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Author: Halborns

Extended redundancy protections – 06 April

Last but not least! From 06 April, pregnant women and those taking maternity, shared parental or adoption leave will benefit from extended redundancy protection. Here’s the detail.

Currently, a woman at risk of redundancy is entitled to any suitable alternative roles available during her maternity leave period (ahead of any individual selected for redundancy who is not on maternity leave).

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 means that from 06 April:

  • You must offer in priority to anyone else suitable alternative roles to any individual at risk of redundancy and this is the case from the date they notify you of their pregnancy, until up to six months after their return to work; and
  • This right also covers parents returning from adoption or shared parental leave who are put at risk of redundancy.

Practica steps – update any applicable policies you have in place and ensure that you’re training those implementing redundancy processes on the new rules to ensure they don’t fall foul of the changes.

We’re here to help! Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need our guidance on implementing these changes or training your team.

This update is accurate on the date it was published, 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.
Posted On: February 29th, 2024By |

Flexible working day-one right – 06 April

From 06 April, employees will be able to make a flexible working request from day one of their employment. The new right will apply to any requests made on or after 06 April.

As well as becoming a day-one right, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 also makes the following changes effective from 06 April:

Number of requests per year – employees will be able to make up to two flexible working requests each year (instead of just one, as is currently the case).

Time limit – the time limit to deal with requests (and any appeals) is being reduced from three months to two. You can still extend this period with an employee’s express agreement.

Consult – you’ll need to consult with employees before rejecting a request, but the same eight statutory grounds for rejecting a request still apply.

Dealing with challenges – when making a request, employees will no longer be required to explain how any challenges resulting from their proposed flexible working arrangement should be dealt with.

Update your flexible working policy – you’ll need to update your flexible working policy and any other supporting documentation to include these changes (everything you need is on our Intelligent Employment platform). Ensure you’re managers are trained so they’re ready to deal with any requests from 06 April.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need our guidance on implementing these changes or training your team!

This update is accurate on the date it was published, 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.
Posted On: February 29th, 2024By |

New right to unpaid carer’s leave – 06 April

A new day-one right to take one week’s unpaid carer’s leave per year will come into force on 06 April.

The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 introduces this new right and means eligible individuals will be able to make use of the right from day one of employment. How does it work?

Caring responsibilities – the right applies to individuals with caring responsibilities (those providing care for someone with a health condition lasting at least three months, who is disabled, or who needs care as a result of old age). This can include those caring for a spouse, civil partner, child, parent, dependent or someone living in the same house.

How leave can be taken – individuals can request the leave as consecutive or non-consecutive full days, half days, or longer periods of up to one week each year. Employees must provide you with written notice of their intention to take carer’s leave, giving you at least twice the amount of notice than the amount of leave requested (or if longer, three days’ notice).

Delaying the leave – you will be able to delay the leave if it will disrupt your organisation, subject to giving appropriate notice and explaining why the postponement is necessary. You must then allow the leave to be taken within one month of the start date of the leave originally requested. Rescheduling the leave should be done in consultation with the employee.

Self-certification – there is no requirement for individuals to evidence what the leave is for and there’s no document that proves someone is a carer. We’d recommend introducing a self-certification form for employees to complete to set out why they’re entitled to the leave. We’ve added one to our Intelligent Employment platform.

Protection – individuals will also benefit from protection from dismissal or suffering a detriment as a result of taking time off.

New carer’s leave documents – as well as a self-certification form, also want to introduce a carer’s leave policy (we can help!) and train your managers on what this new right means. You’ll also need a system to track the number of days taken.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need our advice or guidance on implementing these changes.

This update is accurate on the date it was published, 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.
Posted On: February 29th, 2024By |

Changes to paternity leave – 06 April 2024

This is the first of the four changes we’re tackling this week. From 06 April, there will be several changes to how and when statutory paternity leave can be taken. 

The Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 make the following changes which will apply in all instances where the Expected Week of Childbirth is on or after 06 April 2024:

Changes to two-week entitlement – employees taking paternity leave will be able to take their statutory two-week entitlement as two separate blocks of one week (if they choose to do so), rather than the current position which requires it to be taken as either two consecutive weeks, or just one single week in total.

When leave can be taken – paternity leave will be able to be taken any time during the 52 weeks after the birth. Currently, paternity leave has to be taken in the 56 days following birth.

Notice – employees will only need to give you 28 days’ notice that they intend to take statutory paternity leave. Currently, employees need to give you a minimum of 15 weeks’ notice before the EWCf.

Updating paternity leave policy – you’ll need to make the changes to your paternity leave policy and any connected documents (and ideally let employees know of the changes). Get in touch to subscribe to Intelligent Employment – our unique service that takes the load off so you can progress with your people plan.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need our advice or guidance on implementing these changes.

This update is accurate on the date it was published, 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.
Posted On: February 29th, 2024By |

Employer legitimately rejected employee’s request to work from home

An employment tribunal has found that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) legitimately rejected a senior manager’s flexible working request to work exclusively from home.

Background

The employee, who led a team of 14, started working from home for health reasons shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic. Post-pandemic, the FCA introduced a policy requiring all employees to spend at least 40% of their working time in the office. The employee made a flexible working request to work from home exclusively – the request was rejected on the basis it would have a detrimental impact on her performance.

The employee brought a claim on two grounds – the first being that the request wasn’t dealt with in the required time limit, and the second being that the FCA relied on incorrect facts relating to her performance. The tribunal found the FCA had genuinely considered her request and was entitled to reject it (but awarded one week’s pay for a minor breach of the time limit requirements).

Practical takeaways 

Performance – when rejecting flexible working requests on performance grounds you need to be able to show clear and consistent performance metrics and expectations (and document your reasons for rejecting). The tribunal noted that there were specific elements of the employee’s role that were performed well from home, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t be delivered better in person.

Time limits – the time limit to respond to a flexible working request is currently three months (including any appeal), but, from 06 April 2024 this will be reduced to two months meaning any requests will need to be dealt with promptly. A tribunal can award up to eight weeks’ pay for failure to comply with these time limits.

Fact-specific – the tribunal noted that every request will turn on its own facts so this decision shouldn’t be taken as meaning all requests to work from home can be turned down without the appropriate level of consideration and justification.

There are various other changes to flexible working requests from 06 April (download our guide for the detail) which means you’ll need to update your policies and processes. Get in touch for our support making those changes. 

This update is accurate on the date it was published, 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.
Posted On: February 26th, 2024By |