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Keeping up to date

We take seriously our responsibility to keep you up to date so that you can use changes in employment law to commercial advantage. By understanding and interpreting the latest case law and legislation we can deliver updates to you that are concise and usable. With imagination, we are able to ensure that developing law can be used to allow you to achieve commercial solutions, cost effectively and expediently.

Consultation collection

Posted on: August 29th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

There’s lots on the employment law horizon. Here’s our employment law consultation collection. Click each header to have your say or read the consultation in full.

Non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses 

What: ensure individuals receive advice on the nature and limitations of confidentiality clauses and that provisions don’t prevent disclosures to the police, regulated health and care professionals or legal advisers.

Status: will become legislation

When: TBC

Pregnancy and maternity protection 

What: redundancy protection period begins from when an employee notifies you of their pregnancy and extends for a period of six months once they’ve returned to work.

Status: will be come legislation

When: TBC

Consultation: health is everyone’s business 

What: reducing ill-health related job losses with a right to request workplace modifications for health conditions (not just disabilities) and introducing a sick pay rebate for SMEs.

Close: 7th October 2019

Consultation: sexual harassment in the workplace 

What: strengthen existing protections by introducing a duty on employers to protect their people, clarifying third-party harassment and extending time limits to bring a tribunal claim.

Close: 2nd October 2019

Consultation: one-sided flexibility 

What: zero-hours and casual workers to be given reasonable notice of work schedules and compensation when shifts are cancelled.

Close: 11th October 2019

Consultation: enforcement of employment law rights 

What: create one clear body from the seven existing state agencies (HMRC, Health and Safety Executive etc.) for people to enforce their rights through.

Close: 6th October 2019

Get in touch if you’d like to chat through what these changes might mean for your business.

Executive People Update

Posted on: August 20th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

As part of keeping you in our focus, our exec people update ensures you’re on top of the latest people opportunities, threats and legislative changes so you are ready to update the Board. If you want more insight, give us a call or send us an email and we’ll make sure you’re fully up to speed with all the detail.

New harassment helpline 

There’s a new helpline giving women free legal advice if they’ve experienced sexual harassment at work. Having received high profile support from Emma Watson and significant press attention, the helpline is funded by donations and is operating limited hours at present. It is covered by two female employers aiming to support “women to exercise their legal rights in the workplace”.

Criminal record reform 

The Ministry of Justice has proposed criminal record reforms to help ex-offenders back into employment. Currently, if someone has served a sentence over four years (even as a child), this must be disclosed to potential employers for the remainder of their life.

The proposed change will mean that some sentences over four years will no longer have to be disclosed to employers after a specified time (to be determined after public consultation). This will not apply to the most serious sentences including life, or for sexual or violent offences.

EU Settlement Scheme 

Over one million people have now been granted settled or pre-settled status. If you haven’t already, audit your workforce to determine if anyone needs to apply or has already had their status granted. If any of your people still need to make an application, the Government has a useful employer toolkit to help you support.

Here are the deadlines for settled status applications in a deal/no-deal scenario:

  • Deal – 30th June 2021
  • No-deal – 31st December 2020

Good Work Plan (GWP)

We’re still hearing you don’t know about the GWP, so here’s a reminder of what you need to get in place for April 2020:

  • All workers, not just employees, will have the right to an employment contract from day-one
  • The reference period for calculating holiday pay will extend from 12 to 52 weeks

Apprenticeship agreements 

Whenever we get our hands on an apprenticeship agreement, it’s rarely flexible enough. De-risk your apprenticeship agreements by ensuring you have the flexibility to terminate the arrangement if the apprentice consistently under performs – here’s out latest update.

Let us take a look over your agreement if you’re in any doubt.

Tribunal trends – our views

Posted on: August 13th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

Our tribunal advocate, George Miller, explains the tribunal trends we’ve seen in the last year (and how to avoid being on the wrong side of a claim).

Poor claims designed to elicit cash

Lack of evidence and bringing every claim under the sun are common. But, tribunals are wise to employees manoeuvring employers into defending claims without the prospect of success. They’re striking out claims and issuing orders for employees to pay money into the tribunal to continue with their claim.

Low value claims 

There’s been an increase in claims for smaller amounts of cash – like holiday and notice pay for example.

A long time for cases to be heard

15 months in some cases for the claim to be heard at tribunal. Tactically lengthy waiting times can take the wind out of an employee’s sails, but often you’re as keen to dispose of the case as they are!

Increase in claims being withdrawn 

We’re increasingly successful in encouraging employees to withdraw their case or settle for low values. It’s still only 10% of cases that ultimately end up going to a full hearing.

Lack of fees make tribunal claims attractive to disgruntled employees, but there’s plenty you can do to avoid one landing…

  • Train – great managers to have great conversations
  • Talk – nip issues in the bud early to avoid escalation and surprises
  • Respect – deliver consistent decisions in accordance with company values
  • Culture – drive great behaviours and trust so employees know you’re trying to get it right
  • Processes – set, update, and communicate sound processes to support challenging employment issues
  • Performance – communicate frequently and follow up often
  • Evidence – keep records on a great people system (they’re your first defence)
  • Precedents – don’t settle unless you really need to (if you’re known to pay out at the sniff of a claim you can often find plenty more landing your way).

Watch this space for news on when tribunal fees are set to be introduced again (no news yet!).

 

Secret recording may be gross misconduct

Posted on: July 30th, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

It’s rare that recordings of conversations during employment are encouraged. They change the atmosphere, take a long time to transcribe and can be difficult to navigate. With technology making secret recordings by employees more common, a helpful decision for employers has found that covert recordings can amount to gross misconduct.

If you don’t have ‘recording without permission’ listed as gross misconduct in a policy, you’ll need to consider the following before deciding to dismiss.

Did the employee:

  • record the conversation to entrap or manipulate you?
  • record confidential information?
  • know that recording is not allowed?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these, then it’s likely to amount to gross misconduct.

In practice, avoid arguments over whether a secret recording is gross misconduct or not by making sure there’s a policy that says as much (and make sure your people are aware)!

If you’d like to chat through with us in more detail, just click here!

Executive People Update

Posted on: July 23rd, 2019 by Ginny Hallam

As part of keeping you in our focus, our exec people update ensures you’re on top of the latest people opportunities, challenges and legislative changes so you’re ready to update the Board.

If you want more insight, give us a call or send us an email and we’ll make sure you’re fully up to speed with all the detail.

40% increase in employment tribunal calls to ACAS

New data in the 2018/19 report from ACAS shows a 40% increase in Early Conciliation calls from individuals who intend to sue their employer at tribunal. That said, of the 39,000 calls of this type, just under 10% ended up in front of an employment tribunal (either because the individual withdrew or settlement was entered into). Watch out for our take on tribunal trends in future updates…

Holiday pay should include voluntary overtime (sometimes)

We’ve been given further clarity on what needs to be paid to employees during their statutory four weeks’ annual leave. Provided the pattern of overtime is ‘sufficiently regular and settled’, the court was clear the overtime pay must be included within the holiday pay calculation of four weeks’ statutory leave – even if the overtime is voluntary.

Living Wage accreditation 

Join Ikea, Nestle and Aviva in securing accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation, if you:

• Pay the ‘real Living Wage’ to employees aged 18 and older (£9.00 or £10.55 in London)
• Provide at least four weeks’ notice of shifts
• Provide an accurate contract that reflects hours worked
• Provide a contract with a guaranteed minimum of 16 hours a week.

Why pay it? 86% of businesses say it’s improved their reputation…

Parental bereavement 

It’s truly tragic circumstances that give rise to such legislation, but The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act is due to come into force in April 2020. It affords two weeks’ paid leave for parents who’ve been employed continuously for 26 weeks and lost a child under the age of 18. We’ll be updating our policies on Intelligent Employment to ensure you stay ahead.

Give us a shout if you have any questions and we’d be delighted to chat through with you.