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Susan Mayall
 

Sexual Harassment - Get covered for Contractors

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Gender Equality in the workplace - a topic that has hit the news headlines today and something which employers need to be aware of. The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, Women and Equalities Minister will today be setting out her vision...

Holiday Pay and Overtime - what employers need to note

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Extra hours worked over and above normal shifts on a regular basis could be now calculated as part of holiday pay – court rules The case of when to add extra hours worked to holiday pay formed part of a legal ruling recently. The Court of Appeal...

Workplace Discrimination

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Today’s business leaders and employers need to consider gender equality as more than just women's rights. Gender discrimination affects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. As an employer it is important to learn how to recognise, prevent...

Never Discuss Religion and Politics

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Is it unfair to dismiss an employee for proselytising? Not if the proselytising is improper, held the Court of Appeal in Kuteh v Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. Religious beliefs and whether to share these with patients was at the forefront of this...

Non Disclosure - the facts behind the headlines

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Non-disclosure agreements have been in the news recently after claims that they have become mere gagging orders for undesirable workplace practices. They were initially designed to prevent staff sharing trade secrets if they changed jobs and form part of an...

Responsibility of disabled employees in the workplace to declare impairments

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Recent research shows that 1 in 5 UK workers attempt to hide their disability from their employer. The same study shows that over half of disabled people feel that their disability is putting them at risk of losing their job. In the current landscape, it...

The biggest overhaul of Employment Law in twenty years

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Following the Matthew Taylor Good Work Review, the Government has announced what it calls the biggest overhaul of Employment Law in twenty years. The key proposals are as follows: 1) changing the rules on continuity of employment, so that a break of up to...

Unfair dismissal and discrimination

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Can a series of small acts of misconduct from an employee, over time, amount to a reason for dismissal, despite none of the acts being classed as gross misconduct? Yes – answered the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) in Mbubaegbu v Homerton University...

Transfer of Undertakings Regulation 2006

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In the recent case of Colino Sigüenza v Ayuntamiento de Valladolid and Others , the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was asked to consider whether a five-month halt in business between contracts could preclude the possibility of a transfer...

Responsibility of a Company During Work Related Parties

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The question in the recent case of Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd was whether a company could be legally liable for the actions of their employees even at after work parties. Yes, answered the Court of Appeal – but it depends on the facts....

Landmark decision for workers and independent contractors classification

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Pimlico Plumbers and another v Smith [2018] UKSC 29, will remain a key authoritative legal source when it comes to employers classifying their staff as ‘workers’ or ‘independent contractors’ for the foreseeable future. ...

Contractual notice only starts when the employee knows they are being dismissed

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When is notice for dismissal effective? Is it when the letter is received, signed for, or only effective upon when the employee reads the letter and is informed of their dismissal? In 2017 the Court of Appeal held that notice of termination begins to run on...

The Equality Act 2010

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Discrimination in relation to the provision of goods and services is prohibited under Part 3 of the Equality Act 2010 but has, in more recent years, seen a rise in prevalence, and there remain a few important distinctions between discrimination...

Employment tribunal quarterly statistics for April to June 2018

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Employers need to take head as Tribunal claims have increased over the past year now fees have been scrapped. The Ministry of Justice has published the employment tribunal quarterly statistics for the period April to June 2018. During this period, single...

Money never sleeps, but sleep-in workers only earn whilst awake on the job

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The Court of Appeal is the most recent court to review the case of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake and Shannon Rampersad [2018]. Principally, the case deals with zero-hour contracts in the social-worker industry on what qualifies as paid employment,...

Landmark decision for workers and independent contractors classification

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Pimlico Plumbers and another v Smith [2018] UKSC 29, will remain a key authoritative legal source when it comes to employers classifying their staff as ‘workers’ or ‘independent contractors’ for the foreseeable future. ...

Contractual notice only starts when the employee knows they are being dismissed

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When is notice for dismissal effective? Is it when the letter is received, signed for, or only effective upon when the employee reads the letter and is informed of their dismissal? In 2017 the Court of Appeal held that notice of termination begins to run on...

Risk assessments required for breastfeeding mothers

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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Otero Ramos v Servicio Galego de Saude has ruled that employers must now carry out an individual risk assessment for breastfeeding mothers returning to their role. This is a change...

Hot weather working: How to survive the heat

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Following weeks of soaring temperatures, it seems our long summer is here to stay, and although it has been welcomed by many with open arms, it’s important to remember the impact that the heat could have in the workplace. The Risks...

The #MeToo movement and how it affects your business

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A BBC survey conducted last year showed that in the UK more than half of women, and a fifth of men, have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, ranging from inappropriate comments to sexual assaults. There are a number of steps that you can take as...

Does requiring my employees to undertake a medical examination infringe GDPR?

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Under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), health information is classed as “special category data” and an employer needs to have a lawful basis for processing such information. This means that requiring employees to undertake medical...

Long Term Ill Health Case Study

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“I truly am grateful for all the work you have done and the support you have offered me.” We recently settled an employment case for a client and secured a substantial settlement for him after he was poorly treated by his...

How to Cope With a Summer of Sport....Advice for Employers

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The World Cup will soon be upon us, the traditional team song may have been ditched this year, but for employers the habitual problem of absenteeism during sporting events, hot on the heels of warm weather days offs, is a perennial headache....

New report aims to tackle the exploitation of low-paid workers and enforce holiday pay

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The Government’s Director of Labour Market Enforcement, Sir David Metcalf, has now published his report, “Labour Market Enforcement Strategy”, covering issues such as low paid workers and holiday pay rights. Here’s what this new...

Compensation for injury to feelings sees increase in line with the Retail Price Index

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Claimants at an employment tribunal may make a claim for “injury to feelings” in situations where they have suffered discrimination which has led to humiliation, hurt and degradation, or the discrimination has persisted for a lengthy period of...

Changes to termination payments and how they affect your business

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New tax rules announced at the 2016 Budget are now in force as of 6 April 2018. Income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NIC) will now need to be made on all payments in lieu of notice (PILONs) upon termination of employment. Pre 6 April...

Recent EAT decision means employers should take extra care when dismissing employees within first two years of employment

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A recent decision from the Employment Appeal Tribunal indicates that employers need to take extra steps when considering the dismissal of pregnant employees before they accrue the two years required to enable an employee to issue a claim at a tribunal, even...

More employees seek justice in Employment Tribunals. (Employers - are you following workplace procedures?)

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Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) in March 2018 show that the number of employees taking claims to employment tribunals (ET) has risen dramatically. Employers need to review their workplace procedures and ensure they follow them...

When The Beast Bites... Guidance for Employees and Employers for dealing with weather disruption

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We love to talk about our erratic weather in the UK, but patience is wearing thin for many during the current freeze – especially for employers and those struggling to get to work. With red warnings from the Met Office, motorists stuck for hours on the...

When is Stand-by Time Worked at Home "Working Time"?

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In a recent case, a fireman was required to do one week in four on "stand-by". In his case, being on stand-by meant being able to get to the station within 8 minutes. The court found that this duty affected his ability to engage in any leisure...

Discrimination Against Pregnant Women and New Mothers Persists

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Last November, Maternity Action* launched a report in Parliament on unfair redundancies for pregnant women and new mothers. Maternity Action is a UK charity committed to ending inequality for pregnant women. Citing statistics that 1 in 20 pregnant women...

Dealing with Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace

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Employers should know how to spot drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace and be ready to tackle it. Failure to do so can affect the business, compromise the safety of other workers and lead to criminal convictions. Further, ignoring the problem will not...

Do Your Employees Understand How to Combat Cyber Fraud? (Start by Using Strong Passwords)

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Stories continue to emerge about cyber security breaches that let hackers gain access to sensitive commercial and private information. A recent report shows that something as simple as a reused password can expose a businesses to cyber fraud. Employers...

Employer Held Responsible for Rogue Employee's Actions

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An employer has been held vicariously liable for the criminal actions of its employee. So held the High Court recently in the case of Various Claimants –v- WM Morrisons PLC where the employee had published the personal data of thousands of...

Be Warned: The Government is Pursuing "Bad Employers" Who Employ Illegal Workers

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Whatever your personal or political views on immigration, the law prohibits businesses from employing illegal workers – and there are serious penalties for those who breach the law. Two months ago, we published a blog on this issue, asking "...

Are Your Staff Workers or Self-Employed Contractors (and Why it Matters)?

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Several high profile employment law cases are progressing through the appeal courts at the moment. They deal with the distinction between staff carrying out their services as a "worker" and those hired as self-employed...

Employers - A Little Bit of Christmas Prep Can Help Avoid Those Party "Incidents"

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Every year, we remind employers about potential employment law issues that can arise over Christmas. Human nature being what it is, incidents often occur over Christmas that can lead to disciplinary action and even dismissal. Christmas parties and relaxed...

Guidance to help those dealing with a cancer diagnosis in the workplace

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According to Cancer Research UK, there were around 357,000 new cases of cancer in the UK in 2014 - that’s 980 cases diagnosed every day*. While most people know that cancer affects many people, fewer might know that cancer is treated as a disability...

Do Your Employees have Permission to Work in the UK?

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... Are you sure? Employers have a legal requirement to check their employees have permission to work in the UK. You risk being fined if you employ staff without such permission. Carrying out the correct checks, at the right time and keeping your...

Make Sure You Know the Facts Before Suspending an Employee

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Suspending an employee is a significant step: make sure it is a necessary step and you know the facts before taking it. In Agoreyo -v- London Borough of Lambeth [2017] EWHC 2019 (QB), a teacher was suspended immediately after being involved in an...

What Happens if an Employee is in Breach of Confidentiality?

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In a recent case, an employee was given a custodial sentence for breaching a confidentiality clause. The case is rather extreme but is a warning for others about misusing their employer's confidential information - and not obeying court...

Exercise restraint screening potential employees on social media

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Employers - have you checked out a candidate's profile on social media recently? If yes, you're not alone. According to a survey carried out by CareerBuilder, an online recruitment company, 60% of employers screen their candidates using social...

Tribunal fees held to be unlawful by the Supreme Court

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In a significant decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that tribunal fees introduced by the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunals Fees Order 2013 (the 2013 order) are unlawful. The decision opens up access to justice for those who need to...

Good work for all: the Taylor Review and the potential effect on employment laws

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The Taylor Review makes recommendations on a multitude of employment law issues and seeks to establish “good work for all”. On 11 July 2017, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, published his independent review...

Should employment law be taught to school children?

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This was the interesting issue raised by Malcolm Mackay of United Employment Lawyers, a Scottish firm, a couple of months ago. He was very much of the opinion that it should – and I have to say, I agree with him. But then, as an employment lawyer,...

Coping with summer's distractions: how to get the best from your employees

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June is turning out to be wet rather than flaming and most employees will no doubt be looking forward to their annual holiday and a summer of events, festivals and sport. Employers on the other hand are probably wondering how many working hours they...

Calculations for holiday pay to include non-guaranteed overtime

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In a recent appeal hearing, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) decided that employees were entitled to receive holiday pay based on their basic wage plus their non-guaranteed overtime. The appeal in Bear Scotland -v- Fulton case (and...

Ensuring a level playing field for job applicants

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Employers processing job applications should ensure the process offers a level playing field for applicants with disabilities. In The Government Legal Service -v- Brookes , the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld a tribunal’s decision that a...

Can employees claim wages if they sleep at work?

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This article is not about those who dose off when they are supposed to be working! Rather it reviews the circumstances in which those who “sleep-in [at their work premises]” during their working hours are entitled to be paid the minimum wage...

Government inquiry into flexible working

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The BBC recently reported that fathers are ‘afraid to ask for flexible working’ believing that making such a request can harm their careers. Reference was made to the 2017 Modern Families Index which produced a “snapshot into the...

Take care over the job title when hiring an apprentice

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Employers who hire apprentices should be aware of a change in the law that will make it a criminal offence to advertise work as a statutory apprenticeship if that's not what the work actually is. I highlighted this change in the recent employment law ...

Workplace clothing issues - can you ban headscarves?

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Banning headscarves does not amount to direct discrimination (but take care with dress codes) ... An EU Court has decided that an employer's dismissal of an employee for refusal to comply with a "no headscarf" policy when meeting customers was...

Spring Brexit update

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On 23 June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU). However, much needs to be done before the actual exit (the “Brexit”) takes effect. In the last six months, the government has been dealing with the issue of how to start the process...

Checklist for employers: gender pay reporting

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How should employers go about complying with the equal gender pay reporting obligations due to come into force in April 2017 under the Equality Act 2010? As we reported last month, the laws requiring larger companies to report on their...

Bishop allowed to withhold licence from canon

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A bishop could withhold licence from a canon who entered same-sex marriage. The Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that a bishop could refuse to grant an officiating licence to an ordained, Church of England priest on the grounds of his same-sex...

The ghost of Christmas future? (If your employees behave badly...)

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Businesses can be liable for their employee’s bad behaviour... There are plenty of good reasons for ensuring that everyone behaves themselves at Christmas “work-dos” – not least the risk of damage to your...

Is your business safe from the risks of Christmas indulgence?

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It’s here already! The office Christmas party and names have gone in the hat for the secret Santa, but amidst the fun the more relaxed atmosphere at this time of year can lead to embarrassment at best - and at worst, damage to the company’s...

The Autumn Statement, November 2016 (employment perspective)

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Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement contained a raft of measures with ramifications for those dealing with employment issues. There have been some fairly gloomy reports in the press including "Worker prospects dreadful, says the IFS"...

Brexit Wrangle Continues with New Court Decision

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The Divisional Court has upheld an application brought against the Government, and held that the Government does not have prerogative power to invoke Article 50 without a vote by Parliament. In other words, Parliament needs to vote in favour of doing so...

INSIGHT: It is Uber Difficult When You Face a Tribunal

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An Employment Tribunal has now ruled that two drivers who provide services to Uber are 'workers' within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The case could have an impact on other firms with large self-employed workforces in the so called...

INSIGHT: Checklist: dress codes in the workplace

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Employers often require dress codes in the workplace for a number of reasons: staff may be asked to wear a uniform to communicate a corporate image and ensure that customers can easily identify them; or there may be health and safety reasons. For example,...

Employment blog: time to review your approach to dress codes in the workplace

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Reading through the Law Society Gazette last week, I was amused by Darren Clayton's humorous approach to a difficult problem – that of dress code dilemmas in the legal office. (You can read his article here .) A few of his comments rang...

Employment and Tax Breakfast Seminar, 23 November 2016

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It can be difficult to keep up with the new legislation affecting you and your employees and there are more changes on the horizon: we have a new cabinet, there are major HMRC changes ahead as well as the Brexit and there...

INSIGHT: Commission, Holiday Pay and Employment Law

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The Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in British Gas v Lock - an important case on the calculation of holiday pay. Mr Lock was a salesman on a basic salary with variable commission paid in arrears. Mr Lock's commission...

INSIGHT: Make Sure Your Apprentice Has the Right Contract

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From April 2017 all businesses with a wage bill of more than £3m will be subject to an apprenticeship levy of 0.5 per cent of the payroll - the aim is to “help create millions of opportunities for individuals and employers” according to the...

INSIGHT: Why you May Be Missing Out on Talent If You Stigmatise Tattoos

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Do your staff have tattoos and how do you deal with them? Recent research published by ACAS has suggested that employees with visible tattoos face discrimination in the work place and in the application process. It was found...

Ensuring your tips and gratuities reach the worker

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It's coming to the end of Summer and many of us are planning new gym and eating regimes to reduce wider midriffs after holiday indulgences. Those who enjoy eating out might be interested to learn about a government consultation that was conducted...

INSIGHT: Unlawfully Dismissed Football Manager Wins Compensation

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Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns and can demonstrate that he or she is entitled to do so because the employer shows by their conduct that they no longer intend to be bound by the essential terms of the employee's employment...

INSIGHT: Pay Gap Gulf in Employment

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Is your company one of the many in Britain to have a gender pay gap? Do you promote more male managers? If that’s the case then you are typical of many in the UK according to a recent study The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) recently...

INSIGHT: Can an employer ban Islamic headscarves at work?

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Employees' choice of attire can create problems in the workplace – and employers are well advised to issue policies based on, for example, moral, health and safety grounds to dictate what their employees wear. However, employers' policies must...

Just as employers recover from the Euros and tennis... here we go again!

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Just as employers recover from the Euros and tennis... here we go again! It doesn’t seem long since we warned employers to plan ahead of the Summer of sport, but look where we are now: out of the Euros, Murray a two-times Wimbledon...

INSIGHT: Employer's Refusal to Extend PHI Not Age Discrimination

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In a case which emphasises the importance of clarity of language when providing information on employees' contractual entitlement to Permanent Health Insurance (PHI) benefits, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld the decision of an Employment...

INSIGHT: Taking Annual Leave and Sick Leave Concurrently

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If sickness prevents a worker taking annual leave, can leave be carried forward? Yes, reaffirmed the ECJ in Sobczyszyn v Skola Podstawowa w Rzeplinie, but whether or not such employment law with be changed post Brexit remains to be seen....

INSIGHT: What effect might the Brexit have in the workplace?

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Susan Mayall looks at how employment laws might be affected by the UK’s vote to leave the EU. (This is an updated version of Susan’s article of 21st June.) A substantial element of the UK’s employment laws come from the...

INSIGHT: Employers Need To Plan Ahead For A Summer Of Sport

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A SUMMER of sport is ahead of us and whilst the country goes sport mad for just a few weeks with the high and lows of Olympic success or face the dreaded Euro penalties and a wash out at Wimbledon, for employers it can be a tricky time with absences from...

INSIGHT: Are employment rules stifling British innovation?

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Are employment rules (like non-compete clauses) stifling British innovation? The government has pledged to make Britain the best place in Europe to innovate and start up a new business. To help with fulfilling that pledge, the government aims to publish...

Gender Pay reporting requirements for larger companies

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We reported last year on the government’s goal of eliminating the gender pay gap within a generation: click here to read that post. Under the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (the Act), employers of larger companies will...

INSIGHT: Round-up of employment law changes for employers, April 2016

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Several key changes to employment law come into force during April 2016. Here are some highlights. The introduction of the National Living Wage (from 1 April 2016) Those over 25 will be entitled to the National Living Wage of £7.20 –...

Employment Law Changes - April 2016

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Changes to employment law and practice are normally implemented in either April or October each year in order to make life easier for employers, who must ensure that their policies and procedures are updated accordingly. The main employment law changes...

INSIGHT: The new national minimum wages in force 1 April 2016

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New rates for the minimum wage are in effect from 1 April 2016: Year 25 and over (the National Living Wage) 21 to 24 ...

Employment Tribunals - The Use of Interpreters

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Under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights ( ECHR ), everyone has the right to a fair trial and one of the elements of this concept, referred to as 'the principle of equality of arms', is that each party should have the right to...

Tips for employers: how do you manage sickness absences?

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Have you had employees “pull a sickie” on you? Recent YouGov research suggests that almost a fifth of British workers have ‘pulled a sickie’ in the last year. The flip side – and a relief for employers - is that...

INSIGHT: Budget 2016 A Must Read for Employers

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A number of measures and changes were announced in this month’s budget that are of interest to employers. “There are several key changes to employment law coming into force in April 2016, including the introduction of the National Living Wage,...

What happens at an Employment Tribunal?

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An early consultation with one of our Employment Team or using our Employment Protect service can help employers avoid employment disputes and a costly visit to an employment tribunal. However, occasionally disputes cannot be resolved and a...

New guidance to help avoid discrimination in job adverts

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Under the Equality Act 2010 (‘the Act’), it is unlawful for employers to place or publish a discriminatory advert for jobs and services. The Act protects potential employees from discrimination because of sex, race, disability, gender...

Employment Tribunal Fees

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The Supreme Court has now granted permission to Unison to appeal the Court of Appeal's decision regarding the Employment Tribunal fee paying regime which was introduced in July 2013 and which has resulted in a large reduction in Employment Tribunal...

INSIGHT: Commission is Holiday Pay confirms Employment Appeal Tribunal

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Employees who receive commission as a regular part of their salary must have it included in holiday pay following a recent tribunal decision In the long-running case of Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd, first brought to tribunal in April 2012, Mr Lock, a...

INSIGHT: Transgender issues and avoiding discrimination: new guides for employers, employees and service providers

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Transgender and gender reassignment or ‘transition’ (1) issues are currently under the spotlight with the recent release of ‘The Danish Girl’ starring Eddie Redmayne and the BBC’s reports this week such as ‘ UK a long...

Zero Hour Contracts update

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At last, some real protection has been introduced for zero hour contract workers. In force today, The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hour Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 provide that:- any dismissal of...

INSIGHT: Part-time working hours - holiday pay calculations

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If you change an employee’s part time working hours, how do you recalculate the worker’s holiday entitlement? That was the question considered by the European Court of Justice ( ECJ ) in the recent case of Greenfield v The Care Bureau Ltd . ...

It's twenty years since legal rights for the disabled were established

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The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) came into force twenty years ago. Its enactment followed years of public campaigning and numerous demonstrations and created rights to enable the disabled to fight against state and business...

Employers: a half term reminder about holiday pay

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As the schools break for half term, it is a good time to remind employers about their obligations in relation to holiday pay. Last year, the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Bear Scotland & Ors v Fulton & Ors UKEATS/0047/13/BI set...

Social media issues for employees

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This week, we look at social media usage from the point of view of an employee. (If you are an employer, click here to read our article on ‘social media pitfalls for employers’). As an employee of any business, your behaviour in and out of...

INSIGHT: The pitfalls of using social media in your business

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The pitfalls of using social media in your business …and some tips on how to avoid them Ten years ago, who would have predicted that businesses everywhere would be using social media in their daily routine;...

INSIGHT: Shared Grandparental Leave Announced

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Family flexibility and care provided by the extended family has been extended as shared parental leave and pay has been extended to working grandparents, without fear of them losing their jobs. The planned changes, announced by...

The law - Childcare vouchers

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Many employers provide employees with childcare vouchers as a benefit of their employment, usually by way of a "salary sacrifice" arrangement, which has certain tax and NIC advantages to both the employer and the employee. There is some...

INSIGHT: Peripatetic workers' travel time can be classed as 'working time'

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Does your business employ workers who travel from home to different sites? If yes, you need to be aware of a recent decision of the European Court of Justice . It was held that the time workers without a fixed or habitual place of work...

Are You Prepared for the Rugby World Cup?

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The Rugby World Cup 2015 begins this week, with the first match (England v Fiji) kicking off at 8:00pm on Friday. The final will take place at Twickenham on Saturday, 31 October. Employers are advised to consider the issues that can arise due to major...

INSIGHT: Give Employees the Choice of Accompaniment, High Court Rules

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A recent case in the High Court has highlighted the importance of giving employees the choice of who to accompany them to disciplinary hearings. Susan Mayall, head of employment at Pearson, explains. The High Court’s decision in...

INSIGHT: Acas Publishes Early Conciliation Report

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The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has published the results of its survey on the first year of its Early Conciliation (EC) scheme. These show that: Acas handled more than 83,000 EC cases between...