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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."

ESG disputes pose one of the top risks to organizations in the coming year, particularly the increasing concern of governance disputes. Join Baker McKenzie’s global team on 31 January 2023 as they discuss key risks to your organization as well as how to manage these and adapt to changing demands.

Looking to the year ahead, Baker McKenzie commissioned a survey of 600 senior lawyers across the globe and uncovered that corporations expect more disputes this year, driven by economic uncertainty, global trade shifts and altered business models. Disputes around cybersecurity/data and ESG rank as emerging risk areas, while tax and employment disputes remain a constant consideration for organizations. To help stay abreast of emerging challenges and prepare to navigate the changing disputes landscape, join our experts across the globe in a series of webinars as they unpack findings from our latest report, The Year Ahead: Global Disputes Forecast 2023, and uncover a practical, actionable way forward.

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.