What are the financial rights of unmarried couples?
As the law stands, the financial rights of unmarried couples are limited. It is a myth that somebody can become a common law spouse if they have lived together for a number of years. If a couple is not married, there is no entitlement to maintenance (income on an ongoing basis) or to a share of the other’s assets no matter how long they have been together for. A person who has enjoyed a particular lifestyle, living in their partner’s house and with their partner meeting the day to day living costs may find themselves in a difficult financial position on separation as the financially stronger party is not obliged to provide housing nor to continue meeting living expenses.
That said, there are two indirect options to consider.
If there are children, they may be able to claim child maintenance from their partner and depending upon circumstances, they may be able to obtain an order to be provided with accommodation for them and their child until the child turns 18. However the house is normally returned to the party who has provided it once the child turns 18.
Another option to consider is whether you have or have acquired an interest in property belonging to a partner due to agreements reached and the way you have conducted your finances. This however can be a complicated area of law which is very fact specific and requires specialist legal advice.
The key factors for determining status for employment and tax purposes are generally the same. However there are some cases that highlight the different approaches taken by employment tribunals and HMRC when determining status. The important thing to consider for IR35 purposes is that being deemed employed for tax purposes does not mean a contractor is ’employed’. PSC’s can still be used in moving forward but there are likely to be discussions on the commercial aspects of the contractor arrangement. Employment status for tax purposes is likely to come at a cost for both parties.
Yes, if there is a contractual right to do so. Furloughed employees who start work with another employer during this time must inform HMRC that they have another job.
A licence to occupy premises is not an interest land and operates as a commercial contract between the parties that enter into it. Licences tend to be put in place to cover short periods and consequently they are generally a lot more flexible than commercial leasing arrangements. To that extent occupants under licences should review the contract to establish whether or not there are any provision allowing them to terminate on notice to the Licensor.
Occupants under licences that are granted for longer periods without the option to terminate may try to argue that the contract has frustrated because they are effectively unable to occupy.
Potentially. The first question is why the person is not able to return, as their individual circumstances will be very relevant in terms of whether they can be safely dismissed.
Employers should ask themselves 2 questions in this situation:
- Have I done everything I am required to do in order to make the workplace safe for the individual to return; and
- Is what the employee saying reasonable?
If the answer to question 1. is no then a dismissal is unlikely to be fair. However, even if the answer to question 1. is yes, then there is still question 2. to address. If the employee has reasonable grounds as to why they are unable to return to work, e.g. due to health issues, childcare responsibilities etc then the dismissal is unlikely to be fair. It is only if you can answer yes to question 1. and no to question 2. that you can have some confidence in the potential safety of the dismissal.
Dismissals based on objections to returning to work on health and safety grounds will very often be risky and are highly fact specific, therefore please contact one of the employment team for further advice prior to dismissal.
There has been a significant amount of press coverage talking about institutional racism within the NHS not only in terms of the treatment of patients but also in terms of the low representation of ethnic minority staff in management positions. Whilst tackling that issue is beyond the brief here, it is important to recognise that sub conscious bias can, regrettably, play a part in decision making processes. An Employment Tribunal will explore a alleged discriminator’s conscious and sub conscious decision making and working in an environment which has not set out sufficient controls to avoid such sub conscious stereotyping places someone at a greater risk of being discriminated against.
In the context of the issues we are addressing here, i.e. risk assessments around BAME staff, as we have stated above, it is essential that BAME staff are represented at all levels in the discussion. Trusts need to be mindful that BAME are underrepresented in management positions.
BAME staff need to be included in the dialogue and need to have a safe place where they can challenge decisions that are being made in relation to them. There needs to be accountability in the processes applied. Meaningful conversations need to happen and concerns should not be dismissed.