In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock. -Orson Welles.
The government has this week launched a consultation setting out its proposals for the delivery of its policy to exempt newly built commercial properties from empty rates for a limited period of time.The Chancellor announced in his Autumn Statement on 5 December 2012 that, subject to a consultation, the government will exempt all newly built commercial property completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016from empty property rates for the first 18 months following construction, up to the state aids limits. The proposal applies to England only.The exemption is intended to encourage speculative development.The property industry is likely to call for a longer exemption period to help meet that aim.The policy is also only likely to have the desired effect on smaller developments - bigger factors come into play on larger schemes (confidence in the market, availability of finance, macro economics etc).The government has confirmed in the consultation it has no intention of changing the empty rates rules on other properties.Buildings with a rateable value below £2,600 remain exempt until they become occupied again, but buildings with a rateable value above this amount are liable for full rates after an exemption period has passed. Owners of empty commercial properties[…]
Hiring your first employee is a milestone for your business. Taking on the role of being someone’s boss entails certain legal responsibilities but with a bit of planning and research you can make it a smooth and painless transition. You need to make yourself aware of your legal responsibilities as an employer and understand a bit about things such as anti-discrimination and PAYE. But fear not - there’s plenty of information freely available from government agencies and websites specialising in employment law and legal documents. We've compiled a list of tips to get you started:RecruitingThe Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to treat someone less favourably or discriminate directly or indirectly against someone in recruitment or employment on a range of “protected characteristics” which include: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion, sexual orientation, marriage/civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity. There are exceptions and in such cases you must be able to objectively justify the requirement.When advertising a job you cannot advertise, for example, for someone of a particular age or say that the job is ‘unsuitable for disabled people’. When recruiting, avoid asking for personal details such as marital status or child care arrangements which could allow discrimination (or make the[…]
The Working Time Regulations (WTR) are to be amended to update them in light of case law (such as Pereda and Stringer) which as established that workers unable to take their annual leave because of sickness etc. in the current year must be able to carry it forward into the following leave year. These unexpected proposals appear in Consultation on Modern Workplaces. It’s expected that the amendments will come into force in 2012.It is proposed that:where someone has been on sick leave, employers will be able to limit the ability to carry over annual leave to the 4 weeks required under the Working Time Directive (i.e. excluding the additional 1.6 weeks given by the WTR and any further contractual leave), and employers will be able to insist that leave untaken due to sickness absence must be taken in the current leave year, where possible, rather than being carried forward. Employers may also defer that leave until the following year when this can be justified in terms of business need. The government is also asking for views on increasing flexibility for employers around the operation of statutory annual leave. Employers could, for instance, be allowed to ‘buy out’ the additional 1.6[…]