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

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.

Disability discrimination – knowledge is key

Posted on: September 22nd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

A recent case provides a useful reminder that keeping records about your understanding of an employee’s condition is key.

Background 

The employee was dismissed for performance-related reasons, but argued he was disabled and that he’d been dismissed for this reason. He’d suffered two periods of anxiety and depression (prior to his employment), and one following a “traumatic event” during his employment leading to a short period of absence.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the claim on the basis that despite the employer’s knowledge of his anxiety and depression following the “traumatic event”, they did not know the effects of the condition were long term (and therefore did not know him to be disabled (for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010)).

Key takeaways 

Should you have known? – a tribunal will take an objective view. You need evidence to show that you couldn’t reasonably have known about the long-term effects of an alleged disability. In this case, the employee didn’t disclose the previous periods of depression on a medical questionnaire, his period of absence was short and he was certified fit for work. It was reasonable for the employer to assume this was an isolated incident with no long-term impact.

Be proactive – a key factor in this case was that the employer had a number of open and frank conversations with the employee about his absence, and he had not mentioned any long-term effects of his alleged disability. Be proactive in understanding the reasons behind any absence (and document those conversations) to evidence that it would be unreasonable for you to have knowledge of an alleged disability and its long-term effects.

Securing straight-talking advice early is key to minimising risk on any issue that could give rise to a possible discrimination claim – Intelligent Employment is here to help. Find out how.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (23 September 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.

 

 

Government to announce day-one right to flexible working

Posted on: September 22nd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Tomorrow, the government is set to announce proposals for employees to have the right to request flexible working from their first day of employment. Here’s what you need to know:

Day-one – employees will no longer have to wait until they’ve been employed for 26 weeks before making a flexible working request. You will be obliged to consider requests from the first day of employment.

Responding to requests – the current three-month time period to respond to flexible working requests is set to be reduced meaning you’ll need to provide a quicker response.

Refusing requests – if you turn down an employee’s request, you will need to provide an explanation and suggest an alternative work arrangement. Subject to tomorrow’s full announcement, your refusal is likely to need more robust, objective justification than the current reasons for rejecting a request.

We’ll update you once the full detail has been provided and when we know the new right is set to come into force. If you need support in managing future flexibility and flexible working requests, Intelligent Employment is here to help. Find out more.

 

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

Avoiding holiday headaches

Posted on: September 20th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

If you’re facing a build-up of colleagues with untaken leave, whether because of restrictions on travel or a busy trading period, here are a few things to consider. 

Covid carry-over – rules were relaxed to allow employees to carry over 5.6 weeks’ holiday subject to their written agreement. If you haven’t secured their written agreement, only four weeks’ holiday can be carried over if it wasn’t ‘reasonably practicable’ for the employee to take holiday for reasons connected to coronavirus. Take advice on what’s considered ‘reasonably practicable’.

Reluctant holiday-makers – you have the right to require employees to take holidays by giving them twice as much notice as the holiday you require them to take (or whatever is in their contract).

Communicate – if you have a build-up in the final months of your holiday year, communicate early how you’d like employees to approach booking their time off during that period.

Buy-back – if you have a generous holiday scheme meaning it’s even more of a struggle for everyone to fit in their holidays, you could always offer to buy back holidays (provided that in doing so you don’t take the employee below statutory minimum holidays of 5.6 weeks).

Rest and recharge – encouraging employees to take a break throughout the year gives employees an opportunity to recharge and is a health and safety requirement under the Working Time Regulations.

If you need advice or support in managing potential holiday headaches, Intelligent Employment is here to help – find out how.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (21 September 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.

Gender pay gap reporting – 4 October deadline

Posted on: September 15th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

If you had 250 employees or more (on the 5 April 2020 snapshot date), you have until 4 October 2021 to report your gender pay data. 

Narrative – it isn’t compulsory to accompany your data with a narrative, however it’s potentially the more powerful of the two. It gives you an opportunity to explain any negative data and your plans to address it, or shout about your successes and what you’ve achieved.

Enforcement – the deadline has been extended due to the pandemic (from 4 April 2021) meaning any enforcement action against those who fail to report won’t commence until 5 October 2021 onwards. You are still encouraged to publish your report in advance of the October deadline if you’re able to.

Steps to address – the Chartered Management Institute has released a guidance toolkit to support businesses to address any pay inequality. Suggested action includes anonymising CVs and application forms, providing a flexible working culture, and enhancing and encouraging uptake of shared parental leave – you can find the full guidance here.

If you subscribe to Intelligent Employment, you’ll find a GPGR flowchart and checklist in our document platform (here). If you’d like to find out how to access our platform of compliant and commercial documents and templates (and more!) – get in touch.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (15 September 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.

Menopause – time to talk

Posted on: September 14th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

In the run-up to World Menopause Day (18 October), which aims to raise awareness of support available to women experiencing the menopause, we explore why it’s time to talk…

Counting the cost – almost 400,000 women in the UK have left or considered leaving their career because dealing with symptoms at work was too challenging. Losing women at the peak of their careers could be damaging for productivity, morale, diversity, and also hit your bottom line.

Lost productivity14 million working days are estimated to be lost each year as a result of time out needed to manage menopausal symptoms. No two womens’ experience is the same so discuss and understand how to support individuals to carry out their role in comfort.

Tribunal claims triple – claims referencing the menopause have tripled in three years, showing an increasing likelihood of challenge from employees if they feel they’ve not been adequately supported or treated fairly during this time.

Closing on 17 September, The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee is asking for submissions to their inquiry into the extent of discrimination relating to menopause in the workplace.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at what claims can be made, what you can be doing now, and what to expect on the horizon.

 

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