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Can an employer make their employees take holiday?

Hannah Maxwell
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With travel plans disrupted this summer, most employees will be hesitant to use their holiday allowance until the current restrictions are lifted.  Employers are keen to have workers working rather than on holiday, especially as the business starts to...

New insolvency provisions and the impact on suppliers

Tracey Dickens
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This Act came into force on the 26 June 2020. The Government has been looking at amending the Insolvency Act 1986 ( “1986 Act” ) for some time now. Following the acceptance that the world was facing a pandemic, the Government announced it was...

Flexible furlough - one thing you might have missed

Julie Temple
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I am sure many, business and employees alike, are looking forward to the flexibility under the coronavirus job retention scheme from 1 July 2020 and the possibilities it brings. However, there is one important restriction that might have been overlooked and...

How furlough is changing from 1 July 2020

Julie Temple
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We've known some of the details since the changes were announced in May and guidance released earlier this month. Further guidance was released on 12 June 2020. What follows is a summary of how furlough will operate from 1 July 2020 and collated...

My experience of volunteers' week - #HRTogether

Julie Temple
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On 1 June, around 5pm, I finished presenting an online event for the Essex and Ipswich branch of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development rounding up Covid-19 legal issues for HR professionals and managers.  I checked my phone and accepted...

Coronavirus: Family leave and furlough

Julie Temple
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Since the announcement that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June, and the last day to place ‘new’ employees on furlough is 10 June 2020, confusion has come to the fore about those on family leave.  We...

Notice pay during furlough

Reggie Lloyd
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Employers may be considering making redundancies and employees may be notified that they are to be made redundant. Both will be keen to understand what payment they should receive if the employee is on furlough. How is notice pay calculated if an employee...

Furlough and flexible furlough - limitations and corrections

Julie Temple
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From 1 July onwards, the maximum number of employees that can be claimed for in any period cannot be higher than the maximum number that have been claimed for in a previous period. For example, if the highest single claim for periods up to and including 30...

Important changes to furlough and self-employed support scheme

Julie Temple
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On 29 May 2020, as part of the government daily briefing, the Chancellor announced the awaited details of how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) (or furlough scheme) will change come 1 August 2020.  The headlines are that: For June and July...

COVID-19 sick pay for employers

Reggie Lloyd
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The reclaim scheme put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic for some organisations to reclaim statutory sick pay is now live (26 May 2020). Broadly, employers who had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020, are eligible to reclaim up to two...

IR35 and off-payroll working rules update

Julie Temple
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It seems like a lifetime ago we were discussing and preparing for the implementation of changes to IR35 and off-payroll working rules from 6 April 2020.  On 17 March 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the government took the welcome step to delay the...

COVID-19 - returning to work and the next steps

Reggie Lloyd
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The Government set out revised guidance on 10 May 2020. It said where employees could do so they should work from home but where that was not possible employers are encouraged to get employees back to work in a safe environment.   If employers are...

Return from Furlough

Reggie Lloyd
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Government has said that it is important for businesses to carry on during this crisis. Some businesses are starting to reopen or seeing workload increase and looking to employees to return to the workplace, having worked from home or been on furlough under...

Employment guidance from 13 May 2020

Julie Temple
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Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 10 May 2020, guidance was issued late on 11 May 2020: Our plan to rebuild - The UK government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy  New guidance launched to help Brits safely back to work  ...

Attending work meetings during furlough

Julie Temple
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Whilst on furlough, employees cannot work for or on behalf of their employer. Guidance says work is any work that: makes money for the employer or any organisation linked or associated with the employer provides services for the employer or any...

Disciplinary, grievance and consultation meetings during furlough

Julie Temple
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HMRC guidance issued on 30 April 2020 relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (or CJRS, or the furlough scheme) clarified that employees on furlough (acting as representatives or companions) can carry out their duties and activities as a companion...

Employment after Covid-19: what will this look like?

Julie Temple
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For most, but not all, the ‘crisis’ stage of the Covid-19 pandemic is over and both business and employees are starting to reflect on what has happened and, more importantly, focus on what is to come. When and how the lockdown will be lifted? ...

New points-based immigration system

Reggie Lloyd
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Following Brexit, there will be changes to the way in which all migrants come to the UK to work. From 1 January 2021, free movement will end and a points-based immigration system, applying equally to EU and non-EU citizens, will be introduced.  Under...

Can employees refuse to return to work because of COVID-19?

Reggie Lloyd
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Some employees may be concerned about being required to work, or being asked to return to work, during the COVID-19 crisis. This is especially as the Secretary of State said that COVID-19 posed a serious and immediate threat to health on 10 February 2020. ...

How the furlough scheme works for office holders and LLP members

Tracey Dickens
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On 4 April 2020, the government updated its guidance for employers in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which enables employers to claim for employee wages, up to specified limits. The updated guidance addresses office holders, company...

The Coronavirus Act

Reggie Lloyd
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On 25 March 2020 the Coronavirus Act became law. One of its purposes is to ease the burden of frontline staff, both within the NHS and beyond. It provides for Emergency Volunteer Leave. The Act sets out a new statutory right for workers to take emergency...

Extension of IR35 postponed

Julie Temple
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The Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced on 17 March 2020 that the extension of the off-payroll working rules and IR35 will be postponed to 6 April 2021 . Broadly, IR35 was introduced to ensure that those who worked like employees paid broadly the...

Covid-19: Summary guidance for employers

Julie Temple
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14 May update The Prime Minister announced a change in the position on working on 10 May 2020. It represents a shift from “you should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must” to “work from home if you can, but .. go...

Increased compensation limits for employment tribunals

Julie Temple
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From 6 April 2020, new increased compensation limits for employment tribunals will come into force. Under the provisions of the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2019, the increases include a revised figure of £538 (currently £525) for...

Reforms to the off-payroll working rules

Julie Temple
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Government, on 27 February 2020, confirmed the reforms to the off-payroll working rules will be introduced from 6 April 2020. Nothing new there then. It has already been announced that the changes will apply only to services provided on or after 6 April...

Coronavirus guidance for employers

Julie Temple
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The Prime Minister has said coronavirus could spread 'significantly' and, potentially, a fifth of the workforce could be off sick at its peak. I understand the situation is of growing concern to individuals and employers alike.  At work, both...

Parental leave decision

Julie Temple
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Last year, in the case of Chief Constable of Leicestershire v Hextall, the Court of Appeal decided that it was not discriminatory to pay men on shared parental leave less than a woman received whilst on maternity leave. Hextall asked for permission to...

IR35: Government announces review into off-payroll working

Charlotte Holman
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The government has announced that it is launching a review into the implementation of changes to the off-payroll working rules. In an official statement, it said, ‘the review will determine if any further steps can be taken to ensure the smooth and...

Ethical veganism is a "philosophical belief" rules Tribunal

Charlotte Holman
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A Tribunal has determined that ethical veganism is a ‘philosophical belief’ and is capable of protection from discrimination. Jordi Casamitjana, an ethical vegan, claims that he was treated less favourably by his employer because of his...

Directors' personal liability - breach of employment contract

Tracey Dickens
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There are a number of circumstances where directors can be subject to personal liability arising from their wrongdoing while managing a company. These can include: breach of duties under the Companies Act 2006 wrongful trading under the Insolvency Act...

How much for legal advice on a settlement agreement?

Reggie Lloyd
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Often queries are raised when a solicitor is asked to sign a settlement agreement and they give a fee quote of £500 or more to do that work. It is sometimes assumed that the solicitor merely has to “rubber stamp” the agreement by signing...

Garden leave and restrictive covenants

Julie Temple
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Just over a year ago, I worked my last day at a firm I had worked at for 13 years. I had given notice and, in accordance with my contract, I was put on garden leave. I wasn’t able to say goodbye to clients how I wanted. I wasn’t able to hand...

Relationships in the workplace - what are your rights?

Julie Temple
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According to news reports, McDonalds has fired its chief executive for having a relationship with an employee. This relationship was in breach of its policy on conflict of interest. The reports don’t give any details about the other employee, but they...

Are you liable for your employees out of hours?

Julie Temple
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A recent case concluded that a business was not liable for a private social media post made by an employee out of hours and using their own equipment. We discussed the implications of this case at recent HR Forums and the reaction was, it’s fair to...

Banning out-of-hours email 'could harm employee wellbeing'

Julie Temple
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The University of Sussex has recently reported that banning out-of-hours email could actually be more harmful to some employees. They concluded, as I suspect most will have anticipated, that preventing access to work emails out of hours may help some but...

Contract termination: legal battle with Rugby Australia

David Feakins
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Israel Folau, a rugby player who was recently sacked by Rugby Australia following his homophobic comments made on social media, has had a controversial GoFundMe page shut down. Folau had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in May, after he said,...

Supporting employees in the LGBT community

Julie Temple
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In recent times, gender pay, sexual harassment and especially mental health in the workplace have been under the spotlight for good reason and with positive effect. However, there is always more to be done and always other things which are just outside or...

Presenteeism - an increasing challenge for employers

Julie Temple
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Two recent reports, one by Vitality in January 2019 and one by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in April 2019, have highlighted increases in so-called “presenteeism”.  Presenteeism refers to employees attending...

Trustees - More time off work?

Tim Field
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As a charity trustee it can often be difficult to find the time to juggle your job, personal and family life along with the strict duties involved in being a trustee. In order to address this problem a group of MPs have put forward a proposed amendment to...

Automatic unfair dismissal

Reggie Lloyd
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In most cases an employee must have acquired 2 years’ continuous service before they can make a claim for unfair dismissal. This is commonly known as “ordinary” unfair dismissal. However, there are over 25 exceptions to that rule where an...

Women in law: Progression to Partner

Julie Temple
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Julie Temple , Partner and Head of BLHR and Employment team at Birkett Long, tells us about her career in law, what has changed, and what needs to continue. When did you start your career in law? My career in law began when I started at Birkett Long...

Employment Tribunal compensation limits increase

Charlotte Holman
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From 6 April 2019, new increased compensation limits for employment tribunals will come into force. Under the provisions of the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2019, the increases include a revised figure of £525 (currently £508) for...

Morrisons faces equal pay backlash

Charlotte Holman
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Female employees are claiming that they are not paid the same as male workers who are doing comparable jobs at supermarket giant Morrisons. The claims which are being made relate to the difference in pay between employees who work on the shop floor, who are...

Protection against redundancy for expectant and new parents

Julie Temple
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On 25 January 2019, the government launched a consultation on plans to tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination. This is part of a series of measures being considered following the so-called Taylor Review. The consultation proposes to require...

Regulations coming into force

Julie Temple
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The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 come into force on 6 April 2020.  The Regulations implement some changes recommended in the ‘Good Work Plan’ published on 17 December 2018. So...

Directors are often also workers and employees

Alan Massenhove
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It can easily be overlooked that in England & Wales a person who is an executive director of a company will often also be a worker, under the Working Time Regulations 1998 and an employee of the company, under the Employment Rights Act 1996 and various...

The National Minimum Wage

Reggie Lloyd
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In July, the gov.uk website stated that a record 22,400 workers would receive millions in back pay. Employers who pay workers less than NMW must pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates and face financial penalties of up to 200%...

How hot is too hot for UK workers?

Amy Scholtka
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“Unions say action needed to protect UK workers in heatwave’’    The Trade Union Congress is pushing for a legal maximum temperature in the workplace, with a high of 30 degrees for indoor work environments and 27 degrees...

National Minimum Wage (NMW)

Reggie Lloyd
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This month has seen two significant National Minimum Wage (NMW) issues in the headlines. On 6 July the gov.uk website stated that a record 22,400 workers would receive millions in back pay and on 13 July the Court of Appeal in Mencap and Tomlinson-Blake...

Parental bereavement: leave and pay

Charlotte Holman
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Parliament has passed a new law this week, dubbed ‘Will’s Bill’ in honour of the campaigning carried out by Colchester MP Will Quince. The Bill creates a statutory right to time off work for employed parents, with pay, where eligibility...

Auto-Enrolment - Minimum pension contributions increase

Charlotte Holman
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Under the Pensions Act 2008, the minimum pension contributions by both employers and staff are required to increase over time.  Currently the employer’s minimum contribution rate is 1% alongside the staff contribution rate which is set at 1%....

Discrimination towards pregnant women in the work place - are they a burden?

Charlotte Holman
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The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (the EHRC) survey reveals a worrying trend in employers’ attitudes towards the rights of pregnant women and new mothers. The EHRC has published the results of a survey with the aim of trying to...

A chill wind blows into employee relations...

Charlotte Holman
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With heavy snowfall across the country following the arrival of the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma, we are told to expect continued travel disruptions along with school and office closures. But what do the adverse weather conditions mean...

Employees prefer alternative working arrangements

Charlotte Holman
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Recent research published by YouGov has revealed that if workers had a choice they would prefer their working day to start and finish earlier, rather than work what has become the conventional ‘9 to 5’ pattern. This is not surprising in view of...

Gig economy - workers' rights to be enforced

Reggie Lloyd
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In response to last year's Taylor Review into working practices, the government has promised an overhaul of employment rights to improve conditions for those in the gig economy. The Business Secretary, Greg Clark, said the measures would "address...

Mental health and the workplace

Reggie Lloyd
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In October 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Health published a review of mental health and employers. The review was written by Paul Farmer (the chief executive of Mind) and Dennis Stevenson (the former HBOS chair). They...

Tesco and Sainsbury's make changes which will cause job cuts!

Charlotte Holman
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This week both Tesco and Sainsbury’s announced changes to their business models which included a high number of job cuts; but what does this mean for those employees who now face the potential prospect of losing their jobs? Given that the number of...

GDPR - being aware of any exemptions or adjustments

Tracey Dickens
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While the GDPR will be directly applicable in all EU members states with effect from 25 May 2018, a new Data Protection Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech has started its route through parliament.  The Bill will replace the Data Protection Act...

NON COMPETE CLAUSES

Reggie Lloyd
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Businesses should protect themselves with a review of restrictive covenants regularly, to make sure they are appropriate to the role which the employee is carrying out. Businesses often put restrictive covenants and non-compete clauses in contracts of...

The right to be forgotten

Tracey Dickens
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The Government is ramping up its visibility of this new law. Failure to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation could result in your business receiving a heavy fine.  Businesses that deal with consumers need to: 1. Be aware that their...

PHE commissioned the ONS to analyse suicide statistics

Reggie Lloyd
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Public Health England (PHE) is an agency of the Department of Health, with a brief to advise and support government, local authorities and the NHS in a professionally independent manner. PHE is  responsible for making the public healthier and reducing...

The Controversy of Being Neutral

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The recent judgment of Achbita v G4S Secure Solutions NV C-157-15 on Tuesday 14 March 2017, saw the conclusion of the controversial case regarding prohibiting the wearing of headscarves for religious reasons in the workplace. Ms Samira Achbita was a...

Hot or Cold

Liz O'Mahony
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As Britain exceeds over 32c today a proposal has been made by MP’s to pass a law advising employers that if the temperatures should rise above 30c they should send their employees home. The proposal has been raised in a parliamentary motion lead by...

Elite firms exclude bright working class

Liz O'Mahony
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Elite firms 'exclude bright working class' A recent news item – covered by BBC news – pointed out that the five of the elite London law firms showed a clear bias towards the privately educated at their partner/associate/trainee...

Firm faith - letting God run your company

Reggie Lloyd
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From a recent BBC article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33405579  it seems that, before a Chinese real estate company’s board makes important decisions they pray to God; the chairman saying that it is not him but God who is running the...

Christian health worker says NHS made her 'look crazy'

Tim Ogle
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‘Christian health worker says the NHS made her look crazy’ A Christian health worker has said she was made to look “a bit crazy” when an NHS trust disciplined her for allegedly trying to convert a Muslim colleague. Miss Wasteney...

Employment issues as haulage firm is put into administration

Tim Ogle
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I was disappointed to read on BBC news that Deben Transport has been put into administration with about 200 staff to be made redundant. That will trigger the minimum 45 day redundancy collective consultation obligations (once 90 days) and hopefully those...

I'm still standing...

Tim Ogle
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In reply to BBC News article – Office workers ‘too sedentary’ Apparently, all us office workers are spending far too much time sitting down at desks at work and it is “one of the biggest” challenges in health today, risking...

Employment law issues of the Jeremy Clarkson affair

Tim Ogle
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1. Was he employed by the BBC? 2. Assuming he was, the non renewal of a fixed term contract is a dismissal in law and therefore a sacking it was. 3. If the facts widely reported are true then a dismissal is, legally at least, not a surprising result, and...

There ain't such thing as a free holiday

Tim Ogle
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The joys of holiday pay and calculating it have taken another step today with an employment tribunal’s decision that holiday pay should include an element for an employee’s commission. This is done by inserting new words into the Working...

Changes to flexible working

Tim Ogle
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It was announced on Wednesday that, from 30 June 2014, any employee with 26 weeks service can make an application to work flexibly.  Currently only parents of children under 17, or 18 if disabled, can make such an application. The basic right...

Equal Pay Act claims finally reach the private sector?

Martin Hopkins
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In a development which I have been warning my large employer clients about for some years, it seems that employees in the private sector are finally waking up to the potential to bring Equal Pay Act claims against their private sector employers. Over 400...

Will the Labour government abolish tribunal fees?

Tim Ogle
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I see today that there is Twitter talk about a Labour government abolishing employment tribunal fees… This has been something of a contentious part of the government’s recent tribunal reforms, with detractors saying that they are a barrier to...

Fall in employment tribunal claims - down to introduction of fees?

Martin Hopkins
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In some combative language, to say the least, Matthew Hancock, the Minister for Education and Business, has commented on the recent drop in the total number of tribunal cases. Recent figures show a 79% fall in the number of tribunal cases for the last three...

Employment Tribunal Compulsory Conciliation rules

Tim Ogle
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The Employment Tribunal Compulsory Conciliation rules have been published, confirming that early conciliation will come into force on 6th April 2014. Under the new rules, claimants will need to contact Acas before issuing a tribunal claim, albeit there is...

Newsflash: Unison's challenge of tribunal fees rejected by High Court

Reggie Lloyd
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Unison’s challenge to the lawfulness of the introduction of tribunal fees is rejected by the High Court. The Court said that proceedings will be expensive but not to the extent that bringing claims will be virtually impossible or excessively difficult....

Zero hours contracts - consultation launched

Tim Ogle
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The government has launched a consultation on zero hours contracts. It seeks evidence on the use of such contracts and views on possible options. The consultation identifies the two main concerns posed by zero hours contracts as exclusivity clauses and a...

Unemployment in the East of England is falling

Tim Ogle
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It is good to see that unemployment in our region has fallen by 23,000. The government will no doubt say that this is due to the growth stimulus measures that have put in place recently, designed to encourage employers to take employees on without the fear...

Zero hours contracts - Perhaps not the holy grail for employers!

Tim Ogle
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Zero hours contracts just can’t get out of the news! – although this time the nature of the contract is largely irrelevant to the point in issue which regards holiday pay, and whether a ‘relevant agreement’ can specify a token sum to...

Zero hours contracts - "a fair deal"

Tim Ogle
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I see that following the BIS’s information gathering on zero hours contracts, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has announced that the Government will launch a consultation on tackling suspected abuse, to ensure that employees get ‘a fair...

Rugby team heavily beaten

Tim Ogle
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Zero hours contracts are much in the news right now, but I certainly didn’t expect them to get on to the sports field. Apparently, part of the reason why Holyhead recently lost 181-0 to Llanidloes in the welsh rugby Swalec Div 3 North game was because...

Employment Law update - New regulations

Tim Ogle
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I see that the Government has stated that the moratorium exempting businesses with fewer than 10 employees from new regulations will be extended to firms with up to 50 staff, and will continue beyond 2014. Firms will also be exempted from new regulations if...

New employment tribunal rules

Tim Ogle
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Most of the new employment tribunal rules will come into force on 29 July 2013, including fees for claimants to pay when presenting a claim. Will the introduction of fees for the first time in this way continue the downward trend of the number of tribunal...

The all-new, improved employment contract

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As part of the Government’s move to try to make things easier for employers and to get the economy moving, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced a new idea – the “Owner-Employee” contract. This is a new type...

Plant Parts Ltd wins Queen's Award for Enterprise for a second time

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Plant Parts Ltd has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category for the second year running, which is a very rare achievement. They are one of only 8 companies in Suffolk and Essex to win the Queen’s Award for...

Working overtime for no pay? You've spent the first part of this year working every day for free!

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Today, 24 February 2012, is the TUC’s “Work Your Proper Hours Day”. So if you often work unpaid overtime, and you worked all your unpaid overtime at the beginning of the year instead of spreading it out across the whole year, apparently you...

1,000 jobs feared to be lost in Essex

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Petroplus, the owner of the Coryton oil refinery in Essex, has appointed administrators following its Swiss parent company filing for insolvency proceedings. They employ hundreds in our region and supply around 20% of fuel for London and the South East. ...

Seldon age case - decision due

Tim Ogle
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Look out for the decision from the Supreme Court today on the Seldon age case. The case concerns the forced retirement of a partner in a law firm but will be of relevance to all employers seeking to justify a retirement at any age of any member of staff....

Vince Cable announces proposals for biggest employment law shakeup in decades

Tim Ogle
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In an attempt to help businesses keep staff and employ others from the growing unemployment register, and after months of rumour, Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced the Government’s proposals for what is claimed to be the biggest shakeup of...

Challenge the red tape!

Tim Ogle
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We have all moaned about Red Tape and how it is preventing us from driving forward our businesses…but now is our chance to act! The Government has opened a three week consultation period for employment legislation under its ‘Red Tape...

Government update - employment changes?

Tim Ogle
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Interesting that as the Labour party talks about rewarding “good ” businesses and punishing “bad” ones, the Government has published on the internet (but not yet in any sort of press release) proposals to deregulate business.  ...

One notice period but two (unfair) dismissals?

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The EAT has held, in the case of M-Choice UK Ltd v Miss A, that where an employee is summarily dismissed whilst on notice then the summary dismissal trumps the notice period. The point had arisen because if the notice had run to its logical conclusion then...

"Just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love"

Reggie Lloyd
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Many taxpayers will despair at the news that the European Court of Human Rights has ordered the UK Government to present formal statements in four religious discrimination cases that have already gone through the English Employment Tribunals and Courts. ...

MEPs propose 20 weeks maternity leave at full pay

Martin Hopkins
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I note with interest, and some incredulity, the latest proposal coming out of the European Parliament that paid maternity leave be extended to 20 weeks full pay for employees in all member states. At a time when a number of European countries have crippling...

Summer Work and 'Interns': case update

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Summer is on its way (ignoring the odd shower) and that means the season of the ‘intern’ is here.  For many, unpaid work can be a fully rewarding and enjoyable experience, building confidence and affording the opportunity to make contacts...

The Bribery Act

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I’ve just been chatting to a colleague about the forthcoming Bribery Act 2010, particularly the effect of sections 7 and 8, for our employer clients (i.e. liability for the failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery). It seems logical to me...

Sickness absence going down

Tim Ogle
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I see from a sickness absence survey that from 2007 to 2010 there has been a steady fall in sickness absence, with the average employee now taking 5.0 days’ sickness in 2010 compared to 6.7 days in 2007, and 45% of employees took no days off through...

March Breakfast Club

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The upcoming Employment Breakfast Club meeting at Chelmsford (17 March) will be a fascinating one. The focus is, perhaps quite rightly, on how the impending changes to the default retirement age will affect individuals and businesses. The transitional...