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Archive

June, 2022

Legal lightbulb – people law, policy, and practice

Posted on: June 28th, 2022 by Halborns Limited

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.

Proposed Neonatal Leave and Pay Bill

A bill has been introduced to parliament to try and establish extended paid leave for parents of premature and sick babies. Under the proposal, parents and carers would be entitled to paid time off if their baby has to spend seven or more consecutive days in hospital in their first four weeks of life. We’ll keep you updated on the status of the proposal.

Four-day working week trial kicks off

Over 3000 employees at 70 UK businesses started their trial of a four-day working week earlier this month. The basis of the trial is to retain 100% pay, work 20% fewer hours, and deliver 100% productivity. The trial will gather evidence to present a test case to government and business leaders that a four-day week can work by increasing overall wellbeing without a negative impact on productivity…and actually boost business performance!

New Modern Slavery Bill

The government has proposed a Modern Slavery Bill to strengthen protections and increase accountability (timescales for introduction to be confirmed). Proposed changes include:

  1. Making it mandatory for modern slavery statements to be published on the online government registry (for those required to produce a statement)
  2. Requiring specific areas to be included within statements such as internal policies, due diligence processes, effectiveness at preventing modern slavery (and more)
  3. Introducing civil penalties for organisations that do not comply with the requirements

Proposed SSP reforms

A recent report suggests reforms to the SSP system could boost the UK economy by around £3.9bn over five years. Proposed reforms would include increasing the proportion of salary covered by SSP, widening eligibility for all workers, simplifying administration for employers, and introducing a conditional sick pay rebate for small businesses. Find the full report here.

People diary dates

  1. 04 August – Cycle to Work Day
  2. 08-14 August – Afternoon Tea Week
  3. 15 September – Pension Awareness Day
  4. 19-25 September – Recycle Week

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (28 June 2022), 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 decision – long-Covid can amount to a disability

Posted on: June 23rd, 2022 by Halborns Limited

An employment tribunal has held that the symptoms of long-Covid can amount to a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.

Background

An employee contracted Covid-19 in 2020 and he was unable to return to work for nine months due to continuing symptoms of long-Covid (extreme fatigue, joint pain and anxiety for example). He was dismissed by his employer due to continued absence and being ‘too ill to return to work’. The tribunal held that his symptoms did amount to a disability as they had a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his day-to-day activities and he could proceed with his claim for disability discrimination.

Practical takeaways

Fact dependent – this decision does not mean that every case of long-Covid will amount to a disability. However, it does mean that caution should be taken when employees are absent for what could be long-Covid. An assessment will still need to be made of the individual’s specific symptoms and whether they’re substantial and long-term enough to potentially give rise to a disability.

Medical evidence – always key when circumstances could give rise to a disability. Make sure you obtain an appropriate medical report to ensure you’ve got all the facts before determining whether or not the employee is disabled.

The Office for National Statistics estimates that around 2 million people in the UK currently have symptoms of long-Covid. 71% of those reported a significant adverse impact on their day-to-day activities which could mean we’ll begin to see an increase in disability-related cases in this area.

Securing the right advice early can help to minimise potential discrimination risks when managing absence – Intelligent Employment is here to help. Find out more.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (23 June 2022), 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.

More healthcare professionals to certify fit notes

Posted on: June 21st, 2022 by Halborns Limited

From 01 July 2022, new legislation will allow more healthcare professionals to certify fit notes to ease pressure on doctors and GPs. Here’s what you need to know:

What’s changing – nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists will be able to issue and certify fit notes (not just doctors and GPs) and determine whether an employee is ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for work’.

Policies and training – your sickness absence policies will need to be updated (and communicated) to reflect the change – you’ll find our up-to-date version on Intelligent Employment. Ensure your managers are up to speed with the change and take the opportunity to refresh their training on managing sickness absence more broadly.

Digital fit notes – remember that since 06 April 2022 valid fit notes can be issued digitally (they’re no longer required to be ‘signed in ink’).

With the Office for National Statistics reporting the highest sickness absence rates for a decade, we may expect to see even more fit notes from employees following these changes. Get in touch to find out how we can help with training to manage sickness absence effectively. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (21 June 2022), 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.