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Archive

June, 2021

Legal lightbulb – people law, policy, and practice

Posted on: June 17th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

As part of keeping you in our focus, our ‘legal lightbulb’ update ensures you’re on top of the latest changes in legislation, case law, and people trends.

No legislation to prohibit ‘fire and rehire’ 

The future of ‘fire and rehire’ when dealing with contractual changes was in doubt, but following an Acas ‘fact-finding’ paper, the Government has confirmed that it will not introduce legislation to prevent employers from dismissing and re-engaging employees as a means to change their employment terms and conditions. It is still the most ‘nuclear approach’ and should be tackled with robust advice given the potential risks (unfair dismissal and discrimination claims, to name a few) but it’s good to see that the option remains. Click here if you need our support on changing terms and conditions.

A trip to the pub whilst off sick? 

Although a recent tribunal decision held that dismissal of a sick employee spotted in a pub was unfair, it’s simply another reminder to get your processes right. The dismissal was held to be unfair due to the employer’s flawed investigation. No written accounts were made, no witness statements or medical evidence provided, the disciplinary policy made no reference to ill health, and the investigation officer also led the disciplinary meeting.

John Lewis’ proactive practices

The retailer is set to be the largest in the UK to provide 26 weeks’ equal paid parenthood leave for all employees, irrespective of how they become a parent. Part of a range of new support for employees including two weeks’ pregnancy loss leave, a ‘Flexible First’ policy with vacancies to be advertised with flexible working, and more! Find out how to access our agile working policy and support with flexible working.

Real-life reasons to deal with discrimination

Celebrating Pride Month reminds us of the importance of championing inclusivity and diversity. Over the last 12 weeks of updates, we’ve reflected on the employment laws connected to diversity. If you’d like to revisit anything we’ve covered to help manage an evolving diversity conversation, you can find all our insight here. Get in touch if you’d like to know more about our equality, diversity and inclusivity training.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (17 June 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.

01 July change to furlough contributions

Posted on: June 15th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

From 01 July, employers are required to contribute 10% of furloughed employees’ wages (along with NICs and pension contributions).

01 July – the government will contribute 70% of wages up to £2,187.50 and you will need to contribute the remaining 10% up to £312.50 when employees are furloughed (along with NICs and pension contributions).

01 August to 30 September – the government will contribute 60% of wages up to £1,875 and you will need to contribute the remaining 20% up to £625 when employees are furloughed (along with NICs and pension contributions).

Top up – you can decide to top up employees’ wages beyond the 80% total while furloughed.

Notice pay – don’t forget that you cannot use furlough to cover notice pay.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is due to end on 30 September 2021.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (15 June 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.

Flexible working – key considerations pt.2

Posted on: June 9th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

There’s loads to think about when considering whether flexible working can work for your business. 

We shared a ‘starter for 10’ in our last update, and here’s the second part of our ‘key considerations’:

  1. Do you need to carry out a risk assessment at the individual’s chosen place of work?
  2. Do you need to alter employment contracts to support the new arrangements?
  3. Do you need to introduce a policy to support the new way of working? Find out how to access ours.
  4. What will you do if the new flexibility works for some and not all, or if an employee’s performance declines?
  5. How will it impact your onboarding processes for new starters and how will they access effective support?
  6. How are you going to ensure that your information remains confidential?
  7. Do you need to update your existing insurance policies?

In our following updates, we’ll help you tackle these key considerations with practical solutions, and cover the legal framework you’ll need to follow if employees make requests for greater flexibility. We can also provide training for your managers on how to spot and deal with any requests for flexible working – find out more

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (10 June 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.

Tribunal tales #5 – settlement and timing it right

Posted on: June 8th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Securing an early deal can protect reputation, avoid unnecessary legal fees and save time. But, ill-timed settlement negotiations can mean overpayment, increased tribunal risks and a worsened negotiating position. Here are our thoughts on getting the timing right in respect of negotiations:

Before delivering an outcome – if you know successful litigation is possible, consider opening a settlement discussion before progressing or finalising a formal process. Employees may be incentivised to take a deal to avoid a possible dismissal.

Sit and wait – when bringing an unfair dismissal claim, employees are obligated to try and mitigate their losses by securing a new job (see our previous update). If the ex-employee secures a job it’ll reduce your exposure to compensation and, in turn, improve your negotiating position. Top tip – write to the employee early on to remind them of their obligation to mitigate! Find out how to access our mitigation letter template.

Call their bluff  – lots of employees threaten litigation but don’t follow through. Before an employee can issue a claim they have to go through mandatory ACAS early conciliation. ACAS should contact you to let you know the conciliation process has started. If you don’t hear from ACAS, it usually means the employee has decided not to litigate and there’s no need to put forward an offer.

In the following update, we’ll look at how to approach settlement discussions, limitations to confidentiality clauses, and ways to make a settlement offer more attractive.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (9 June 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.

30 June EU Settlement Scheme deadline

Posted on: June 8th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

By 30 June 2021 EU citizens need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme to ensure that they can continue to live and work in the UK beyond that date.

If an employee’s application is turned down, what are your options?

Appeal/review – ensure the employee immediately lodges an application to secure a review of the decision or an appeal. You’ll need to take further advice on whether you can continue employing them pending a final decision.

Apply for a visa – if you have a sponsor licence and the role they’re doing qualifies under the new immigration rules the employee can apply for a visa. You’ll need to ensure that they have the right to continue to work for you in the meantime or take steps to terminate their employment if not. Take advice before committing to this route.

Termination of employment – there are a number of different options available to effect the termination of employment of an individual who no longer has the right to work in the UK. It may be possible to end their employment without notice and without following a ‘fair process’, but advice must be taken before embarking on those discussions.

Get in touch if you’d like more information about how our annual, fixed fee Intelligent Employment service can support with the employment law implications of Brexit.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (8 May 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.