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Stephen C.M. Ratcliffe

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Stephen Ratcliffe is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Employment and Benefits practice in London. He has more than 14 years of legal experience and was recognized as an "Associate to Watch" by Chambers & Partners in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before his promotion to partnership. Stephen has been described as "very precise, technically excellent, but also very practical."

The UK’s political upheaval and fiscal policy changes are much-publicized. But where do we stand on recently proposed changes to employment law as Rishi Sunak starts his premiership? One of the Truss government’s tax proposals – repealing IR35 changes – might have had a significant effect on contractor workforce planning. However, this was abandoned and the current IR35 rules will remain. Conversely, for the time being, the government is pursuing its plans to limit the disruption caused by strike action in the transport sector. Similarly, the removal of the cap on bankers’ bonuses is still on the agenda. Also on the horizon is the potentially ground-changing proposal to scrap all retained EU law, which in theory could include TUPE.

The government has announced its Growth Plan 2022. The key employment-related aspects are: the repeal of IR35 reforms introduced in 2017 and 2021; the removal of the bankers’ bonus cap; requirements for trade unions to put pay offers to a member vote and to maintain minimum service levels during strike action; reductions to income tax rates; an increase to the company share option plan limits. The government also reconfirmed plans to reverse a rise in National Insurance contributions and to scrap a planned health and social care levy.

The Baker McKenzie London Employment team is delighted to welcome you back to our virtual mini-series, “Employment Rights: is 2022 the year of enforcement?”, with episode four, which is part two of our holiday pay focus during which we’ve explored key considerations for employers who are managing the thorny issue of holiday pay. This episode builds on that discussion with analysis of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Harpur Trust v Brazel case, which is likely to require many employers to change the way they calculate holiday pay for atypical workers such as casual, bank and zero hours staff (amongst others).

With increased regulatory scrutiny and the emergence of employee activism, companies have experienced an elevated risk of trade secret disclosure from current or former employees acting as putative whistleblowers. In this episode, Aaron Goodman (Partner, Los Angeles) discussed key factors companies should consider in balancing their trade secret interests against the protections afforded to whistleblowers, with a focus on recent whistleblower laws across the globe.

In our four-part Navigating the World webinar series, US moderators welcomed colleagues from around the globe to share the latest labor and employment law updates and trends impacting US-based multinational employers with business operations in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific, including:
• the impact of the current social and political climate on multinational employers
• New significant legislative developments
• Inclusion and diversity (I&D) advancements and trends
• Best practices for a flexible workforce, addressing remote and hybrid work

In an article published for ELA briefing, Stephen Ratcliffe discusses the implications of two IR35 appeals: Kickabout House and Atholl House, with Chris Stone from Devereux Chambers. Of particular interest to employment practitioners is what they say about the determination of employment status generally, and what may be a material difference in the way in which employment misclassification issues should be approached as regards employment rights versus tax rights.

In two recent cases, the Court of Appeal has provided some guidance on the test to determine if someone is an employee for tax purposes. In doing so, it considered and, in some key respects, distinguished the approach taken when determining whether someone is an employee or worker for the purposes of employment rights. The result may well be a different answer when determining status for tax purposes from the answer for the purposes of employment rights.

Today’s remote working environment can lead to unexpected complications when employers seek to prevent the disclosure of trade secrets or enforce restrictive covenants. Stephen Ratcliffe (Partner, London) outlines some of the key trade secrets issues that arise in remote working scenarios and provides practical tips for avoiding common pitfalls.

The Baker McKenzie London Employment team is delighted to welcome you back to our virtual mini-series, “Employment Rights: is 2022 the year of enforcement?”, with episode three, where we turn our attention to National Minimum Wage, a topic that has the potential to be quite tricky to navigate for employers and one where we have already seen significant enforcement activity by HMRC over the past few years. In this episode, Stephen Ratcliffe and Oliver Moreton cover some of the key issues that employers need to consider, including the different types of work under the legislation, what counts as working time, the payments that count towards minimum wage, and the deductions that reduce pay for the purposes of minimum wage calculations.