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Archive

March, 2021

April wage increases

Posted on: March 25th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

From 1 April 2021 National Minimum and National Living Wage rates will increase. If you’re thinking of making changes to employment contracts, they’re often easier to land alongside a wage increase. Here’s the detail:

1 April – rate increases

Age 23 and over – £8.91 (up from £8.72)

Age 21 to 22 – £8.36 (up from £8.20)

Age 18 to 20 – £6.56 (up from £6.45)

Age 16 to 17 – £4.62 (up from £4.55)

Apprenticeship rate (irrespective of age) – £4.30 (up from £4.15)

Get in touch for our support in updating your employment contracts and introducing the changes. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (25 March 2021) but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

New shielding guidance from 1 April 2021

Posted on: March 24th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

From 1 April 2021, those classed as extremely clinically vulnerable (ECV) will no longer be advised to shield according to new government guidance. Here’s what you need to know:

Statutory Sick Pay – from 1 April those individuals who were classed as ECV will no longer be eligible for SSP (or Employment and Support Allowance) if they are not working.

Return to work – the government are still advising everyone to work from home where possible. If those classed as ECV cannot work from home, they should return to the workplace.

Communicate – if those classed as ECV are unable to work from home, they may still have concerns about returning to work. Communicate early and reassure them of the safety measures you have in place to keep them, colleagues, customers, and clients safe.

Flexibility – travel to and from the workplace may also be a concern if employees need to use public transport. Consider possible flexibility around start/finish times to support ECV employees to avoid peak rush hour times and any other adjustments you might reasonably make.

Get in touch if you’d like our advice or support in managing a safe return to work.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (24 March 2021) but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

When opinions cross the line

Posted on: March 23rd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Whether it’s Brexit, coronavirus restrictions, or Megan and Harry – we’re all being encouraged to voice our opinion. In an employment context, differences of opinion or clumsy arguments can cause legal liability.

When does free speech cross the line and amount to harassment?

The right to free speech is enshrined in human rights legislation. That legislation works alongside the Equality Act 2010 which sets out clearly behaviour that amounts to harassment.

The legal definition of harassment (paraphrased) is simply unwanted conduct about a protected characteristic (such as age, race or disability) that makes another person feel humiliated, degraded or offended. So, in an employment context, ill-framed or offensive remarks about race, disability, age or any other protected characteristics can amount to harassment even if not intended to insult. And, as an employer, you can be liable for such offensive remarks.

With liability for harassment claims unlimited and reputational damage wide-reaching, in our next email update, we explore how you strike the right balance between supporting free speech and avoiding harassment claims.

If you’d like support with promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity, please get in touch here for further advice.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (23 March 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

New Tribunal case – dismissal for Covid-related concerns

Posted on: March 22nd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

If an employee refuses to attend work due to Covid-related health and safety concerns, will a dismissal be automatically unfair? A recent Tribunal judgement has provided useful guidance.

Facts of the case

The employee refused to attend work due to Covid-related concerns, stating there was an imminent danger to his health and safety. He was dismissed and brought a claim for automatic unfair dismissal.

The Tribunal decided the dismissal was fair in the circumstances – the employee did not have a reasonable belief of serious danger in the workplace – simply that there was danger everywhere. Even if he did believe the danger was work-related that belief was unreasonable given the employer had put measures in place to reduce the risk of Covid transmission.

Here are a few takeaways:

Risk assessment – make sure yours is up to date to demonstrate you’re continually thinking about the risks employees face. There’s no expectation for you to eliminate risk entirely, but you do need to do everything reasonably practicable to minimise risks.

Clear policies – communicate the measures you’ve put in place and what’s expected of employees. Set out how employees can raise their concerns. Click here for how to access our safe return to work policy.

Communicate – ensure employees have access to your policies and procedures and communicate with regular reminders the steps you’re taking to keep everyone safe. Where employees do have concerns, listen proactively, keep a record, make adjustments where necessary, and reassure them that you’re taking all necessary steps.

If you need support with some of the challenges arising from welcoming employees back to work, get in touch to access our ‘safe return to work’ policy or further advice. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (22 March 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Real-life reasons to deal with discrimination

Posted on: March 16th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

This is important – we’ve seen that over the last week or so on many levels. We all have a view. We all have a right to vocalise that view.

How you deal with an evolving diversity conversation and landscape is challenging and creates risk. But, it also supports the opportunity to demonstrate you are willing to trail blaze, support openness, and disrupt responsibly.

Our next series is designed to give confidence, and support you with your diversity and inclusion journey (from an employment law perspective). Here’s what we’ll cover:

Free speech? – when expressing an opinion amounts to harassment

Debating society – creating a positive environment to share and challenge

Enlightened individuals – the importance of training and understanding

Manager mission – supporting managers to create a positive and inclusive environment

Risk – how unlawful discrimination can lead to claims and compensation

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss anything we’ve covered in more detail. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (16 March 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.