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Archive for January, 2014

Friday 24 January 2014

Employment Law Bulletin January 2014


Happy New Year – and welcome to another twelve months of legal developments for HR professionals and employers.

The next few months promise excitement in the form of the new-look TUPE (more on this later), fines for employers who make mistakes with employment rights, mandatory Acas conciliation for tribunal claims, and extended rights to request flexible working.

That comes on top of last year’s changes, including tribunal fees, employee shareholders, changes to whistleblowing and of course the re-branding of compromise agreements as settlement agreements.

It looks like it is going to be a busy 2014 in the employment law world.

Ill-Health Dismissals

BS v Dundee City Council

Employee ill-health is one of the thorniest issues facing employers. It demands empathy and patience, balanced against commercial realities and the needs of the business. Perhaps the biggest challenge of all is in recognising when the end of the road has been reached and the employment relationship must be terminated.

Sunday-Working Requirement Discriminatory?

Mba v London Borough of Merton

The Court of Appeal has reminded employers that minority views matter. Even where an employee’s religious beliefs are not commonly held, they should not be disregarded. You need to be confident that you can justify instructions on good business grounds, if those instructions cause difficulties to those of specific religious convictions, and that there are no practical alternatives which achieve the same aim without causing difficulties for the employee.

Ring in the TUPE Changes

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) – the notoriously complex rules which require employers who take over a business, or take over certain contracts from another employer, to take on the employees who worked in the business or the contract acquired – are changing again.


Holiday Pay and Commission

ZJR Lock v British Gas

Holiday pay continues to be one of the most convoluted area of employment law.

Commission does not form part of holiday pay. Or does it?

An opinion from Europe has set the ball rolling towards resolving conflicting decisions on this.

Paid to Sleep?

Whittlestone v BJP Home Support

 Sleeping on the job has kept employment tribunals occupied for years. Employees working night shifts have long argued that even where they are not tending to clients, they are still ‘working’ and are therefore still entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (‘NMW’).

Subcontractor has Worker Status

Boss Projects v Bragg

Cases concerning employment status arise regularly, and all employers need to be aware that they could be next. The key message to take from these cases is usually the same: parties’ declarations about employment status are rarely worth the paper they are written on. Whether someone is a worker (and entitled to employment law protections) or not depends on the work they do day-to-day, and the true nature of their relationship with those they provide a service to.

And Finally….

We all remember those feelings, do we not? A child’s desperation to cling onto the tail end of the festive period; the sadness at packing away the baubles; the gut-wrench of going back to school.

Well, it can be tough for grown-ups too. But for those suffering from the debilitating effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), these winter months are far more than a time for just feeling a little downbeat. A form of depression, SAD affects disposition and energy levels. It can have a knock-on effect for employers, reportedly costing the UK 9.6 million workdays each year (Epson report).



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