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Coronavirus restrictions lifted

Posted on: July 22nd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Here are the key considerations for employers following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

Working from home – the government is now recommending a gradual return to the workplace over the summer (as opposed to the work from home message). If maintaining flexibility is part of your future, you’ll want to take a look at our latest update series.

Self-isolation – if an employee tests positive or is contacted by NHS Track and Trace as having been in contact with someone who has tested positive, they are still required to self-isolate. If an employee is ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app, there is no legal obligation to self-isolate, however government guidance is that they should still do so.

Health and safety concerns – whilst there is no legal requirement for an employee ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app to self-isolate, requiring them to attend work raises the risk of transmission to a colleague or customer. In this event, you’re open to potential claims of negligence and constructive dismissal if an employee resigns on the basis of an unsafe workplace. We recommend insisting an employee does not attend work in these circumstances.

Get in touch if you need further support in managing anything we’ve outlined above.

 

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

“Childcare disparity” – new tribunal guidance

Posted on: July 20th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

It’s still accepted by tribunals that women face a “childcare disparity”. This case is a reminder that employers may face successful discrimination claims if their decisions put childcaring females at a detriment.

Background 

An NHS Trust introduced a new flexible working policy requiring all employees to work some weekends. This employee was unable to comply because of her childcare responsibilities for her three children (two with disabilities). She was subsequently dismissed and brought a claim for unfair dismissal and indirect discrimination.

Practical impact of the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) decision

This means that when you consider introducing a provision, criteria or practice (PCP) potentially putting those caring for children at a detriment, you should bear in mind that the PCP opens the door to possible sex discrimination claims based on the EATs guidance. Your choices are to adjust the PCP so that there is no such detriment or be ready to objectively justify it.

While the EAT case centres around the introduction of a flexibility policy, it’s often the case that employers are faced with decisions that may put those caring for children at a detriment. If you received a furlough request from a female when schools were closed and decided to operate a blanket refusal, you could have found yourself on the wrong end of a sex discrimination claim (for the reasons set out by the EAT) in respect of which you may have needed to objectively justify the PCP.

Intelligent Employment is here to help if you need guidance and support introducing new flexibility policies- find out more

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (20 July 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.

In a flexible working fix?

Posted on: July 13th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

If you’re in a flexible working fix here are our suggestions on a proactive approach to a solution that works for all.

Flexibility forum – you aren’t expected to have all the answers (if answers even exist!). A ‘flexibility forum’ enables you to ask your colleagues for their thoughts on tricky flexible working issues – how to ensure your approach is fair for all, what if it works for some and not others, how much flexibility should you offer?

Trial – a flexible approach to flexibility! Make it clear at the outset that your approach to flexible working is a learning and evolving process and tweaks may be made along the way (or it may be discontinued).

Clear communication – you’ll only know if your approach is working if you land your flexible working policy clearly and consistently. Write it down, communicate it, then communicate it again. We’ve added an agile working policy to Intelligent Employment – click here to find out more about accessing our document portal.

Review – once you’ve given it a go, come back to it, look at the metrics and analyse, and take it from there.

Intelligent Employment is here to help – find out how

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (14 July 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.

Business as usual – UK data protection

Posted on: July 8th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

No change to UK data protection laws following the European Commission’s (EC) adequacy decision.

After Brexit the UK became a ‘third country’ under EU GDPR meaning transfers of personal data between the EU and UK were only possible if UK data protection laws were deemed acceptable by the EU.

Confirmation – the EU has confirmed the UK has fully incorporated all of the data protection principles, rights and obligations it would expect meaning UK data protection laws do not need to change to meet with any concerns the EU might have had.

Future – whilst the EC’s confirmation of adequacy means it’s business as usual for the time being, it has included a ‘sunset clause’ meaning in four years the EU will reassess UK data protection laws to ensure they’re still adequate. Of course we’ll keep you posted.

If you’d like to support identifying potential legal risk and commercial weaknesses in the way you process personal data, get in touch to discuss how our data protection review can help. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (8 July 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 #7 – settlement strategy: creating an interesting offer

Posted on: July 7th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Whilst the termination payment is usually the main focus, there are lots of ways to make a settlement offer more attractive without incurring much, if any, additional cost. Below is some food for thought: 

Continue employee benefits – if you’ve already paid the annual premium for benefits (such as private medical or life assurance), allow access to those benefits for an agreed period after the employee has left (subject to insurer approval).

Outplacement and coaching support – a positive step to support employees in securing a new and exciting challenge. You can set a capped contribution (so it won’t break the bank) which can be offered tax efficiently. As members of the The AdviserPlus Group we’re able to provide this support – click here to find out more.

References and announcements – agreeing a factual reference and internal/external announcements means you’re able to work together with the employee controlling the messaging around their exit and supporting them with their hunt for the next role.

Fast payment – promising speedy settlement payments means the employee feels they’re in touching distance of the financial support – costing you nothing and often enough to secure the deal.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss a tricky exit or your template settlement agreement. In our next update we’ll focus on limitations to confidentiality clauses and your options to capture the agreement terms. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (7 July 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.