Monday, 3 August 2015

AUGUST EDITION EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS

My periodic newsletter on all things employment law related that I think you should be aware of.
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Hello  << Test First Name >> ,
  
        I distinctly recall feeling a bit guilty for giving the JANUARY edition of "Employment Law News" a rest,  now look!    It's August,  and news is happening faster than I can publish it.  I should have known of course, and held back the JULY edition,  until the budget was out of the way.   Lots of new legislation to study, but mostly the introduction of a national "Living Wage" to cost out and allow for.
My comment is that if you have followed the NMW increases over the last few years, it was heading this way anyway, and they have 5 years to bring it up to speed,  so it's roughly where it would have been anyway!

              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:

WWCD (What Would Corbyn Do) ?  
Jeremy Corbyn, currently the joint favourite to become the next Labour leader, has published a quasi-manifesto document, "  Working With Women".                    

In it, he sets out the following employment law / HR related goals:-
 
  • abolishing employment tribunal fees
  • giving all workers unfair dismissal rights from day 1 (NB he uses the word 'workers', but it's not clear whether that is in a 'workers unite, comrade' sense or a more technical employee v worker v self-employed sense)
  • extend the 3-month limitation period for sex / maternity discrimination claim
  • mandatory equal pay audits for all companies, irrespective of size
  • strengthen trade union recognition and bargaining
My Comment:    If Mr Corbyn becomes Labour Leader,   and if Labour ever get re-elected,   be afraid folks, be very afraid.............!

As ever,   my thanks to the excellent Daniel Barnett website for this interesting piece.
 


Newsflash:   COMPULSORY NATIONAL

"LIVING WAGE"  TO BE INTRODUCED IN

APRIL 2016

A new minimum wage of £7.20 per hour will be introduced next April for all working people aged 25 and over, the Government has announced. 

In his first purely Conservative budget, George Osborne said that “Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise”.    The “national living wage” (NLW) will be compulsory and the Low Pay Commission (LPC) will recommend future rises, with the Government aiming for it to reach £9 an hour by 2020.              Osborne said that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) claimed the national living wage would have only a “fractional” effect on jobs. The OBR said that by 2020 there will be 60,000 fewer jobs as a result of the national living wage, but almost one million more in total.

 
“Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise” – George Osborne
 
 My Comment:   I don't really think this is such a bombshell,  it is spread over 5 years and if you follow the NMW rate increases previously,   this is only slightly ahead of what it might have been anyway.  
For full  details visit my blog page HERE
 

SUNDAY TRADING LAWS TO BE RELAXED 
 

Retail employees will see changes to their weekend working hours under plans to relax restrictions around Sunday trading to be unveiled in the Budget.        
    While current laws allow small shops to open all day on Sunday, those over 280 square metres can only trade for six hours.       But the Chancellor, George Osborne, will announce on Wednesday that mayors and local government will decide how long shops can stay open, bringing an end to the blanket six-hour rule in England and Wales that began in 1994. The rule was relaxed in 2012 for six weeks during the Olympic and Paralympic games.
The Budget is expected to include the launch of a consultation on devolving power over Sunday trading laws to elected mayors and local councils.      Osborne has said that there is a growing appetite for shopping on a Sunday. “The rise of online shopping, which people can do round the clock, also means more retailers want to be able to compete by opening for longer at the weekend. But this won’t be right for every area, so I want to devolve the power to make this decision to mayors and local authorities.

 
“This will be another part of my plan to ensure a truly national recovery, with our great towns and cities able to determine their own futures,” he commented.


My Comment:   the trade union comment simply reflects the usual union position of resisting anything that changes!     In this day and age,   the world is awake and trading around the clock, Workers already have protection under the WTD to limit hours.           For a more in depth review of the proposals go to my blog page HERE
 

 
 


DO THE AGENCY WORKER REGULATIONS OFFER AUTOMATIC JOB OFFER
 
Does EU law require that an agency worker in a temporary job be given a right to apply for that job, and/or get preference ahead of an employer's permanent employees?
No, held the EAT in Coles v Ministry of Defence, dismissing the Claimant's appeal and a request for a reference to the European Court of Justice.
The Claimant was an agency worker for the MoD. After redeploying redundant permanent employees, the MoD filled the Claimant's role, without offering him an interview for 'his' job. Whilst the Claimant had been informed of the vacancy, as required by the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, he maintained that the failure to allow him to apply for the post, and/or to give him preference ahead of permanent employees breached his right to 'equal treatment' in basic working and employment conditions under the Temporary Agency Worker Directive.


 

 


 

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Health& Safety Myths

A light hearted look at some of the idiotic things we hear.
Case 366 - A local pub can’t replace fried egg with scrambled as they can’t use a microwave due to health and safety

 

Issue

On ordering a cooked breakfast in their local pub, the enquirer was told they couldn't replace fried egg with scrambled egg as this would involve using a microwave which can't be done due to Health and safety.

Panel opinion

This is a cracking excuse! (sorry !  editor) Health & safety at work legislation does not prohibit the use of a microwave oven to make scrambled eggs. The company concerned acknowledges that it does not serve scrambled eggs because it has a centrally-determined menu. Instead of explaining this, "health and safety" has been given as the excuse, irritating the customer and leaving the company with egg on its face.  (ooh!    sorry again,   editor)

Case 367 - A lady fainted in a shop and the staff could not give her a glass of water because of health and safety
 

Issue

Whilst in a shop recently a lady fainted and the enquirer immediately went to assist. The enquirer heard the lady ask the very kind staff in the shop who had given her a comfy chair to sit in, for a drink of water. She was told sorry we can’t give you one - health and safety rules. The enquirer was wondering if this is a true ruling by H&S.

Panel opinion

Refusing the lady who had fainted a drink of water after she came round and was sitting up was a bizarre and ridiculous response. The panel is at a loss to understand why anyone could possibly think they could not do this for "health and safety". There is no such rule and it would have been quick and easy to accommodate the request.

 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.

Copyright © 2015 paul murray HR consultant, All rights reserved.
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Agency Workers Regulations

DO AGENCY WORKER REGULATIONS EXTEND TO  AUTOMATIC JOB INRERVIEW?

Does EU law require that an agency worker in a temporary job be given a right to apply for that job, and/or get preference ahead of an employer's permanent employees?    
 

No, held the EAT in Coles v Ministry of Defence, dismissing the Claimant's appeal and a request for a reference to the European Court of Justice.

The Claimant was an agency worker for the MoD. After redeploying redundant permanent employees, the MoD filled the Claimant's role, without offering him an interview for 'his' job. Whilst the Claimant had been informed of the vacancy, as required by the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, he maintained that the failure to allow him to apply for the post, and/or to give him preference ahead of permanent employees breached his right to 'equal treatment' in basic working and employment conditions under the Temporary Agency Worker Directive.

The EAT held that for agency workers, "the principle of equal treatment is confined to working time and pay", unlike the general right to no less favourable treatment of fixed-term employees. The right of agency workers to be informed of vacancies was a valuable right in itself. To refuse agency workers interviews would not breach any duty under the Directive.

The EAT refused to make a reference to the ECJ on whether the Directive required employers to provide opportunities for agency workers to find alternative employment beyond giving them information on vacancies.
 
Grateful thanks as always to Daniel Barnett's  site for this comment. 
 

 

WWCD (What Would Corbyn Do) ?


Jeremy Corbyn, currently the joint favourite to become the next Labour leader, has published a quasi-manifesto document, "  Working With Women".                     

In it, he sets out the following employment law / HR related goals:-
 

  •          abolishing employment tribunal fees
  •          giving all workers unfair dismissal rights from day 1 (NB he uses the word 'workers', but it's not clear whether that is in a 'workers unite, comrade' sense or a more technical employee v worker v self-employed sense)
  •          extend the 3-month limitation period for sex / maternity discrimination claim
  • mandatory equal pay audits for all companies, irrespective of size

  • strengthen trade union recognition and bargaining
My Comment:    If Mr Corbyn becomes Labour Leader,   and if Labour ever get re-elected,   be afraid folks, be very afraid.............!

As ever,   my thanks to the excellent Daniel Barnett website for this interesting piece.

Sunday trading laws to be relaxed


Retail employees will see changes to their weekend working hours under plans to relax restrictions around Sunday trading to be unveiled in the Budget.         
    While current laws allow small shops to open all day on Sunday, those over 280 square metres can only trade for six hours.       But the Chancellor, George Osborne, will announce on Wednesday that mayors and local government will decide how long shops can stay open, bringing an end to the blanket six-hour rule in England and Wales that began in 1994. The rule was relaxed in 2012 for six weeks during the Olympic and Paralympic games.
The Budget is expected to include the launch of a consultation on devolving power over Sunday trading laws to elected mayors and local councils.      Osborne has said that there is a growing appetite for shopping on a Sunday. “The rise of online shopping, which people can do round the clock, also means more retailers want to be able to compete by opening for longer at the weekend. But this won’t be right for every area, so I want to devolve the power to make this decision to mayors and local authorities.

“This will be another part of my plan to ensure a truly national recovery, with our great towns and cities able to determine their own futures,” he commented.

Research by the New West End Company – which represents retail businesses employing around 100,000 staff around London’s Oxford Street – has suggested that just two additional hours of Sunday trading could generate nearly 3,000 jobs in the capital alone.       But national retail chains could face a complex arrangement where individual branches are dictated by separate Sunday trading regulations.                     The last thing that retailers need is a race to open 24 hours a day, seven days week, resulting in a big increase in overheads and no increase in revenue through the tills” – John Hannett, USDAW.           James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said: “Giving local authorities the responsibility for setting Sunday trading hours will lead to inconsistency and confusion for businesses and shoppers.
“In areas where large stores’ trading hours are extended, we will simply see the same amount of trade spread over more hours and shifting from small stores to large stores, as was the case when the laws were suspended for the 2012 London Olympics, when overall retail sales actually fell. Existing Sunday trading laws are a popular compromise that balance the needs of consumers, shopworkers, small stores and families.”

Shop and betting workers currently have the right to opt out of Sunday working by giving three months’ notice to their employer, unless they were hired to work only on Sundays.      John Hannett, general secretary of retail union Usdaw, said that two recent consultations drew an  “overwhelmingly negative” response from retailers, customers and shop workers. And he described the trial of extended Sunday trading hours during the Olympics to be “an almighty flop”.
“Any proposal to extend Sunday trading hours misunderstands the retail sector,” he said. “The last thing that retailers need is a race to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, resulting in a big increase in overheads and no increase in revenue through the tills.

“We will vigorously campaign against such a proposal and we would be looking for the Government to learn from their two consultations and failed trial period by leaving alone the existing Sunday trading arrangements agreed by the main stakeholders in the retail industry.”

My Comment:   the trade union comment simply reflects the usual union position of resisting anything that changes!     In this day and age,   the world is awake and trading around the clock, Workers already have protection under the WTD to limit hours.

Compulsory national ‘living wage’ to be introduced in April 2016


A new minimum wage of £7.20 per hour will be introduced next April for all working people aged 25 and over, the Government has announced. 

In his first purely Conservative budget, George Osborne said that “Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise”.    The “national living wage” (NLW) will be compulsory and the Low Pay Commission (LPC) will recommend future rises, with the Government aiming for it to reach £9 an hour by 2020.              Osborne said that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) claimed the national living wage would have only a “fractional” effect on jobs. The OBR said that by 2020 there will be 60,000 fewer jobs as a result of the national living wage, but almost one million more in total.

“Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise” – George Osborne

The OBR has estimated that the cost to business will amount to 1% of profits. To offset that cost, the Government is cutting corporation tax to 19% in 2017 and 18% in 2020. Small firms will also benefit from a cut in their national insurance contributions.

“From 2016, our new Employment Allowance, will now be increased by 50% to £3,000,” announced Osborne. “That means a firm will be able to employ four people full time on the new national living wage and pay no national insurance at all.”

The national minimum wage currently stands at £6.50, rising to £6.70 in October. For those aged 25 and above, their hourly rate will rise to £7.20 in April 2016, an 11% hike on the current mandatory pay rate.         Alongside the Budget, the Government published an entirely new remit for the LPC.                To ensure that the rate of the NLW is set at a sustainable level and continues to take account of broader economic conditions, the LPC’s remit will require it to set the NLW in a way that reflects the growth in median earnings.            The LPC’s remit in relation to the NMW, which will now only apply to those under 25, will remain unchanged.  The Government will ask the LPC to set out how it will reach 60% of median earnings by 2020; based on OBR forecas

The current UK Living Wage, set by the Living Wage Foundation is £7.85. And the rate in London is already £9.15. Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said it was “delighted” that more than 2.5 million workers will receive a much needed pay rise. However, he asked, “Is this really a living wage?

“The Living Wage is calculated according to the cost of living whereas the LPC calculates a rate according to what the market can bear. Without a change of remit for the LPC, this is effectively a higher national minimum wage and not a living wage.”

John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, said: “This is a double-edged budget for business. Firms will welcome measures to balance the books and boost investment, but they will be concerned by legislating for wage increases they may not be able to deliver.”

Mark Beatson, chief economist for the CIPD, said that while the OBR claims the national living wage will have little net effect on employment, their forecasts rely on assumptions about future productivity growth that have proved wrong to date.

“This policy will only deliver higher pay without significant job losses if it is accompanied by a drive to increase productivity in low pay sectors such as retail, hairdressing, hospitality and the care sector – and that will need more than delivery of apprenticeship numbers or employment subsidies via the national insurance contributions system,” he commented.
My Comment:   I don't really think this is such a bombshell,  it is spread over 5 years and if you follow the NMW rate increases previously,   this is only slightly ahead of what it might have been anyway.