Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Courier Wins Holiday Pay in Gig-economy Ruling

A cycle courier working for the delivery firm CitySprint has won the right to paid holidays and minimum pay after being wrongly classed as self-employed. A tribunal ruled that CitySprint had unlawfully failed to award holiday pay to Mags Dewhurst and had wrongly classed her as a self - employed freelancer.

Dewhurst,who has made deliveries for CitySprint for more than two years,does not receive a guaranteed wage ,sick pay or holiday pay,because the company considers her an independent contractor.The tribunal found that her formal employment classification should be as a worker , and,as such entitled to paid holiday,the national minimum wage and potentially sick pay.



Heavier Fines For Sexist Dress Codes?

Employers that enforce sexist dress codes could be in line for stricter punishment and fines,if the Government follows recommendations set out in a new report.

The report ,prepared jointly by the Women and Equalities Commission and the Petitions Commission, entitled High Heels and Workplace Dress Codes,recommends that the Government "takes urgent action to improve the effectiveness of the Equality Act" and that employment tribunals should be able to ask for more effective remedies,such as financial penalties,for those employers who breach the law.

It says:"It is clear that there are not currently enough disincentives to prevent employers breaching the law. Penalties should be set at such a level as to ensure  that employees are not deterred from bringing claims,and to deter employers from breaching the regulations".

An enquiry was triggered last year by a receptionist,Nicola Thorp,who set up a parliamentary petition to make it illegal for companies to force employees to wear high heels to work.She had been sent home from work after being told it was her agency's "grooming policy" for women to wear two-to-four inch heels.Her petition received more that 150,000 signatures.


Thursday, 27 October 2016

Brexit Implications For Employment Law

Despite reassuring  statements from David Davis,Britain's newly- appointed Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, that existing employment law would not be radically changed once the UK leaves the EU,it would be wise for UK organisations to take protective measures against likely amendments to some workplace  laws once the Brexit process is complete.

Many of the employment law protections which came from EU law are firmly embedded in the UK's legal and ideological framework - such as protection against unlawful discrimination , but there are areas of potential change which businesses would be sensible to address now.

Here are some possible sectors to consider:

Immigration : Free Movement

Following the vote , the EU said the UK must continue to allow the free movement of EU workers if it wanted to trade with member states after its withdrawal.UK politicians have suggested that a points - based system could be used to govern EU migrants coming to the UK in the future

The Government however has recently stated that it expects the legal status of EU nationals here,and UK nationals in member states,to be "properly protected" as a result of negotiations to leave the EU and that, until the UK's exit,there will be no change to the existing operation of the EU's free movement rules.

These rules do not require EU nationals to register for any documentation , and the statement confirms that EU nationals automatically have permanent residence rights after five years in the UK and have the option of applying for British citizenship after six years.

Transfer of Undertakings  (TUPE)

The UK's transfer  regulations exceed the requirements of the EU directive by including  "service provision changes".The block on harmonising  terms and conditions following the Tupe transfer (which originates in EU case law) may come under scrutiny.For instance, organisations   entering into contracts for services need to be aware that it is possible,albeit quite unlikely,that  the TUPE regulations will no longer apply when the contract eventually terminates.

Data Protection

The EU General Data Protection Regulations 2016 have to be implemented in the UK by May 2018. Even if withdrawal is complete by that time,the UK will still need to comply with cross-border data protection laws if it wants to keep its EU trading partners.

Equality: compensation cap

We may see a cap on discrimination  compensation but many equality laws ( for example those  on sex,race and disability,and on equal pay) predate the UK joining the EU and are unlikely to be repealed.

Holidays / working time

The UK's  statutory paid holidays (5.6 weeks) go beyond the EU minimum (20 days) and are unlikely to be repealed,but the Government may wish to amend the rules on calculating  holiday pay and on opting out of the 48 - hour week.We could see a rash of holiday pay claims,supported by the UK trade unions,in an attempt to have those claims heard before any change in the Working Time Regulations by the UK Government.

Unfair targeting of employees

It is important that employers make it clear to their  European  workforces that targeting UK or EU nationals because of Brexit cannot be tolerated. Employers should consider sending out very clear communications to employees on this matter and,if necessary,should ask employee and union representatives  to assist in drawing these up.

Impact of cost of living changes.

There is likely to be a request from  organisations for their senior staff to be insulated against any decrease in the value of the pound,or any increase in the UK cost of living. European companies may also need  to react to any slowdown in the UK economy,and possibly across Europe,and to familiarise themselves with the changes that could occur in UK employment law after the Brexit  break.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Former Employee Prosecuted For Unlawfully Obtaining Client Data

An employee who illegally transferred information about company clients to his email account before starting to work for a competitor,has been prosecuted by The Information Commissioner's Office ( "ICO").The employee sent the sensitive information including personal data and purchase history of hundreds of customers of the waste management company he was working for to his personal email address.

The unlawful obtaining or disclosing of personal data or the information contained in personal data is a criminal offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.This follows the  ICO taking action earlier on this year under the same section after an ex-employee of the insurance company ,attempted to get an existing employee to sell customer data to him.

Written by John Price


Friday, 9 September 2016

May Challenged to Protect Employment Rights

A challenge has been issued to Theresa May to provide commitments that employment rights provided under EU law will be protected following Brexit.

The challenge comes from a new cross-party group set up by pro-remain MPs,chaired by Labour MP,Chuka Umunna.The Vote Leave Watch group warns that a range of rights - including protection for young workers for annual leave and rest breaks - could be lost after Brexit unless the Government draws up new laws to replace them.

He has written to Theresa May after commissioning the House of Commons library to list the employment rights that currently arise  due to the UK's membership of the European Union which,he says,would "fall away" on departure from the union.

Vote Leave Watch says that  the Government could preserve workers' rights by passing legislation to replace EU laws,such as the working time directive,that will cease to apply to the UK upon Brexit.It also calls on the Government to conduct an audit of all instances where decisions of the European Court of Justice have created greater legal employment rights for British workers,and then commit to enshrine these rights in law

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Corbyn Calls For Employment Law shake-up

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a shake-up of employment law, to improve the rights and protection of workers, in the wake of the collapse of BHS and the treatment of its employees. 

Corbyn said it should be mandatory for employers with more than 250 staff to bargain collectively with unions, in a law change that he claimed would be the best way to guarantee fair play. 

The move was announced after shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, said that "firm new laws are now needed,” following the treatment of BHS staff. 

McDonnell said there  was a need for "criminal sanctions" to deal with rogue employers who have been convicted  of what would be a "corporate irresponsibility" offence under Labour's plans.This would apply where it had been proved that a firm's employees had been treated callously and recklessly. 


Thursday, 7 July 2016

Tips on Reducing Your Alcohol Intake

Recently the UK government changed the guidelines on safe alcohol consumption. Whereas previously the safe weekly limit was 14 units for women and 21 units for men, it is now 14 units for both sexes.

If you regularly consume more than 14 units a week – the equivalent of six average strength pints of beer or ten 125ml glasses of 9% ABV wine –  you may want to cut down.
It’s quite easy to do if you think ahead and follow these simple tips.
Make an easy-to-follow plan

Before you go out or open that first bottle, set yourself a limit and stick to it.
Create a budget and stick to it If you’re out and about, take a set amount of cash and leave your bank card at home.

Tell friends and family
Tell them that you’re cutting down on your drinking and ask them to support or even you.
One day at a time If you prefer, cut back a little at a time, so if you have a drink every day, switch to every other day.

Undersize yourself

No-one’s saying you can’t enjoy a drink, but how about opting for a bottle of beer rather than a pint, or a small instead of a large wine?
Lose some strength
Look at the ABV in % on the bottles you buy. You might be surprised to see your favourite wine is 14%, so try another that’s 12%.

Stay watered

Drink at least a pint of water before you have your first drink. This prevents you from trying to quench your thirst with alcohol (which doesn’t work). Throughout the night, have a soft drink or more water.

Give your liver a rest

Promise yourself two or three nights a week when you can drink and experiment with non-alcoholic cocktails on the other nights.

Don’t underestimate yourself

You may drink more than you realise – it’s easy to lose track, so keep a diary over a week and see what you can eliminate.

The benefits

Immediately you’ll feel better – no hangovers in the mornings, as well as much more energy and clarity. Your skin will start to look younger and smoother after just a couple of weeks and you will notice some weight loss. You’ll also be at less risk of prosecution for driving under the influence, so you won’t be needing drinkdrivesolicitor.com

Longer-term you’ll find your moods improving. There are strong links between heavy drinking and depression or anxiety. If you are prone to feeling low, alcohol will make it worse, not better.

You’ll also sleep much better as alcohol messes with your sleep patterns and prevents you from deep sleep. You’ll feel like you’ve actually rested when you wake up if you don’t drink.
You might also find your general behaviour improves – alcohol can make you irrational, argumentative or aggressive and you may also have memory problems.

If you’re a long-term heavy drinker, your heart can become enlarged and while the condition can’t be cured, you can partly reverse it or at least stop it progressing by quitting alcohol. Your immune system will also improve.