Well we made it through our second year of publication, thank you for sticking with me! It is customary at the end of the year to do a round up of the years' news. So, who am I to disappoint? Besides, there's nothing new this month (December) that I haven't already covered. For the coming year we have the introduction of the "living wage" for over 25s in April. We expect the issue of paid travel time to be settled, one way or another and the inclusion of over-time and commissions to be counted in holiday pay. I'm deliberately keeping this edition short as I know you will have much to do, anyway, read on for details, and, as always, call me or mail me if you have any concerns or questions about this edition's content.
Kind regards, Paul
First The News:
Newsflash:Holiday pay to now include overtime payments and for mobile workers the first and last journey of the day to be counted as working time
In a land mark case that really hit the headlines, the EAT (Employment Appeal Tribunal) declared a judgment that holiday pay should reflect the "normal earnings" of a worker. So if a worker had regularly earned an overtime payment , this additional payment should be reflected in his holiday pay. This led to speculation that workers could claim an underpayment going back to 1998 (when the paid holiday legislation came in) and would spell ruin for many a business. In a collective sigh of relief, we were to learn that the court also judged that any potential claims where there was a 3 month gap between occasions could not be claimed. Effectively blocking any back dated claims. phew ! . So, watch this space, as they say!
Additionally this year we heard that a European (again!) judgement, ruled that for mobile workers, (eg plumbers, service engineers, any with a company expensed vehicle who travel to client sites to work) should be paid for their first journey ie. home to 1st call, and last journey, last call to home. Up to now, the norm is to only pay workers for when they actually start "work". So this will have an impact on the bottom line of most companies in this sector. However, nothing in the ruling says that the rate of pay for this journey time has to be at the workers normal rate, as long as it's not less than the NMW. full detailed story: read here
My Comment : Do remember, the law has not changed, these are merely landmark cases that may impact on how cases are decided in the UK.
Minimum wage went up as of 1st October
The annual increment in national minimum wage rates went up as of this day.The national minimum wage increased to £6.70, an hour the government announced.
The new rates were implemented as of 1st October and will benefit a million workers. Silent partner Jacob Marley said he had accepted a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission that the minimum wage should increase by 3%.It is the first time in six years that the rise will be higher than inflation. The rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will go up to £5.30 an hour, a 2% increase. The rate for those aged 16 and 17 will rise to £3.87, also a 2% increase. However , he rejected the proposal that Christmas Eve should also be declared a bank holiday.
He was, however, shocked to hear that as of next April, the "living Wage" (£7:20 hr) will be mandatory for those in work over the age of 25.
It was at this point he uttered his now well known catch phrase!
And finally tonight !
To all who take the time to read my offering, to those who mail in with your questions, and to all my clients and chums who bother to tell me they actually read this stuff, and find it useful, my heartfelt thanks ! May I wish you a contented and peaceful festive holiday with your families.
A light hearted look at some of the idiotic things we hear.
CASE 229 Vandals could sue if they hurt themselves A local Councillor has approached the panel with this query - We have been closing an area of the park at dusk, where the toilets and play equipment are located, because of vandalism. Some councillors have challenged this on Health and Safety grounds, as the "vandals" may get injured whilst climbing over the fence and they believe that the council would be liable. committees eh !
CASE 237 Health & Safety brings candy floss to a sticky end!
It has been suggested that candy floss should no longer be served on a wooden stick as this presents a potential health & safety risk !....... (Denied by the HSE by the way!)
As always my grateful thanks to the HSE website for their reports and items see them at:
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.
We are now well and truly in Autumn mode, but the prospects of any clarity in employment law is as remote as ever. We do know, national minimum wage went up on 1st October, we do know, the "living wage" will be introduced in April next year for employees over 25. As for how much we'll have to pay "1st & last journey" time, read this months' interesting item, it explains, that, whilst we may have to pay travel time, it does automatically mean the same rate of pay as for other "work" hours. The argument also extends to employees who work "on call", the rate of pay, need not be the usual workers rate, as long it meets the NMW.
Read on for details, and, as always, call me or mail me if you have any concerns or need more information about this edition's content.
Kind regards, Paul
First The News: Office banter or harassment? Seven case law examples: When barrister Charlotte Proudman tweeted what she described as a sexist message from a fellow lawyer on LinkedIn last month, she received broad support from people who agreed with her stand against everyday sexism. But she also faced harsh criticism from those who felt the message was harmless office banter, describing her public outing of the lawyer as a “feminazi” overreaction. LinkedIn is used by many to broaden their professional network. Charlotte Proudman felt that a fellow lawyer crossed the line when he commented that her profile picture was “stunning”. She said that she was on LinkedIn for “business purposes” and not to be approached by “sexist men”. This exchange received huge media coverage in the following days. Similar comments at work can lead to discrimination and harassment claims.
My Comment: I've said before, I don't just report this stuff, I sometimes actually experience it. When I worked in an office, involved in a mixed group organising an internal seminar, some young thing made reference to "delegates" , I simply said I thought delegates was a setting on my wife's washing machine....! You could have heard the intake of breath 4 floors up ! see the full list at
Newsflash: Company directors face criminal charges over redundancies : Former company directors in two separate organisations have been charged with criminal offences relating to their failure to follow redundancy consultation rules. The chief executive of retail group Sports Direct, David Forsey, was charged in October with a criminal offence for failing to comply with rules requiring the Secretary of State to be notified about the redundancies of employees in a depot of fashion division USC. About 200 employees were given 15 minutes’ notice by USC that they were to be made redundant.
Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, notice should be given to the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills by completing a form HR1, if an employer proposes to make 20 or more employees redundant at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less. Failure to do so is a criminal offence and the employer will be liable on summary conviction to a fine. Since 12 March 2015, the fine is unlimited (before that date the maximum fine was £5,000). Under the Act, employers also have a duty to consult with employee representatives at least 30 days before making 20 or more redundancies, or 45 days before making 100 or more redundancies. The Act also requires an employer that is planning to dismiss more than 20 employees in any one establishment, to give the Secretary of State the same periods of notice.
My Comment: This of course is big stuff, for major players, not likely to affect more modest businesses, but, it does represent a salutary lesson, that employment law is to be taken as seriously as, say, your VAT returns, it can cost your business heavily if you get the procedures wrong, which is the issue here. It's not the redundancy, it's the method used. read more at:
My Thanks to the excellent publication Personnel Today for this, see them at : And finally tonight! Travel time and on-call time are treated differently for the purposes of the national minimum wage and the working time legislation. The ECJ held that workers with no fixed place of work were “working” when travelling to their first assignment in the morning and travelling back home again at the end of the day.
However, contrary to some reports, the case does not have anything to do with how much people are paid when they are travelling to and from work – as the Court makes explicitly clear in its judgment. How much an employee is paid – and for what – is primarily a matter of contract. There is no obligation on an employer to pay an employee for each hour of work. For example, many employees work unpaid overtime. There is no doubt that it counts as working time, but that does not mean that they have to be paid for it. What matters is what the contract says. The only law we have on how much an employee is paid is the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 – with most of the detail now set out in the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/621). But the law on the national minimum wage does not require each hour of work to be paid at a particular rate. It requires that the average hourly rate of a worker should be at least the level of the national minimum wage.
My Comment: this issue will rumble on for a while methinks, courts, do not always make things clear, they merely arrive at a decision on the merits of "a particular case" WE are left trying to apply the decision to subsequent cases, with slightly different issues. read more at:
My thanks to Xperthr for this excellent and informative piece see more at :
A light hearted look at some of the idiotic things we hear.
a pub with no candles
Case 378 - A pub would not use all the candles supplied on a birthday cake for ‘health and safety’ reasons
A pub was provided with a birthday cake to bring out for a customer with candles that spelt ‘happy birthday’, but were told that they could not have all the candles on it for health and safety reasons.
What a party pooper! There are no health and safety reasons why the correct number of candles cannot be put on a birthday cake. Perhaps the cake wasn't big enough or they didn't have enough candles but using the old ‘elf n safety’ excuse has probably ensured no further happy returns to this particular establishment.
Case 312 - Chips can not be served in a paper cone Issue
When ordering chips from a chip shop to take away, enquirer's wife asked for her chips to be just put in paper and wrapped in a cone rather than have them served in the normal plastic type tray so they would be easier to eat and carry as they walked round the shops. However, she was told by the lady serving behind the counter... "We can't do that, it's against health and safety, in case you burn yourself on the chips". She was then advised that once they served them to her, she is more than welcome to remove the tray and wrap them up herself.
The customer made a perfectly sensible request and there is no health and safety reason which would prevent the shop proprietor doing as requested. Cases of poor customer service like this need to be wrapped up and thrown in the bin.
As always my thanks to the HSE site for these stories. see them at: