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The Minister for Work and Pensions and Minister for Women has confirmed that the government is not currently planning to introduce menopause as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act or to implement dual discrimination. Instead, the government will consult the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and Acas, to assess whether improvements can be made to increase understanding of the law in this area.

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.

There have been three important changes to OFSI’s enforcement powers: for breaches of financial sanctions that are committed after 15 June 2022, OFSI will be able to impose civil monetary penalties on a strict civil liability basis; there will be greater flexibility on challenging OFSI’s decisions to issue monetary penalties for sanctions violations; and OFSI will now have the power to publicise details of financial sanctions breaches in cases where a breach has been found, but it has not imposed a monetary penalty. These changes are introduced by the SI 2022/638 – The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (Commencement No. 2 and Saving Provision) Regulations 2022.

The Regulator has responded to its September 2021 consultation on three draft policies relevant to how it will exercise its new anti-avoidance powers, which are intended to help protect defined benefit savings. The most recent policies follow on from the policy on the investigation and prosecution of the new criminal offences, which was published in September 2021 and provide further guidance on three specific areas: overlapping powers, the new GBP 1million civil penalty and information gathering. Separately, the Regulator has also issued a new consultation on two policies consolidating and updating certain existing policies on enforcement and prosecution.

The UK government has introduced a bill to help bring into force the UK-Australia and the UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreements (“FTAs“).

The bill is a key step in ratifying the FTAs but before they come into force, Parliament must scrutinise the FTAs, agree the bill and pass secondary legislation to make the changes required to the UK’s procurement regime to meet the terms of the FTAs.

The Takeover Panel has published a consultation paper (PCP 2022/2) setting out proposed changes to the definition of “acting on concert” in the Code. The changes, which are highly complex and technical in nature, are in part a codification of existing Panel practice. There are, however, are some important adjustments that, given the potentially significant consequences of being considered to be “acting in concert” (e.g. setting a floor price for an offer and/or triggering a mandatory bid obligation), it will be important for offer participants and their advisers to familiarise themselves with.

On 28 April 2022, the UK introduced The Export Control (Amendment) Order 2022, amending the Export Control Order 2008, which will come into force on 19 May 2022. An additional control on military end-use will apply; however there are no amendments to the underlying dual-use regulation and the existing end-use control will continue to apply separately.