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Employment, Incentives and Pensions

Our team of employment, incentives and pensions lawyers help our clients get the best out of their teams by providing practical, innovative and commercial legal advice across the full spectrum of people and reward challenges. 

The workplace is evolving fast. Employers are faced with new technologies, novel ways of working, and the changing demands of millennial and Gen-Z workforces. Having the right workplace culture is essential, helping to minimize legal risk and regulatory scrutiny. And, as companies look to engage in ever-more transformational M&A, an early focus on post-deal workforce integration is critical for long-term success.

Our team of employment, incentives and pensions lawyers works side by side with our clients to deliver excellent practical, innovative and commercial legal advice across the full spectrum of people and reward challenges.

We are a trusted HR legal partner for many employers at a global and local level. We provide strategic advice on a range of HR legal projects, including coordinating the design and roll-out of HR policies and incentive plans, running workplace investigations, managing industrial relations issues and workforce restructuring exercises, and finding solutions to pension liability issues in the context of major transactions and de-risking operations. We are the ‘go-to’ team for our client’s most strategic and sensitive HR legal issues.  

We want to provide the best of our team to you, whatever HR legal challenge you face. 

Recent client successes

Our work so far has consisted of advising on the commercial approach towards Credit Suisse employees, including their remuneration offers, liaising with the UBS French works council in relation to information and consultation regarding the European Commission filing, advising on engagement with the Credit Suisse pension scheme trustee in the UK, and carrying out targeted due diligence on the Credit Suisse business. You can read more about our work here.

Our work included strategic advice and support during the several-month-long consultation process with the European Works Council as well as the structuring of the worldwide involvement of local works councils or trade unions. You can read more here and here.

Increasingly such investigations involve complex and sometimes historical allegations relating to #MeToo matters and other serious misconduct issues, such as bullying and harassment allegations. Many of these investigations have been cross-border matters, requiring advice across multiple jurisdictions. Such matters require our team members to blend employment law expertise with advice on regulatory requirements and reputational/media impact. We have advised clients on communications with regulators and other stakeholders in relation to such investigations. We have extensive experience advising on the resolution of issues arising out of investigations and any ongoing disputes for clients using a variety of mechanisms, including mediation and negotiated settlements, as well as advising on complex, high-value tribunal and court claims.

In addition, we assisted with several follow-up practical issues in relation to the operation of the cross-border employee share option scheme, including in respect of the relocation of participants.

Superfunds are set to be a central part of the pensions landscape, with the UK Government keen to see this market develop further. Freshfields played a leading role in the design and implementation of the Clara-Pensions platform, showcasing our strength in emerging market trends and innovative new structures.

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