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.

Spotlight still on financial well-being

Posted On: January 24th, 2023By |

Google searches for ‘cost of living’ have increased by 4,555%. Rising bills don’t seem to be disappearing fast so employees’ financial well-being remains a high priority as we move into 2023. Below is a few things you might want to think about…

Office migration a return to the office could be a cost-saving necessity for some employees. There’s no one-size-fits-all so a flexible approach allows agility and avoids employees potentially being left out in the cold. Here’s some more to think about.

Employee loans – something we’re dealing with more and more, and a complex question. If it’s something you’re willing to facilitate, consistency is key and introducing a policy will support implementation. We’ve covered the topic in more detail here and we’ve added a ‘loans policy’ to Intelligent Employment – find out more.

External support – there’s lots of great tools and support out there to help employees through challenging times. Whether that’s ‘bill priortiser’ tools, independent free debt advice, or general financial well-being tips – knowing where to signpost employees is key! We’ve covered lots of great initiatives in our ’10 minutes with’ The Money and Pensions Service – you can watch here.

Financial well-being policy – ensuring you have a financial well-being policy in place will help you create an environment where employees are able to share their concerns and understand the support available to them. Your policy can outline where employees can access support as well as company benefits schemes that may help reduce their outgoings (and more). You’ll find ours on Intelligent Employment.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss anything we’ve covered in more detail and how you can support your employees’ financial well-being. 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (25 January 2023), 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.

New legislation to watch out for pt.3

Posted On: January 23rd, 2023By |

Here’s the third and final part of our series covering the need-to-know detail on the key legislative developments to watch out for in 2023:

A new UK data protection framework

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill proposes amendments to the UK’s incorporation of the EU’s GDPR. Key changes are expected to include the introduction of an exemption from data subject access requests where vexatious, greater flexibility when transferring data internationally and a move to an opt-out model for cookie consent. It is expected that those who’ve worked hard to develop GDPR compliant processes and practices will not need to completely revise their approach.

The Brexit Freedoms Bill

The Brexit Freedoms Bill means that all EU legislation retained after Brexit will be amended, repealed, or replaced by the end of 2023 unless the government takes steps to preserve it. EU-derived employment laws such as the Working Time Regulations, TUPE, collective consultation requirements, and maternity and paternity protections could all be impacted depending on the government’s approach.

Next steps

Once we know more specific dates and timescales for the introduction of these legislative changes, we’ll update you further. Here’s pt.1 and pt.2 of this series if you need to revisit.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how these proposed changes might affect your business.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (26 January 2023), 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.

New legislation to watch out for pt.2

Posted On: January 18th, 2023By |

Here’s part two of the need-to-know detail on the key legislative developments to watch out for in 2023:

New and enhanced redundancy protections

Currently you’re required to offer a vacant, suitable alternative role (where one exists) to an ‘at risk’ employee on maternity leave in priority to anyone else.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill intends to extend the protection from the point you’re made aware of their pregnancy and up to six months after they return from maternity leave (where an employee has taken 52 weeks’ maternity leave). Similar rights will also apply to parents returning from adoption or shared parental leave.

‘Fire and rehire’ Statutory Code of Practice

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 (provided you follow a fair process).

The government have confirmed they’ll be publishing a new Statutory Code of Practice to provide practical steps for you to follow to ensure you engage in meaningful consultation when changing terms and conditions. The Code will not introduce an outright ban on the practice of ‘fire and rehire’, but is expected to mean:

  • Tribunals will need to take into account whether you have followed the Code and you should be ready to evidence you have done so; and

  • Tribunals may apply a 25% uplift in compensation if you unreasonably fail to comply with the Code.

Next steps

The government are yet to provide timescales for the introduction of this legislation, but we’ll update you as soon as we know more. In part three next week we’ll cover a new British data protection framework and the potential impact of the Brexit Freedoms Bill.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how these proposed changes might affect your business.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (19 January 2023), 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.

New legislation to watch out for pt.1

Posted On: January 11th, 2023By |

In this three-part series, we’ll give you the need-to-know detail on the key legislative developments to watch out for in 2023. Here’s part one:

Flexible working

The Employment Relation (Flexible Working) Bill includes the right to request variations to terms and conditions of employment (including working hours, times and locations). In addition the government’s consultation response signals the intention to create a more onerous consultation process before rejecting employee requests and the ‘day one’ right to flexible working.

Unpaid carer’s leave

The Carer’s Leave Bill will introduce a new entitlement for employees with caring responsibilities to take up to one week of unpaid leave each year to care for someone with an illness or injury (lasting at least three months), a disability, or old age.

Neonatal care leave

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill will introduce new leave and pay entitlements for employees with responsibility for children receiving neonatal care. The Bill will allow parents to each take up to 12 weeks of paid leave in addition to other leave such as maternity and paternity. It will apply to parents of babies who are admitted to hospital up to the age of 28 days and have a continuous stay in hospital of seven full days or more.

Next steps

There are no set timescales for the introduction of these Bills, but we’ll update you as soon as we know more. In part two next week we’ll cover a new statutory code on the practice of ‘fire and rehire’ and new enhanced redundancy protections.

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how these proposed changes might affect your business.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (11 January 2023), 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.

£1.7m award – unfair dismissal and disability discrimination

Posted On: November 11th, 2022By |

A tribunal has awarded £1.7m in compensation following a successful unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim. An employee lost access to private medical cover he relied on for cancer treatment after being made redundant. Here’s what you need to know.

Background 

An employee had suffered from cancer most of the time he’d worked for the employer. He relied on the employer’s private medical cover to manage symptoms and receive treatment (unavailable on the NHS). He was made redundant despite colleagues having alternative roles created – losing access to private medical cover when he lost his job. He was unable to find an alternative before losing his battle with cancer. The £1.7m compensation was awarded to his widow.

Practical takeaway 

Genuine consultation – the tribunal said there was a meaningless consultation process and no exploration of alternative roles. Take early advice on the appropriate consultation process to follow and save evidence of all consultation processes and discussions.

Loss of benefit – typically the loss of private medical cover won’t attract compensation as the NHS can continue the care. However in this case the NHS was unable to do so at the same speed and level of specialism. Do your homework and understand whether the loss of private medical cover is likely to result in a worsening of the employee’s condition. If so, you need to understand the potential financial exposure if any dismissal is considered unfair or discriminatory.

Get in touch if you need our advice or support.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (11 November 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.

People Pulse – when do you need to pool?

Posted On: November 9th, 2022By |

When you have more employees than the roles available, you may need to ‘pool’ those employees carrying out the at-risk roles to fairly decide who remains at risk. It’s usually the case that you’ll want to restrict the pool as much as possible. Here are our thoughts:

Be clear on the roles at risk – identifying which roles need to be pooled isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Do you have different job titles for the same roles? Have job titles and job descriptions failed to keep up with the roles individuals are actually doing? This all needs to be considered.

Identify the individuals carrying out the roles at risk – do a number of individuals interchange between different roles as they have a wide skill set? In which case would it be reasonable to include all such individuals within the pool.

Consider individuals at other sites doing the same at-risk roles – where individuals move around sites and all do the role that is at risk, consider whether each of those individuals needs to be pooled.

Bumping – if you haven’t heard of ‘bumping’ you’ll need to learn fast! Bumping occurs where an at-risk employee is retained in favour of an employee who isn’t at risk (usually as they have better skills for the retained role). While there is no obligation to bump, you need to consider whether it’s appropriate to do so and make a note of your thought process.

Consult – if you have more employees than the number of roles at risk you’ll need to consult on whether you should pool (as in this case). A fair redundancy process includes giving individuals the right to challenge the pool before scoring at-risk individuals.

If you need advice or support with ‘pooling’ employees, Intelligent Employment is here to help – find out more

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (24 November 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.

Are you sure your conversations are confidential?

Posted On: November 9th, 2022By |

A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision is a reminder that not all communication with advisers you’d deem confidential will be held by a tribunal as such. This decision highlights the need to exercise care if you’re not taking advice directly from a qualified employment lawyer as it may be required to be disclosed at tribunal. Here’s what you need to know.

Background

In the recent EAT decision, Citation Ltd (an HR advisory business) was forced to disclose their advice, which related to an employee’s request for flexible working and reasonable adjustments, as the advice was provided by an HR adviser rather than a qualified lawyer.

Practical takeaways

Legal advice privilege – if the advice that you take is covered by ‘legal advice privilege’ (LAP) it means the advice cannot be required to be disclosed at tribunal – sometimes very helpful if the advice is that you’re dealing with discrimination or unfair dismissal! If you’re working with a qualified lawyer the advice will be covered by LAP.

Disclosure risk – clearly, this case doesn’t mean that you should only ever take advice from employment lawyers. But, you do need to be aware of the risks of disclosure where you don’t.

If you’re unsure about whether your advice is covered by legal privilege or want to ensure that it is moving forward, Halborns can help – get in touch.

 

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

People Pulse – would you lend your employees money?

Posted On: November 9th, 2022By |

It’s a complex question but it’s one that’s been coming up more and more often over recent months. We’ve shared the positive steps you can take to support employees’ financial well-being in our ‘10 minutes with: The Money and Pensions Service‘.

But what do you need to consider when an employee asks for a loan and advance?

Agreed principles – you’ll need to debate at a senior level what support you’re willing to offer. Is it a blanket ‘no’, the offer of a single loan or a more flexible approach – they all have their challenges and opportunities.

Who to ask – you’ll want consistency in your approach to loans. Ideally, one or two individuals should understand your loan policy and be able to implement it.

How to request – ideally you’d have an online form that the employee completes explaining the amount they want to borrow, how soon they’ll be able to repay the amount and the reason for the loan. You also want to know by when they need the money.

Refusing requests – if you’re not able to offer financial support, do you have measures in place to ensure the employee doesn’t spiral downwards due to the financial pressure they’re under?

We’re adding a loan policy to our Intelligent Employment platform to help you explain steps employees must take to request a loan, any limitations, repayment arrangements and more. Find out how to access Intelligent Employment

 

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

Christmas party calamities

Posted On: November 9th, 2022By |

You’d think with an experienced team of employment lawyers there’s nothing we haven’t seen – but Christmas never fails to deliver! Trashed hotel rooms, affair confessions, and an employee left on a motorway hard shoulder…we could go on.

Here are our hints and tips on making sure the only turkeys are those eaten on Christmas day!

Inclusive invites – make sure everyone is kept in the loop and given the option to accept or decline events, including employees on family-friendly leave or sick leave. It may not be the intention to leave anyone out but an inclusive approach avoids potential discrimination arguments (this case highlights the point).

Best behaviour – there’s a low threshold for successful harassment claims so ensure you set the right tone from the top down and deal quickly with any unwanted behaviour.

People policies – a subtle reminder of your key people policies should help to reduce potential calamities (think behaviour outside of work, dignity and respect at work).

Aligning managers – ensure you’ve reminded managers of the people challenges that might come their way in December and the reputational risks and further consequences if they fail to deal immediately with team members’ inappropriate behaviour.

Get in touch if you need our advice or guidance – Intelligent Employment is here to help. 

 

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