• Does a business need to pay a Volunteer?


    Often employers are confused when someone comes to them for work experience and wonder if they need to pay the minimum wage. Here are some guidelines and examples on an exception which is called volunteering.

    Pay and expenses
    You are not paid for your time as a volunteer, but you may get money to cover expenses. This is usually limited to food, drink, travel or any equipment you need to buy.

    You may need to pay tax on your driving expenses if you get back more than you spent.

    You might be classed as an employee or worker rather than a volunteer if you get any other payment, reward or benefit in kind. This includes any promise of a contract or paid work in the future.

    You get certain employment rights if you’re classed as an employee or worker, like getting the minimum wage.

    Example 1

    Ellie volunteers at a company to get some work experience. She’s given travel expenses even though she walks to work. This is payment, rather than out-of-pocket expenses, so she must be paid at least the minimum wage.

    Example 2

    Dave volunteers for an organisation tending local parks. All volunteers get £3 a week for travel but Dave is responsible for a park close to his home, so he walks there. This means the £3 is a payment and not a reimbursement of expenses. It could count as a contract of employment meaning Dave could be eligible for the minimum wage.

    Example 3

    Joe is an unpaid intern at a record company, but he’s given free CDs as a perk. The CDs are ‘benefits in kind’. They mean he must be paid at least the minimum wage.

    Example 4

    Amanda is an unpaid intern at a design company. She’s been promised that she’ll be taken on as an employee after 3 months. This counts as a reward, so she must be paid at least the minimum wage for the whole time she spends at the company.

  • Website and email requirements for Companies

    As of 1st January 2007 UK companies and LLPs require the following information on their website and in their e-mails:

    • • The company name (this might differ from the trading name)
    • • The company registered office (which must be a geographical address not a PO Box)
    • • The company’s registration number and country of registration
    • • An e-mail address where the company can be contacted (requirement not necessarily for e-mails)
    • • If the company is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details, including any registration number (requirement not necessarily for e-mails)
    • • It is also advisable but not essential for the business to place its VAT number on the website and e-mails as well.
      Note – the information must be clear and easily accessible. However, for a website, it does not need to appear on every page; for example, the information can be included on an “about us” or “legal” page. For e-mails, the information can be contained in a footer.

    Contact us : to see how we can help your business be compliant with UK laws.

  • Advertising laws

    It is important to get your ad campaigns checked before they get published to prevent bad publicity should they get pulled up . The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) through its CAP and BCAP Codes regulates Adverts in the UK for print, online and broadcast media They expect all advertising online to be legal, decent, honest and truthful.  They also list traders who continue to make claims on their online sites that do not comply with the UK Advertising Code despite repeated requests for changes from their Compliance teams. Details of each non-conforming trader will remain in place until they have appropriately amended their marketing in line with the Advertising Code.

    For more information on how we can help prevent risk for your business and marketing strategy contact Reina D’costa at or visit us at to find out how we can help.

  • Employment law updates


    The Government has announced an increase to the compensation awards that can be made by the Employment Tribunals and to the statutory rates used to calculate certain employee payments.

    From 6 April 2014 the following increases will come into force:

    • week’s pay (used for calculating statutory redundancy payments and certain tribunal awards) will increase from £450 to £464.
    • The maximum compensatory award for a successful claim of unfair dismissal will rise from £72,000 to £76,574 (although since 29 July 2013 these awards are the lower of 52 weeks’ pay and the maximum compensatory award).
    • The maximum basic award for unfair dismissal/statutory redundancy pay therefore increases from £13,500 to £13,920.The minimum basic award will increase from £5,000 to £5,676.

    The above increases will only apply to events that give rise to compensation that occur on or after 6 April 2014.

    The following statutory rates have also increased in line with inflation:

    • Guarantee pay (used during periods of layoff and short-time working) will increase from £24.20 to £25 per day.
    • Sick pay will rise from £86.70 to £87.55.
    • Maternity, ordinary and additional paternity and adoption leave will rise from £136.78 to £138.18.

    For further information please contact Reina D’costa at

    Prevention is better than Cure!


  • Insolvency statistics UK 4th Quarter

    Alarming how many businesses can go under without proper risk strategy and regular monitoring of the business . Luckily the figures are coming down .

    The Insolvency Service today published the 4th Quarter 2013 Insolvency Statistics

    These can be found at:

    The headline results are as follows:

    There were 14,982 company liquidations in 2013 – a decrease of 7.3% compared with 2012 and the lowest level since 2007. Of these, 3,624 were compulsory liquidations (down 14.9% on 2012 and the lowest level since 1981), and 11,358 were creditors’ voluntary liquidations (down 4.5% on 2012 and the lowest level since 2010).
    The number of administrations, receiverships and company voluntary arrangements were all lower in 2013 than in 2012.
    There were 101,049 individual insolvencies in 2013 – a decrease of 7.9% on 2012 and the lowest level since 2005. Creditor petitions, debtor petitions and debt relief orders all decreased (by 18.8%, 23.9% and 11.7% respectively). The number of individual voluntary arrangements, however, increased by 4.9% compared with 2012, standing at 48,967 in total.

    To discuss how you can protect your business from risk of insolvency contact Reina Dcosta , BizLawUK  via,  check out our website , follow us on @bizlawuk and claim your free business risk audit.

  • Testimonials-Advertising Law

    Testimonials must relate to the product advertised and claims in a testimonial that are likely to be interpreted as factual must not mislead or be likely to mislead the consumer (Rules 3.46 and 3.47). Marketers may not use testimonials to circumvent the Code by making claims in a consumer review that they would not otherwise be permitted to make. For example, if a marketer doesn’t hold the evidence to substantiate an efficacy claim, they cannot use a testimonial which makes that claim.

    Testimonials alone do not constitute substantiation so marketers should not rely on testimonials as support for any direct or implied claims made in the marketing communication. Although it acknowledged that a testimonial which made implied claims that a topically applied gel could have similar effects to surgery might have been a genuinely held opinion, the ASA held it breached the Code because the marketer did not provide objective evidence to show the product was an effective alternative to surgery (Rodial Ltd, 11 January 2012). Customer survey responses which made positive comments about saving money on energy bills were not considered adequate substantiation for savings claims (Bright Networks Ltd t/a Bright Heating, 9 January 2013).

    The ASA upheld complaints against a testimonial which described a individual’s theory regarding “hexagonal water” because it considered consumers would interpret the claims as being in relation to a theory based on evidence, particularly because it appeared to be endorsed by a scientist (Water for Health Ltd, 3 July 2013).

    Marketers using a testimonial must hold evidence that it is genuine. This requirement has two elements; i.e. that the quote is from a real person and that it reflects what they said.

    Contact :Reina Dcosta at to find out more.

  • Business expansion assistance


    Business expansion services into the UK available for Client/potential client companies


    If you are supporting overseas companies who are expanding to the UK, or are working with overseas companies that have already established UK operations, you will know that their needs can be wide ranging and technical.

    Because of this,  BizlawUK , our practical legal consultancy service ( want to work together with you and them to support their journey through the following key stages.

    For specific help in setting up in the UK  or for help mapping your business ambitions to the UK please contact us  by email -Reina D’costa at reina@




  • Immigration updates for visit visas

    The Government intends for the changes to come into effect on 1 October 2013.

    Changes to Visit Visa Categories

    1. Expansion of the activities a business visitor may undertake in the UK

    The Statement sets out new permissible activities that business visitors may undertake in the UK including:

    (i) Internal auditors from global corporations may enter the UK as business visitors to undertake short internal audits; and
    (ii) Training that a business visitor may undertake is to be expanded to include corporate training for the purposes of the business visitor’s employment overseas. The training must be delivered by a UK company that is not part of the business visitor’s employer’s corporate group. Furthermore, the main activity of that UK company must not be the provision of training.

    Changes to Tier 1 of the Points-Based System

    Although closed in April 2011, the Tier 1 (General) category remains open for extension and settlement applications. The following changes are proposed to this category:

    1. Introduction of “genuine earnings” test to the Tier 1 (General) extension and settlement applications

    A “genuine earnings” test is being introduced in response to concerns that Tier 1 (General) is being abused by applicants submitting bogus claims of their earnings, particularly self-employed earnings. The new test gives caseworkers greater scope to test the evidence presented in cases where abuse is suspected.

    2. Enabling those who demonstrate exceptional promise in the arts to apply under Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

    The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category is designed for individuals who lead the world in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts, or show exceptional promise in the fields of science, humanities and engineering. Applicants in this category must be endorsed by a Designated Competent Body, and wish to work in the UK. The Arts Council will now also endorse applicants who show exceptional promise in the arts.

    Changes to Tier 2 of the Points-Based System

    The Statement of Changes proposes the implementation of changes to Tier 2 of the Points-Based System intended to improve flexibility for businesses and migrant employees. These include:

    1. Removal of the English language requirement for Tier 2 intra-company transferee migrants

    At present, any Tier 2 (ICT) migrant who wishes to extend his or her stay in the UK beyond three years must demonstrate an English language ability that is at least the equivalent of level A1 on the Common European Framework of Reference. As the Tier 2 (ICT) route no longer leads to settlement in the UK, the need for integration is less relevant and therefore, in response to representations from businesses in the UK, the English language requirement for applicants in the Tier 2 (ICT) category extending their stay in the UK beyond three years is to be removed.

    2. Removal of share ownership restrictions for senior staff within the Tier 2 (General) immigration category

    A deregulatory change will introduce a waiver of the prohibition that Tier 2 (General) migrants must not own more than 10% shares in the Sponsor’s business. The waiver of this rule will apply only to applicants on a salary of £152,100 pa or more.

    Changes to the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

    Currently, the countries and territories participating in the Tier 5 Youth Mobility scheme are Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. The Statement of Changes proposes that Hong Kong be added to the list of participating countries and territories.

    The Statement of Changes also sets out the annual allocation of places for 2014. There is to be an increase of allocations for Australia from 35,000 to 38,500 places, as Australia attracted a higher number of British youth under its reciprocal scheme in 2012 than in the previous year.

    Contact to see how we can assist with immigration law.

  • A case study

    An employee at a business had a grievance with the manager. His issues were not taken up seriously and when the time came to terminate his service he easily brought a claim for unfair dismissal. The cards were stacked against the employer who could have followed the Recommended processes and then managed to have a smooth termination instead of having to settle out of tribunal.

    For advice on employment law in the UK email


  • At-a-glance guide to the marketing rules

    At-a-glance guide to the marketing rules
    Method of
    Individual consumers
    (plus sole traders and partnerships)
    (companies and corporate bodies)
    Live calls
     Screen against the TPS
     Can opt out
     Screen against the Corporate TPS
     Can opt out
    Recorded calls  Need specific consent  Need specific consent
    Emails or texts
     Need specific consent
     Or soft opt-in (previous customer, our own
    similar product, had a chance to opt out)
     Can email or text corporate bodies
     Good practice to offer opt out
     Individual employees can opt out
    Faxes  Need specific consent
     Screen against the Fax Preference Service
     Can opt out
     Name and address obtained fairly
     Can opt out
     Can mail corporate bodies
     Individual employees can opt out

    Contact to find out more