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Archive

September, 2021

Furlough scheme ends tomorrow

Posted on: September 29th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

The furlough and statutory sick pay rebate schemes will finally come to a close tomorrow (30 September). Here’s what you need to know:

Ending furlough – unless your furlough agreement says otherwise, there’s no minimum notice required to inform employees their period of furlough is ending and you should end any furlough agreements in writing.

Redundancy – if you’re left with no other option but to consider making redundancies with furlough support removed, following a fair and robust process is paramount. We’ve provided extensive practical insight to help you tackle the process proactively, pragmatically, and secure the right outcome for your business and your people.

SSP rebate scheme – set up to allow you to reclaim up to two weeks’ SSP paid to current (or former) employees absent from work due to reasons associated with coronavirus (reasons listed here):

  1. The scheme is ending tomorrow meaning you can only claim for employees who were absent on or before 30 September 2021
  2. You’ll have until 31 December 2021 to submit or amend any claims
  3. To be eligible for the scheme you must have had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all PAYE payroll schemes (your PAYE payroll scheme must have been created on or before 28 February 2020)

Get in touch if you need advice or support on how the end to furlough will impact your business.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (29 September 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.

Menopausal symptoms can amount to a disability

Posted on: September 28th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Women going through the menopause don’t currently have explicit statutory protection from discrimination. However, it is possible for menopausal symptoms to amount to a disability.

Legal test – under the Equality Act 2010, symptoms need to be a mental or physical condition, with a substantial and long-term effect on the individual’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities (not limited to workplace tasks). Long term in this case means that they have or are likely to last for at least 12 months.

View from the tribunalthis decision shows that it’s possible for menopausal symptoms to amount to a disability and trigger the duty to make reasonable adjustments. The woman’s symptoms included fatigue, disrupted sleep, anxiety, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and hot flushes. The symptoms had lasted two years and were enough for the tribunal that she attributed her symptoms to the menopause.

In our next update we’ll share practical ideas on what you can be doing to help, and also minimise the potential for a discrimination claim to arise. Get in touch if you need advice or support in the meantime. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (28 September 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.

Disability discrimination – knowledge is key

Posted on: September 22nd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

A recent case provides a useful reminder that keeping records about your understanding of an employee’s condition is key.

Background 

The employee was dismissed for performance-related reasons, but argued he was disabled and that he’d been dismissed for this reason. He’d suffered two periods of anxiety and depression (prior to his employment), and one following a “traumatic event” during his employment leading to a short period of absence.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the claim on the basis that despite the employer’s knowledge of his anxiety and depression following the “traumatic event”, they did not know the effects of the condition were long term (and therefore did not know him to be disabled (for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010)).

Key takeaways 

Should you have known? – a tribunal will take an objective view. You need evidence to show that you couldn’t reasonably have known about the long-term effects of an alleged disability. In this case, the employee didn’t disclose the previous periods of depression on a medical questionnaire, his period of absence was short and he was certified fit for work. It was reasonable for the employer to assume this was an isolated incident with no long-term impact.

Be proactive – a key factor in this case was that the employer had a number of open and frank conversations with the employee about his absence, and he had not mentioned any long-term effects of his alleged disability. Be proactive in understanding the reasons behind any absence (and document those conversations) to evidence that it would be unreasonable for you to have knowledge of an alleged disability and its long-term effects.

Securing straight-talking advice early is key to minimising risk on any issue that could give rise to a possible discrimination claim – Intelligent Employment is here to help. Find out how.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (23 September 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.

 

 

Government to announce day-one right to flexible working

Posted on: September 22nd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Tomorrow, the government is set to announce proposals for employees to have the right to request flexible working from their first day of employment. Here’s what you need to know:

Day-one – employees will no longer have to wait until they’ve been employed for 26 weeks before making a flexible working request. You will be obliged to consider requests from the first day of employment.

Responding to requests – the current three-month time period to respond to flexible working requests is set to be reduced meaning you’ll need to provide a quicker response.

Refusing requests – if you turn down an employee’s request, you will need to provide an explanation and suggest an alternative work arrangement. Subject to tomorrow’s full announcement, your refusal is likely to need more robust, objective justification than the current reasons for rejecting a request.

We’ll update you once the full detail has been provided and when we know the new right is set to come into force. If you need support in managing future flexibility and flexible working requests, Intelligent Employment is here to help. Find out more.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (22 September 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.

Gender pay gap reporting – 4 October deadline

Posted on: September 15th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

If you had 250 employees or more (on the 5 April 2020 snapshot date), you have until 4 October 2021 to report your gender pay data. 

Narrative – it isn’t compulsory to accompany your data with a narrative, however it’s potentially the more powerful of the two. It gives you an opportunity to explain any negative data and your plans to address it, or shout about your successes and what you’ve achieved.

Enforcement – the deadline has been extended due to the pandemic (from 4 April 2021) meaning any enforcement action against those who fail to report won’t commence until 5 October 2021 onwards. You are still encouraged to publish your report in advance of the October deadline if you’re able to.

Steps to address – the Chartered Management Institute has released a guidance toolkit to support businesses to address any pay inequality. Suggested action includes anonymising CVs and application forms, providing a flexible working culture, and enhancing and encouraging uptake of shared parental leave – you can find the full guidance here.

If you subscribe to Intelligent Employment, you’ll find a GPGR flowchart and checklist in our document platform (here). If you’d like to find out how to access our platform of compliant and commercial documents and templates (and more!) – get in touch.

 

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