Archive for December, 2013

Snowy Days

Monday, December 16th, 2013

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As the leaves begin to change colour and the days become shorter you may already be experiencing some trepidation about winter. Snow in particular whilst beloved of children and skiers can cause serious disruption and inconvenience, especially for employers and employees.

Employees have an obligation to attend at their workplaces unless they are sick or on authorised leave. This means employers can treat absences as unauthorised if the employee fails to attend because of the weather unless their contract of employment specifically provides otherwise. Employers are not obliged to pay employees for unauthorised absences. However, this rule becomes somewhat blurred if the employee cannot safely attend work. Employers must consider the safety of their employees, and employees should not feel under pressure to travel if it is unsafe to do so. Official weather warnings should be observed where relevant.

Employers cannot force employees to use their holiday entitlement for the unauthorised absence although this may be negotiated between the employee and the employer. Employers should consider discussing the absence with the employee and consider allowing the employee to make up the time or permitting the employee to work from home if this is possible.

Employers should consider the needs of employees with children especially if the schools are closed. Legislation protects parents who require tomake arrangements for unexpected disruption to childcare, so employers must accommodate this. Employees should be aware that this time off will most likely be unpaid, unless the employer agrees otherwise.

If the employer decides that it is not safe to open the office at all because of the weather the employees must be still be paid unless there is a specific clause in the contracts of employment which permits the employer to not pay the employees in these circumstances.

So before the weather turns frightful consider the following to see you through until spring:

Employers

  • Consider devising a bad weather policy for your business to make your employees aware of their rights and responsibilities.
  • Consider whether flexible working hours or working from home might be a possibility for your employees should a spell of prolonged bad weather arise.

Employees

  • Be prepared for bad weather by expecting journey times to be longer and considering other methods of transport.
  • Consider discussing flexible working hours or working from home with your employer prior to the bad weather beginning so that arrangements can be put in place in advance.

For further Employment Law advice please contact a member of the Court Department on 01224 581581.

Property Sales – 2013 Review

Monday, December 16th, 2013

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2013 has seen a turnaround in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire property market. There has been a marked increase in both the volume of property sales and the prices achieved. Levels of activity are significantly higher than they were even a year ago.

Figures from Aberdeen Solicitors Property Centre show a 30% increase in the volume of sales in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2012. Prices are also up by 6% in the city and suburbs over the same period.

There has been a noticeable increase in the number of closing dates being held. It has been quite common to see sale prices of 5% to 10% above valuation and, in some instances even more in particularly competitive closings.

Average prices are now almost back to the peaks recorded in 2007 and indeed recent figures from the Nationwide Building Society show that average prices in Aberdeen have doubled over the last ten years.

2013 saw James & George Collie open a new dedicated sales office at 450 Union Street, Aberdeen.  Located between Rose Street and Chapel Street, in the heart of the city centre, the sales office enjoys a prominent position on Aberdeen’s main street and provides ideal exposure for properties on the market for sale.

James  & George Collie are continuing to increase their presence in the local property market. In the last 3 years the number of properties we have sold have increased by over 40%. In 2013, up to the beginning of December we have already sold 330 properties with a sale value of £77,000,000.

With continuing confidence in the local economy and the housing market the signs are favourable that 2014 will be another strong year for property sales.

For further information or advice please contact the property sales office on 01224 572777 or our estate agency partner Brian Sutton on 01224 563340.