Employment rights, do they apply to me? 

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The territorial scope of employment law is not as self-explanatory as it may seem. We’ve seen this recently with the P&O redundancies and seafarer employees. 

Employment rights can apply to workers who work wholly or partly outside the UK, but this depends on the legislation (the laws UK Parliament makes). The test applied to territorial scope of employment rights depends on: 

  1. The legislation that is being used and any case law (a judge’s application of that legislation to facts) that has provided insight on how it is defined/applied in practice’ and 
  2. Where the employment right concerned is from European Union laws or domestic laws. 

P&O and seafarers’ employment rights. 

We mentioned the territorial scope of employment rights previously. This area of law can be difficult in certain situations, such as where employees are primarily working outside of the territory of the United Kingdom. This includes seafarers that spent their working time at sea, either in international waters or those of other jurisdictions.

There have been many tests and principles developed by judges over the preceding decades on the scope of s196 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. This has subsequently been repealed and replaced by s32 of the Employment Relations Act 1999. 

The replacement s32 of the ERA 1999 made specific provisions on employment for “mariners” and provided amendment for the procedure for handing redundancies with trade unions, as well as the duty to notify the Secretary of State on certain redundancies. 

When does an employer need to notify the Secretary of State about redundancies? 

a) An employer never needs to notify the Secretary of State about redundancies

b) An employer needs to notify the Secretary of State at least 14 days before the first dismissal when making 20 or more redundancies.

c)  An employer needs to notify the Secretary of State at least 30 days before the first dismissal when making between 20 – 99 redundancies

d) An employer needs to notify the Secretary of State at least 45 days before the first dismissal when making over 100 redundancies. 

What is the procedure for handling redundancies with trade union employees? 

a) Inform and consult the trade union employees directly and on an individual basis

b) Arrange an election for employees to elect a representative who the employer then consults.

c) Inform and consult the recognised trade union in respect of affected employees.

d) There is no procedure.

What is compensation in replacement of trade union consultation on redundancies? 

a) Compensation is a ‘protective award’ that employees receive for a ‘protected period’ intended to punish the employer for non-compliance

b) Compensation is an award intended to put the employee in the position they would have been in had they not been made redundant

c) Compensation is intended to replace the wages employees receive during the ‘protected period’

d) Compensation is only a nominal amount intended to show the employers failure to consult trade unions on redundancies. 

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