Wednesday, 1 March 2017

MARCH 2017 EDITION OF 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  colleagues, readers and chums ! ,

Firstly this month, a correction,  last months headline stated : Following the UBER case, now the CITY LINK case,    then when you read the text, clearly it was about  CITY SPRINT,   my apologies if it mislead anyone, and thanks to my son for pointing it out !
Main news this month is the increase in NMW and Living Wage rates and most other benefits and entitlements.   These apply from April 2017,  which is a slight change in normal practice when they used to apply in October.  See my free download below which has been updated.
       This month fast food company Deliveroo have joined the general forum on the "self-employed or not"  (the so-called "Gig Economy") debate by giving evidence at the Work and Pensions Select Committee Enquiry.   It looks like this issue will rumble on for a while..

           Read on for details of this months reports 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: 

Deliveroo chief: Directly employed staff would restrict flexibility

Business models that rely on self-employed contractors would have to restrict the flexibility they offer if they were forced to directly employ people, according to Dan Warne, managing director of Deliveroo.
Warne appeared before the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s inquiry into self-employment and the gig economy yesterday, alongside representatives from Uber, Hermes and Amazon.
Speaking at the inquiry, Warne defended Deliveroo's business model. “If they [Deliveroo drivers] weren’t self-employed we couldn’t offer them the same level of flexibility that we currently do,” he said
My Comment:  my thanks to HR magazine for this piece,  read the full article on my blog
 

 
Newsflash:       Trade Union Act 2016

  Six statutory instruments have been made under the Trade Union Act 2016, which now make it clear the Act will come into force on 1 March 2017 (even though everyone knew that anyway).

The Trade Union Act prohibits industrial action (more accurately, the industrial action will not be protected by law and thus can be stopped by an injunction) unless there has been a ballot turnout of at least 50%.

In important public services, including in the health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors, an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all eligible members must be met for action to be legal.

My Comment:   I'm (I suppose)  apolitical ,   that is I swing from one view to another depending on the issue,  I've been an employee and been treated badly,   and I've been an employer and been badly let down by employees,   but on balance I believe in "society".   What I mean is,  I object to pickets intimidating others who want to go to work,  I object when essential services affect the public,  and I'm suspicious of trade union "big-wigs"  possibly furthering their own career with extreme views. So, on balance,   I welcome this ruling, the only thing that is missing now is legislation to COMPEL management/unions to make agreement,    it must be possible? 
 

 

 

And this,   just in: 

Facebook has announced that employees can now take up to 20 days of paid leave if an immediate family member dies. 

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who lost her husband in 2015, said: “We need public policies that make it easier for people to care for their children and ageing parents and for families to mourn and heal after loss.   
“Companies that stand by the people who work for them do the right thing and the smart thing – it helps them serve their mission, live their values, and improve their bottom line by increasing the loyalty and performance of their workforce.”
The policy extends to allow employees to take up to 10 days’ leave to grieve an extended family member, and six weeks to care for a sick relative. The social network has also introduced “family sick time” – three days to take care of a family member with a short-term illness, such as a child with flu.
But the widespread publicity around Facebook’s generous bereavement leave policy has raised the question of “how long is enough when a family member dies?”, and has highlighted how subjective issues around bereavement can be.

My Comment:  this was an interesting survey,  and the response doesn't surprise me as we move toward a more "informed/aware/caring"  work society, on balance a good thing,  but we'll see.
My thank to HRexpert  for this piece.  read the full item on my blog
 

 


Download of employee pay rates,  NMW, "living wage" and other benefit entitlements:

Additionally:
In you need further in depth help working out what exactly counts as minimum wage,  the DBIS has produced this 55 page guide,

"Calculating the minimum wage"     
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Health& Safety Myths

A light hearted look at some of the idiotic things we hear.

Issue

Employer stopped proving funds for alcoholic drinks at Christmas night out (offsite), citing health and safety.

Panel opinion

While the employer may have a proper concern to discourage staff from overdoing it where it is funding a night out, claiming health and safety legislation as the reason for its refusal to fund Christmas party drinks on a staff night out is incorrect.

 


Issue

A recycling centre manager requested that children be removed from their parent’s car and taken outside the centre to wait as they are not allowed on site for health and safety reasons.

Panel opinion

There is specific industry guidance which clearly states that “children should stay in the car” at civic amenity sites, so this is a badly misinformed myth.  It is also a dangerous myth, in that the “health and safety” excuse used could have led to a greater risk to the children. Managers at waste and recycling sites should know their industry standards much better than this.

 


 

Issue

A mum had to leave a café as the manager banned the use of dummies for young children and babies for health and safety reasons.

Panel opinion

Health and safety at work legislation does not stop babies using dummies in cafes. This appears to be the café’s company policy which according to the press article they relate to strict food hygiene guidelines.The cafe should clearly explain the reason behind their policy rather than dumbing down the issue and blaming health and safety.

 

Bereavement and compassionate leave: What’s the right thing to do?


Facebook has announced that employees can now take up to 20 days of paid leave if an immediate family member dies.        
Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who lost her husband in 2015, said: “We need public policies that make it easier for people to care for their children and ageing parents and for families to mourn and heal after loss.
“Companies that stand by the people who work for them do the right thing and the smart thing – it helps them serve their mission, live their values, and improve their bottom line by increasing the loyalty and performance of their workforce.”
The policy extends to allow employees to take up to 10 days’ leave to grieve an extended family member, and six weeks to care for a sick relative. The social network has also introduced “family sick time” – three days to take care of a family member with a short-term illness, such as a child with flu.
But the widespread publicity around Facebook’s generous bereavement leave policy has raised the question of “how long is enough when a family member dies?”, and has highlighted how subjective issues around bereavement can be.
Some individuals cope better with grief than others, for example, while certain employees might have been particularly close to an “extended” family member and require a longer period to adjust.
In a small minority of serious cases, such as the death of an employee’s child, a more bespoke and phased approach may be needed to return to work.
A spokesperson for Damsons, a company that specialises in wills, funeral planning and estate administration, said: “For many, returning to work can be a positive distraction and a chance to regain routine.
“However, if pressured back into work before they are ready, there is a chance that the employee won’t be very productive and it may even cause a delay in the grieving process, so how can business calculate the length of paid leave? Policies should be flexible and scalable to accommodate each individual’s circumstances.”
According to Acas, the Employment Rights Act 1996 gives employees a day-one right to have “reasonable” time off to deal with an emergency, which could include a bereavement involving a dependant. But how do employers tend to deal with bereavement on a practical level?
In 2014, XpertHR ran a survey on compassionate leave arrangements, which included the following findings.

The average number of days granted for compassionate leave is five

When asked “What is the maximum number of days’ paid compassionate leave employees at your organisation can take per year?”, the mean response was 5.2 days. Among the top 10% of respondents in terms of leave offered, the average period was 10 days.
XpertHR’s findings reflect the CIPD’s research on bereavement, stating that most employees get five days’ paid leave to deal with such emergencies.

Most employers have a formal policy on compassionate leave

More than three-quarters of respondents to XpertHR’s survey said they had a compassionate leave policy in place, but there was still a sizeable proportion (around a fifth) who claimed they made ad-hoc arrangements when necessary.
Having a formal policy was more likely in the public sector, where 84.3% of respondents reported doing so.

Compassionate leave tends to be paid

Almost 60% of respondents reported that they offered paid compassionate leave, while 37.7% said it was a combination of paid and unpaid.
Perhaps surprisingly, smaller companies (with fewer than 250 employees) were more likely to pay employees during time off to deal with personal circumstances – this was the case at 63% of respondents. Almost all employers offered full pay during this period.

Offering compassionate leave does not negatively impact the business

Respondents to XpertHR’s survey overwhelmingly reported that employees taking time out for compassionate reasons had no adverse effects. More than half (55%) disagreed and a further 29.4% strongly disagreed with the statement “We have experienced resourcing issues as a result of levels of compassionate leave taken by an employee”.
Companies that did not offer paid compassionate leave were more likely to have experienced resourcing issues, with 23% reporting this to be the case.

Policies such as compassionate leave support employee engagement

HR professionals seem to agree with Sheryl Sandberg’s thoughts on how supporting employees through personal issues can increase their loyalty and performance.
More than nine in 10 respondents said they either strongly agreed or agreed with the assertion that “Enabling employees to balance their work and home commitments increases employee motivation in the long term”. Only just over 3% of employers believed this not to be the case.

My Comment:  this was an interesting survey,  and the response doesn't surprise me as we move toward a more "informed/aware/caring"  work society, on balance a good thing,  but we'll see.
My thank to HRexpert  for this piece. 

Trade Union Act 2016

Trade Union Act 2016
                                                             
Six statutory instruments have been made under the Trade Union Act 2016, which now make it clear the Act will come into force on 1 March 2017 (even though everyone knew that anyway).

The Trade Union Act prohibits industrial action (more accurately, the industrial action will not be protected by law and thus can be stopped by an injunction) unless there has been a ballot turnout of at least 50%.

In important public services, including in the health, education, transport, border security and fire sectors, an additional threshold of 40% of support to take industrial action from all eligible members must be met for action to be legal.

My Comment:   I'm (I suppose)  apolitical ,   that is I swing from one view to another depending on the issue,  I've been an employee and been treated badly,   and I've been an employer and been badly let down by employees,   but on balance I believe in "society".   What I mean is,  I object to pickets intimidating others who want to go to work,  I object when essential services affect the public,  and I'm suspicious of trade union "big-wigs"  possibly furthering their own career with extreme views. So, on balance,   I welcome this ruling, the only thing that is missing now is legislation to COMPEL management/unions to make agreement,    it must be possible? 

Deliveroo chief: Directly employed staff would restrict flexibility

Gig economy bosses defended their business models at a Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry                                                                               

Business models that rely on self-employed contractors would have to restrict the flexibility they offer if they were forced to directly employ people, according to Dan Warne, managing director of Deliveroo.
Warne appeared before the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s inquiry into self-employment and the gig economy yesterday, alongside representatives from Uber, Hermes and Amazon.
Speaking at the inquiry, Warne defended Deliveroo's business model. “If they [Deliveroo drivers] weren’t self-employed we couldn’t offer them the same level of flexibility that we currently do,” he said. “We know they value it, but if we made them employees we would be restricted from providing them with some of the benefits our business likes to provide.
“Even those that work significant hours for us have flexibility they wouldn’t have as an employee, and that is a major reason they choose to work for us,” he added. “If they don’t show up for work there are no repercussions.”
However, the panel drew attention to a line in Deliveroo’s contract that states people are not allowed to take Deliveroo to court over their employment status, and questioned why such a clause would need to be included.
“In practice this is not something we enforce,” Warne said in reply.
The Committee is exploring the support that 'gig economy' companies offer their self-employed workforces, the extent to which they feel that they are responsible for providing support and whether they would like to provide more, and how likely 'gig' workers are to have to rely on the welfare system.
The inquiry coincides with research from Aegon that found many self-employed people are not taking adequate steps to prepare for their future retirement. The self-employed are excluded from auto-enrolment.
When it comes to planning, three-quarters (75%) of UK self-employed people are not regularly saving for retirement, placing them second bottom out of 15 countries surveyed. Just 15% of those polled said they felt very optimistic about having money to live on in retirement.
Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, urged the government to "plug the gaps" by extending auto-enrolment "to groups who currently miss out on an employer pension contribution, including the growing number of gig economy workers".
"Without this the schism between the privately pensioned and unpensioned will continue to widen and the government will have to look seriously at how it ensures these people reach retirement age with sufficient savings," she said.

My Comment: My thank to HR magazine for this piece see the full article on their page