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Advice covers the key legal and regulatory issues affecting employers in the industry such as: TUPE; disciplinary and grievances procedures; managing sickness absence; interns; freelancers; discrimination laws; maternity/paternity leave and pay; and dismissals, including those arising from redundancy or re-structure.

We aim to deal with basic enquiries within 24 hours. More complex enquiries and contract work will take longer and we will give you an indication of our likely turnaround time. Please bear in mind that, since all IPA members (approximately 300 agencies) are entitled to send us enquiries, we cannot prioritise your enquiry before another member’s.  We’ll work through enquiries in chronological order.  Thank you for your patience.

Who we are

Juliet Bawtree is responsible for advising IPA member agencies on employment law enquiries about their staff.

Members enquires can be emailed to or telephone on: 020 7201 8202.

How we can help

We can provide advice to members on:

General employment issues - Including: disciplinaries and grievances; conduct and capability; absence management; retirement; discrimination issues such as ageism, sexism, racism and maternity rights; and redundancy/restructures and other dismissals.

TUPE transfers - The industry is becoming more knowledgeable about both the rights and obligations of an incumbent agency losing a client account, and the new agency that has won it. The IPA advises on both scenarios, and has a comprehensive yet easy to follow step by step Pocket Guide to TUPE, as well as a voluntary TUPE Protocol created together with ISBA and Lewis Silkin.

Contractual issues - We advise on standard employment contracts and contractual issues that may arise on recruitment and termination.

Maternity and Paternity Rights - Covering: flexible working requests; redundancy and maternity leave; rights gained from employee notification of pregnancy to return from maternity leave; and paternity leave and pay.

Staff handbooks and policies - Members can access template policies and procedures via the links below.

Employment law updates and guidelines - HR contacts at IPA member agencies can access employment guidance notes, legal alerts and template policies. They will also receive any employment law updates prepared by Juliet via e-mail. If you need to be on this database, please contact Juliet Bawtree.

Some examples of questions we have recently answered:

    • We have just won a new business pitch. The incumbent agency has written to us saying that they have fifteen employees dedicated to the client's account, who will transfer to us under TUPE. What are our obligations, if any, under TUPE? Also, how can we check whether the incumbent agency's claims about the employees are accurate?
    • One of our employees is due to return from maternity leave in eight weeks' time. She has written to us asking if she can return on a part-time basis with three days in the office and one day working from home. How do we respond? Do we have to agree this and if not, on what grounds can we reject her request?
    • A key client has asked us to remove one of our employees who works on their account. There is no other work that we can move her to. We cannot risk losing the client. Can we dismiss this employee?
    • The needs and output of our Creative Department is changing due to an increasing amount of digital work. However, we do not require as many people in the team to do this work. Is this a redundancy situation and if so, do we have to put everyone from the department into the pool for selection for redundancy? Also, we do not want to upset everyone unnecessarily by going through a long process. Can we tip two people the wink over a pint at the pub after work, and offer to pay them an extra two weeks' salary in addition to their notice period, if they leave now?
    • We have engaged a freelance copywriter to work for us for four days a week, 9am to 5pm. Should we issue him with a contract for services? If so, do you have a template we can use? Also, can the contract for services go on indefinitely or for a long period, without the employee obtaining or having grounds to claim that he has acquired 'employee' status and therefore employment benefits?
    • We have an employee who has had twenty days' sickness absence since she joined us fifteen months ago. They have generally been intermittent, short term absences. We can no longer rely on her, and the short notice absenteeism is putting the rest of the team under great pressure. Do we have to continue employing her indefinitely?
    • We want to increase the notice periods for our senior managers from one month to three months. Can we just issue them with a new contract or do we need their consent before amending this term?

Published guidance

Last updated 02/06/2016

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