Welcome guest, please log in here   |    T +44(0)115 7180333   |   E   info@halborns.com

Archive

General

Legal lightbulb – people law, policies and practice

Posted on: May 17th, 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.

Covid concerns and refusing to attend work

For an employee’s refusal to attend work to be considered reasonable their covid concerns must be directly related to the workplace – a tribunal held that it was fair to dismiss an employee who had ‘general concerns’ as their refusal to attend was not specific to any serious and imminent danger posed at work.

Ban on exclusivity clauses to be extended

Exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts were banned in 2015 – the clauses stopped workers from taking on additional work with other employers. The government will now extend the ban to contracts where a worker’s guaranteed weekly income is £123 or less with legislation “later this year”.

Progressive parental leave policy

Tate and Lyle PLC are rolling out a new ‘Equal Parental Leave Policy’ providing all employees with a minimum of 16 weeks’ full-paid parental leave. The policy aims to provide more flexibility and family-friendly ways of working by applying to birth, adoption, fostering, and surrogacy regardless of gender, marital status, sexual orientation or whether the employee is the birthing or non-birthing parent.

Awards for injury to feelings increased

The bands of awards (known as Vento bands) for injury to feelings have increased for cases presented on or after 06 April 2022. The new band ranges are:

  1. Lower band – £990 to £9,900 (less serious cases)
  2. Middle band – £9,900 to £29,600 (cases that don’t merit an upper band award)
  3. Upper band – £29,600 to £49,300 (most serious cases)
  4. Amounts over £49,300 can be awarded in the most exceptional cases

People diary dates

  1. June 01-29 – Pride Month
  2. June 14-19 – Nutrition and Hydration Week
  3. June 27-01 July – World Wellbeing Week

 

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

Avoid getting your fingers burnt with hot-desking

Posted on: May 10th, 2022 by Halborns Limited

A recent tribunal decision has shown that hot-desking policies need to be carefully drafted and implemented to avoid discrimination claims.

Background 

An employee required a specialist chair, desk and equipment whilst working due to a disability. On that basis, occupational health recommended that her desk should be her own and not used as a hot desk. Desk space was at a premium so the employer decided to allow anyone to sit at the desk (and in doing so disrupting her specialist equipment). The tribunal held that the employee had been put at a substantial disadvantage by the hot-desking policy and she was successful in her claim for disability discrimination.

Practical takeaways

Reasonable adjustments – don’t forget that disabled employees put at a substantial disadvantage by a policy have the right to reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010. The law is complicated so take early advice.

Practice into policy – clearly, this case doesn’t mean the end for hot-desking but it’s a reminder that people trends need a robust review before turning into policy.

Inclusive policies – one-size-fits-all policies without mechanisms for review and flexibility can often lead to disadvantages being suffered by those with protected characteristics and subsequent discrimination claims.

We’re adding a new ‘hot-desking’ policy to our Intelligent Employment platform this week! Find out more about accessing Intelligent Employment. 

 

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

Who cares about gender pay gap reporting?

Posted on: May 5th, 2022 by Halborns Limited

The April 2022 gender pay reporting deadline has been and gone, and reports are in. But around 10% of employers still haven’t reported or were late to do so. Here are our thoughts…

Missing the deadline – The Equality and Human Rights Commission (the enforcement body) is yet to issue a fine so it seems that the ‘late report’ badge and naming and shaming are not enough to change the behaviour of those businesses who fail to comply.

Why bother – one of the most interesting stats from the reporting is the number of women (or not as the case may be) in the upper quartile (highest paid roles). Overall, there has been a drop in the number of businesses that have increased female representation at the highest level. With recruitment being such a challenge, stats showing that women don’t make it into your top roles may not be helping.

Bigger picture – most businesses are grappling with a tough recruitment market and the stats in gender pay reports could well be adding fuel to the fire and giving prospective candidates an excuse not to join! Stagnant year-on-year data shows little commitment to progress and late reporting (or not reporting at all) shows that compliance isn’t taken seriously.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (05 May 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.

Employment Bill to be delayed…again

Posted on: May 4th, 2022 by Halborns Limited

The government has once again postponed the Employment Bill meaning day-one flexible working and changes to carer’s leave (along with a host of other proposals) will be further delayed.

The Employment Bill included the following proposals – all of which are now delayed indefinitely:

Flexible working – the right to request flexible working arrangements without any qualifying service (currently 26 weeks).

Carer’s leave – a new ‘day-one’ right for unpaid carers to take up to five working days of unpaid leave per year from their usual employment. Employers would not be entitled to deny a request for a carer’s leave, only postpone in specific circumstances.

Neonatal care leave – providing up to 12 weeks’ paid leave for parents of babies requiring neonatal care.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination – extending redundancy protection from the point the employee notifies their employer of their pregnancy until six months after the end of their maternity leave.

Tips – all tips and services charges were to be passed onto workers in full on a fair and transparent basis.

Predictable working arrangements – a new right for all workers to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service.

There’s nothing stopping you from implementing some of these ideas despite the government’s delay. In a challenging recruitment market, employee benefits setting you apart from competitors can only help to secure the best individuals.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (04 May 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.

Changing employment terms – a new statutory code

Posted on: May 3rd, 2022 by Halborns Limited

If you’re looking to make changes to employment contracts and an employee refuses those changes, one approach you can take is to terminate their employment and rehire them on the new terms. A new statutory code of practice is to be introduced (date to be confirmed) providing greater governance over this approach.

What will the new code mean in practice? The detail is yet to be announced – all the government have said is that the intention is to provide practical steps for employers to follow to ensure they engage in meaningful consultation when changing terms and conditions are changed. If employers fail to follow the code tribunals will have more clout when issuing compensation. This will mean:

  1. Tribunals will need to take into account whether an employer has followed the code and employers should be ready to evidence that they have done so; and
  2. Tribunals may apply a 25% uplift in compensation if an employer unreasonably fails to comply with the code.

The new code will not be an outright ban on the use of ‘fire and rehire’ meaning it will remain an option for employers to change contractual terms where voluntary agreement is not possible or there is no other alternative.

There’s always lots to consider when making changes to contracts – getting the right advice can help to minimise as much risk as possible. Get in touch for our support. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (03 May 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.