Monday, 30 June 2014

My periodic newsletter on all things employment law related that I think you should be aware of.
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Hello  *|FNAME|* ,
 I've said before that, as we approach the run up to a general election, politicians will come out with allsorts of opinions they think will make us,  see them in a better light. Well,   this month, there is actually some interesting changes.  Some of these changes will affect all businesses, some less so.  You need to be aware of them whatever your business.            Read on for details, and, as always, call me if you have any concerns about this edition's content.

Kind regards,     Paul 

First, the news:    FLEXIBLE WORKING REQUESTS...
AS from the 30th June 2014, all employees with 26 weeks service will have the right to request flexible working for any reason.   Read my simple guide for dealing with requests in the the most practical way.   I can draft for you,  a flexible working policy, request forms, reply letters and appeal letters, just let me know what you need.        read more

My Comment
  Well, we will just have to see won’t we? Employees have an amazing ability to come up with the most bazaar interpretations of new legislation, and I don’t expect this will be any easier to interpret!
Vince Cable announces that exclusivity clauses on zero hours contracts to be banned.      This is actually great news, as few employers use this aspect clause anyway, it does mean zero hours contract per se will remain quite lawful.       read more

My Comment:  
This is no surprise,  it’s been brewing for months,  sigh of relief though,  it’s as I thought, no threat to zero hours contracts per se.    It just means employers won’t be able to stop employees taking other work.
   No-one I’ve ever spoken to has ever had (or wanted) this aspect, it perhaps only ever existed in exceptional cases anyway

Court rules that minor offences be dropped from criminal records checks

A supreme court ruling has confirmed that job applicants will no longer need to disclose convictions for childhood or minor offences.       read more

My Comment: 
I do genuinely believe this to be fair,   amongst all the posturing and grand statements that we get from politicians as we run up to a general election,  this little item has a ring of common sense about it.   

And finally tonight !   
Whilst the rest of the world was watching the football,  I found this little gem on employment law in BRAZIL,   sad ?   I know. But here's 10 ten things you didn't know about employment law in BRAZIL.   read more
meanwhile;   back home:.....
A new system for enforcing tribunal awards: an 'enforcement officer' will give a 28-day warning notice if a tribunal award remains unpaid. If the monies are not then paid by the Respondent, a 'penalty notice' will be issued. The penalty is 50% of the outstanding amount, subject to a minimum of £100 and a maximum of £5,000. If the full sum, and the penalty, are then paid within 14 days, the penalty is reduced by 50%. The penalty is payable to the Secretary of State, not the Claimant

Age discrimination: £700.000 payout for oder drivers dismissed over insurance costs.
In Wright and others v Purple Parking Ltd, an employer that dismissed drivers over 67 after claiming its insurance provider would not insure them has admitted liability for age discrimination and unfair dismissal midway through the drivers’ case and has been ordered to pay more than £700,000 to 20 drivers

Sacked employee wins Yellow Pages case:
 A former salesman for Yellow Pages has been awarded almost £14,000 after being unfairly dismissed, despite having received two written final warnings, according to the Scottish Herald.

Former Tuck Shop lady at Shrewsbury school arrested after "going berserk" on cricket pitch:
 A woman who won her unfair dismissal case against a leading public school after being sacked from her job in the tuck shop has been arrested after “going berserk” and driving her car onto the cricket pitch at high speed, reports the Daily Telegraph

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Health& Safety Myths

A light hearted look at some of the idiotic things we hear.
CASE 285    Cafe refused to top tea in same cup, for health & safety reasons:    The enquirer was having a cup of tea in a café and was told he could not have a second cup poured into the same cup - instead it would have to be supplied in a new clean one.
CASE No. 231   Coffee bar refused to serve hot water for tea on "health & safety" grounds.
The enquirer asked to be provided or to buy a cup of hot water at the coffee bar at her local Hospital. She wanted Earl Grey tea which they did not have but said she was happy to pay the price of ordinary tea because she had her own teabags. She was told that she could not be provided with just hot water because of 'health and safety'.

 The information contained in these pages is an HR overview and not intended to be comprehensive legal advice, always seek specific qualified advice before taking any action that could lead to litigation.   Equally, were we have provided links to external web pages, we are not responsible for the content of other sites.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Ten things you didn’t know about employment law in Brazil

Even if you are not a football fan,  the eyes of the world are on BRAZIL,  so,   here's a few things maybe you didn't know about being an employee in that country.

1. Employing foreign nationals         Organisations with three or more employees that employ foreign nationals must ensure that at least two-thirds of their workforce is Brazilian. Foreign nationals require a visa to work in Brazil.

2. Be aware of quotas
Employers with 100 or more employees are required to employ a minimum quota of employees with disabilities or who have undergone rehabilitation by the social security authorities.
3. “13th month payment”
Every year, employees are entitled to be paid a “13th month” of salary by their employer. This is also known as the Christmas bonus and is paid in two instalments.
4. No annual leave without 12 months’ service
Staff are not able to take paid annual leave until they have completed 12 months’ service with their employer. They are only able to take “collective” holidays (where an employer imposes holiday that all employees must take at the same time).
5. Redundancy doesn’t exist
There is no legal concept or definition of redundancy in Brazil. An employee who is dismissed due to the employer’s financial difficulties, insufficient work or a company restructuring would face a “dismissal without cause”, and this entitles him or her to a notice period and severance package.
6. Use of agency workers is limited
Employers can only use temporary agency workers in certain circumstances – where they need to meet an exceptional increase in workload or cover employees who are absent. Temporary work agencies must be registered with the Ministry of Labour and Employment to be able to employ workers and assign them temporarily to “user” companies.
7. Positive action is permitted in certain circumstances
Brazilian employment law permits, although does not require, organisations to adopt temporary “positive action” measures aimed at establishing equality between women and men. They are allowed to launch initiatives to correct “distortions” that affect women’s access to employment, working conditions and training.
8. Employer contributions
All employees have an account with the national Fundo de Garantia do Tempo de Serviço (Service Guarantee Fund), into which their employer must pay the equivalent of 8% of the employee’s pay per month. Employees are entitled to withdraw the balance as a severance payment in certain circumstances.
9. Contracts can be terminated at any time
An employer or employee can generally terminate a contract at any time without any particular reason, providing proper notice is given. There are protections for those in certain circumstances, such as pregnancy or maternity.
10. No obligation to  inform or consult
There is no general statutory obligation to inform and consult employees or their representatives. Trade unions do not have a general right to be informed and consulted, for example on collective redundancies or business transfers. If they are, this entitlement will be based only on collective agreements.

My Comment:  As always,  the grass will seem greener over the fence,  but there's not much here to make our lives any easier.      web-page

Business grounds for rejecting requests for flexible working

If an employer decides to reject an employee’s request to work flexibly, it must do so for one of the
following business reasons:
  • the burden of additional costs;
  • an inability to reorganise work among existing staff;
  • an inability to recruit additional staff;
  • a detrimental impact on quality;
  • a detrimental impact on performance;
  • a detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand;
  • insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work; and
  • a planned structural change to the business.
The line manager must not reject a request for any other reason.
For example, an employee works in a call centre between 8am and 4pm. She has submitted a request to work between 10am and 6pm to avoid peak-time traffic. The employer has discussed the request with the employee. However, it does not feel able accommodate the employee’s proposal as the hours that they currently work are when the company receives the most calls from its customers, and seeing as the company is already short-staffed, it does not feel that it can cope with a reduction in staff working at the time that the employee works. The employer can reject the request on the basis that the change in the employee’s working time would have a detrimental effect on the company’s ability to meet customer demand. It could also reject the application if, because of a shortage in staff, it would be unable to reorganise the employee’s work.

My Comment :    Well,   we will just have to see won’t we?    Employees have an amazing ability to come up with the most bazaar interpretations of new legislation,  and I don’t expect this will be any easier to interpret!   see webpage