Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 in force 1st December 2014

The final version of the Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 are available. They technically come into force on Monday (1st December), but they only work for babies born before April 2015.

Key points:

Employed mothers will continue to be entitled to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance.

If they choose to do so, an eligible mother can end her maternity leave early and, with her partner or the child's father, opt for Shared Parental Leave instead of Maternity Leave. If they both meet the qualifying requirements, they will need to decide how they want to divide their Shared Parental Leave and Pay entitlement.

Paid Paternity Leave of two weeks will continue to be available to fathers and a mother's or adopter's partner, however Additional Paternity Leave will be removed (Shared Parental Leave will replace it).
Adopters will have the same rights as other parents to Shared Parental leave and pay.

Shared Parental Leave will enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed for adoption. This could mean that the mother or adopter shares some of the leave with her partner, perhaps returning to work for part of the time and then resuming leave at a later date.



Thursday, 20 November 2014

ACAS early conciliation leads to limited success

ACAS have published their first six months figures which indicate whether The Government's big idea on conciliation is working.

Over the first six months, it has conciliated in 37,000 cases (of which about 1,000 were multiple claims, covering about 8,000 potential Claimants). The report's preliminary indications show that 18% of early conciliations resulted in a COT3.

ACAS claim that 58% did not progress to a tribunal claim but this must be difficult to monitor as employees will have at least a month to enter a claim. In the cases I have been involved in I have seen no monitoring of what happens after the conciliation period by ACAS.



Thursday, 13 November 2014

Employment tribunal not allowed to make enquires on its own behalf into evidence not volunteered by either party

In East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust v Sanders the EAT has held that a tribunal committed a procedural error in searching on the internet for evidence that supported a claimant’s case that she was disabled, and in relying on that evidence in its conclusions. The tribunal thereby gave the impression of bias against the respondent employer. This was compounded by the tribunal preventing forensic cross-examination of the witness claiming to be disabled and itself asking leading questions.

As an aside, Mr Justice Langstaff, President of the EAT, went on to raise a seemingly novel procedural issue. He pointed out that the bundle of authorities contained no marking of the passages that were to be relied upon.

Langstaff P warned that, in future, a party who turns up to pursue an appeal wishing to rely upon an unmarked bundle may be required to mark all the bundles before the case begins, and must be prepared to give sufficient time to the other side, especially if a litigant in person, to consider those passages. If this gives rise to a risk of the matter being part-heard or adjourned when it would not otherwise have been, then that party must be prepared to defend any resulting costs application.

EAT judgment


Monday, 10 November 2014

Employment tribunal decides attendance at union meetings is not 'working time'

Xperthr.co.uk reported this week that an employment tribunal found that attendance at union meetings is not "working time". Unfortunately this was not an EAT case but still interesting:

Edwards v Encirc Ltd ET/2412489/2013

Two trade union representatives working night shifts claimed that the time they spent attending union meetings during the day was "working time" and so they were entitled to an 11-hour rest period from the end of the meetings until the start of their next night shift. The employment tribunal rejected this claim.... report


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Overtime and holiday pay - Bear Scotland v Fulton (and conjoined cases) a filip for beleagured employees

 Employers should be aware that under the Working Time Regulations 1998, every employee is entitled to 20 days paid holiday a year, i.e. 4 weeks. Holiday pay is calculated on the basis of an employees normal working hours. For example, if you work a 35-hour week, then your holiday pay is based on 35 hours. However, if you are guaranteed 5 hours overtime each week, then holiday pay is calculated on the basis that your normal working hours are 40 hours week.
What happens if you work on average 5 hours overtime each week but it is not guaranteed? Up until recently, it would not have counted when calculating holiday pay. The judgment highlighted today has changed this although its auspices to not extend to not the additional 1.6 weeks under regulation 13A of the Working Time Regulations.

In April 2013, the Birmingham Employment Tribunal considered this issue in the case of Neal –v– Freightliner Ltd. It decided that Mr Neal's holiday pay should have been calculated by reference to his normal earnings, which included overtime and shift pay. The Employment Tribunal ordered Freightliner Ltd to pay Mr Neal additional holiday pay based on his overtime and shift pay.
Later in the same month, the Glasgow Employment Tribunal in the case of Fulton & Baxter –v– Bear Scotland Ltd followed the Neal decision

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has, today given judgment in Bear Scotland v Fulton (and conjoined cases).

There was a real fear prior to the promulgation of this judgment that employees may be able to claim there has been a chain of unlawful deductions in relation to EU statutory holiday pay.  That could mean they can claim back-pay going as far back as 1998, potentially including interest as well. Further, employees and ex-employees may attempt to recover back-pay by bringing a breach of contract claim. The issue of back-pay has even led to speculation that some employers may be forced out of business.s reaffirmed that workers are entitled to be paid a sum of money to reflect normal non-guaranteed overtime as part of their annual leave payments. Claims for arrears of holiday pay will be out of time however if there has been a break of more than three months between successive underpayments (subject to the usual 'reasonable practicability test').

In addition travel time payments, which exceed expenses incurred and so amount to additional taxable remuneration, also count when calculating holiday pay.

The government has set up a task force to look into the impact of the ruling on businesses.



Monday, 3 November 2014

The UK employment laws all UK businesses should know about - guest post

If the Conservatives win the next General Election, David Cameron has promised a referendum over Britain’s future in the European Union by the end of 2017. This has called into question what changes could be made to UK employment law.

If Britain does choose to remain in the EU and Cameron is able to successfully renegotiate the terms of Britain’s inclusion, which laws could be altered?

It is vital that all employers understand the current laws that might be altered, especially smaller businesses without corporate support. Here are a few of the current British employment laws linked to EU regulations.

The Working Time Regulations Act 1998

The Working Time Regulations Act 1998 supports the EU Working Time Directive and is the means by which UK break times and weekly working hours are monitored. The act dictates that:

·         Workers must work no more than 48 hours per week.

·         The mandatory right to annual paid leave is a minimum of 28 days, including public holidays.

·         The right to a minimum rest period of 20 minutes for any shift lasting 6 or more hours.

TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006

TUPE defends employees from changes that could occur when a business is sold or taken over. This protects from changes made by both the outgoing employer and the new employer taking control.

The Part Time Employees Act 2000

The Part Time Employees Regulations act of 2000 exists to assure that all employees working shorter hours are given rights and privileges equivalent to their full time peers.

The Agency Workers Regulations Act 2010

The Agency Workers act is in place to ensure that agency workers employed by UK businesses receive the same treatment as permanently employed staff.

Paid Parental Leave Act 2010

This act ensures that employees taking time out from work for childcare purposes are provided with paid leave, holiday allowances and the right to return to their job when the agreed period is over.

Equal Pay rights under The Equality Act of 2010.

The equality act ensures equal pay is granted to all employees performing the same job. This covers women’s right to earn the same as men, and gives self-employed workers the same rights as corporately employed employees. This law caters for:

·         Full and part-time workers

·         Employees on casual or temporary contracts

·         Apprentices

Various EU laws have caused disagreements between EU member states due to political, social and economic differences. This can be seen in Britain’s numerous attempts to block certain EU employment legislation and delay introduction of these laws.

Conservative plans to alter Britain’s dependence on EU law has led the Trade Union Congress to challenge Tory intentions, alleging they want certain laws to correspond with conservative agenda. The acts most frequently accused of being manipulated are the Agency Workers Regulations and Working Time Regulations acts.

Would you like to see Britain move away from EU employment legislation? Comment and let us know.

This blog was submitted on behalf of Nationwide Employment Lawyers; an expert UK law firm specialising in all areas of employment law. Visit their website for details: http://natemplaw.co.uk


Please note that whilst every effort is made to maintain accuracy of the content in this article; we cannot take responsibility for any errors. This author is not an Employment Lawyer or HR Specialist and this cannot in any way constitute a substitute for Employment Law advice. All facts should be cross-checked against other sources. Should you require specific Employment Law advice, then we recommend that you contact Nationwide Employment Lawyers.