    The Court of Ap­peal  has con­firmed that a dis­clos­ure, made by a whistle-blower about ac­tions by his em­ploy­er af­fect­ing 100 of his seni­or man­ager col­leagues, amoun­ted to a dis­clos­ure made “in the pub­lic in­terest” (Chester­ton Glob­al Ltd & an­oth­er v Nur­mo­hamed.
    Pen­sions Om­buds­man Up­date - Ju­ly 2017
    Wel­come to the latest quarterly Pen­sions Om­buds­man Up­date from the CMS Pen­sions Team. The Pen­sions Om­buds­man re­solves hun­dreds of cases every year which are not only im­port­ant for the parties con­cerned but in­flu­ence wider in­dustry prac­tice.
    Su­preme Court strikes down re­stric­tions on pen­sion rights of civil...
    The Su­preme Court has handed down an im­port­ant de­cision in Walk­er v In­no­spec Lim­ited, a case about dis­crim­in­a­tion on grounds of sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion and wheth­er it is per­miss­ible, in some cir­cum­stances, to provide lower pen­sion be­ne­fits to civil part­ners and.
    “Good Work” – The Taylor Re­view of Mod­ern Work­ing Prac­tices
    The Taylor Re­view of Mod­ern Work­ing Prac­tices (the “Re­view”) pub­lished its wide-ran­ging re­port yes­ter­day. Of cent­ral im­port­ance to em­ploy­ers are the re­com­mend­a­tions to re­place the cur­rent leg­al defin­i­tions of “work­er” with a re­vised clas­si­fic­a­tion of “de­pend­ent.
    Hol­i­day work­ing
    With the sum­mer hol­i­days com­ing up fast, em­ploy­ers may be think­ing about of­fer­ing work ex­per­i­ence or in­tern­ships to stu­dents, tak­ing on tem­por­ary work­ers as hol­i­day cov­er or bring­ing in some ex­tra staff to provide sup­port dur­ing a busier peri­od.
    CP17/18 and In­vest­ment Trust gov­ernance - coals to New­castle?
    On 28 June 2017, the FCA pub­lished its long an­ti­cip­ated Fi­nal Re­port (the “Fi­nal Re­port”) on the As­set Man­age­ment Mar­ket Study (the “Mar­ket Study”). The Fi­nal Re­port fol­lows on from the in­ter­im re­port pub­lished in Novem­ber 2016 and sets out the FCA’s fi­nal.
    Pen­sions Clar­ity Guide: DC Gov­ernance – June 2017
    The gov­ernance re­quire­ments for pen­sion schemes provid­ing money pur­chase (DC) be­ne­fits have in­creased sig­ni­fic­antly in re­cent years. Some of the re­quire­ments ap­ply only to ar­range­ments used to com­ply with auto-en­rol­ment re­quire­ments whilst oth­ers have a wider.
    En­hanced shared par­ent­al pay
    Two re­cent em­ploy­ment tribunal cases have reached dif­fer­ent con­clu­sions on wheth­er the fail­ure to pay fath­ers an en­hanced rate dur­ing a peri­od of shared par­ent­al leave (SPL)  amoun­ted to dis­crim­in­a­tion, in cir­cum­stances where moth­ers tak­ing ma­ter­nity leave.
    Fatal Ac­ci­dent In­quir­ies: A new Act
    Changes mod­ern­ising the sys­tem of Fatal Ac­ci­dent In­quir­ies (“FAIs”) come in­to force in Scot­land this week. In­quir­ies in­to Fatal Ac­ci­dent and Sud­den Deaths etc. (Scot­land) Act 2016 The In­quir­ies in­to Fatal Ac­ci­dents and Sud­den Deaths etc.
    Em­ploy­ment tribunal fees chal­lenge – Su­preme Court’s judg­ment awaited
    R (UNI­SON) v Lord Chan­cel­lor Since 29 Ju­ly 2013, fees have been pay­able by a claimant or ap­pel­lant bring­ing a claim in the em­ploy­ment tribunal or an ap­peal in the Em­ploy­ment Ap­peal Tribunal (“EAT”) un­less they are en­titled to a re­mis­sion on ac­count of lim­ited.