Thursday, 1 June 2017

JUNE 2017 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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                                        EDITORIAL

Hello  readers & colleagues  ,

Well,   by the time you read my next newsletter we will all know who is governing the country, We seem to have been having non-stop politicians of one colour or another on our TV's and newspapers for the last year,  and whilst I once opined that we live in interesting times, even I'm getting a bit fed up with it all now!  If only we could just get on with it.   Anyway, here in the world of employment law, there are "noises off" indicating that some legislative changes may be in the pipeline,  depending of course on who gets in!.    If you have a minute, grab a coffee and a piece of cake and read the item on expecting the right to fixed hours.  It's quite a read, (hence the coffee and cake advice) but very interesting, and, I must say, sounds quite fair and balanced on the whole.      However............

           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:
 
Expect a right to request fixed hours :

Workers on zero hours contracts could be given the right to request a move to a fixed number of hours.                                                              

That is according to reports suggesting that Matthew Taylor’s review into modern employment practices, due to be published this summer, will recommend a new right for workers on zero hours contracts to secure a guaranteed number of hours.
The right to request more hours will be similar to regulations such as the right to request flexible working, as employers will have to provide “serious” business reasons to refuse the request.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) backs the idea; the suggestion is one of the recommendations it has made in its submission to the Taylor review.
But sources have told the BBC that Taylor has been impressed by last month’s move by McDonald’s Restaurants to offer its 115,000 workers on zero hours contracts the option of moving to fixed contracts with a minimum number of guaranteed hours.
McDonald’s has been piloting the option for guaranteed hours for staff at 23 restaurants and has reported that 80% chose to remain on zero hours contracts, while 20% opted for a fixed number of hours.

My Comment,   I'm not at all surprised,  we still have a way to go!   read the full piece on my blog         My thanks to Personnel Today for this article 

 
Newsflash:

Labour would launch unskilled migrant visa, according to leaked policy :

Labour would launch a policy to allow unskilled migrants into the UK after Brexit, according to a draft policy paper that has been leaked to the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
The paper suggests that Jeremy Corbyn’s party, if it won the forthcoming general election, would
bring back a special visa scheme for people seeking “low skilled, unskilled and seasonal work” in the UK.
The new visa path would be known as Tier 3, and is one of five original tiers of immigration visas drawn up by the Labour Government in 2008, which aimed to attract foreign workers into the UK to do low-paid jobs not favoured by British workers.
However, it never came into force because of an influx of workers from Eastern Europe.
Reports also suggest that the leaked policy would put an end to rules preventing foreign spouses coming to the UK if their partner earns less than £18,600 per year.
The plans did not appear in the manifesto, but Corbyn has already indicated he would introduce a “fair immigration system” without elaborating on the numbers. However, they do appear to contradict a pledge that Labour would legislate to ensure that employers recruiting workers from abroad do not undercut workers in the UK.
Some industries would likely welcome the policy, if it came to fruition. A House of Lords committee recently concluded that without access to EU labour, agriculture and food manufacturers in the UK would face severe difficulties and that there would not be sufficient local labour to fill the shortfall.
The Conservative party has pledged to bring migration down to tens of thousands over the course of the next parliament. If the party wins the election, it plans to double the current Immigration Skills Charge to £2,000 a year per employee by 2022.

 

My Comment:   as always in these times, we really don't know what to believe anymore !     read the full piece on my blog  and thanks to Personnel Today for their always good material

 

 

 

And this,   just in: 

E-cigarettes in the workplace: an employer’s guide to vaping :

In July 2007, England introduced its smoking ban, following the rest of the UK in banning the use of cigarettes in indoor workplaces. Ten years on and employers are sometimes unsure how to approach electronic cigarettes, which are not covered by the ban. In this good practice guide to e-cigarettes in the workplace, Sarah Silcox looks at the evidence on vaping, policy and practice, and the legal considerations.                          

The use of electronic cigarettes, or “vaping” as it is often described, has grown quickly in the past five years and about 2.8 million adults in Great Britain now “vape”.
The vast majority of these are smokers or ex-smokers, but concerns remain about whether or not vaping might normalise smoking, particularly among young people.
The rapid growth in e-cigarette use is an issue for the workplace, and employers need to consider its impact on both existing smoking policies and cessation programmes.
This guide covers the following:
  • The growth of vaping and the evidence around its safety and other risks.
  • Employer policies on the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace, including guidance from Acas, the Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England.
  • The role of e-cigarettes in cessation programmes and wider employee wellbeing.
  • The regulatory framework covering e-cigarettes, including a new EU Tobacco Products Directive and recent case law.
  • The potential for regulatory changes in the future.
The full guide is available from Occupational Health & Wellbeing
Download your free guide to vaping in the workplace now
 
vaping-guide
 
my thanks to Personnel Today for this item see the article here read more


My Comment:  this is interesting,  many clients ask me the legal position with regard the use "E's",  my answer's always quite clear,  it is not  work, so is a "break" and you are free to dictate whether you choose to permit it or not.  This piece also on my blog read more


 

 


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

Issue

The enquirer visited a racecourse as a spectator. While she was there, a steward confiscated her parasol because it posed a health and safety risk. She was told that someone could use it as a weapon.

Panel decision

There is clearly no health and safety issue here - many of us carry umbrellas with points when we travel on crowded public transport every day without incident. The racecourse has a clear policy which states that they reserve the right to refuse articles being brought into the event. On this occasion someone judged that a parasol could be used as a weapon - a bizarre decision and certainly not health and safety.
 

Issue

A national museum is hosting a 'sleepover' event and has advised those attending that they can bring a foam mattress to sleep on but not an inflatable one on the grounds of health and safety.

Panel decision

There is no health and safety legislation which would prevent the use of air mattresses and the panel can think of no health and safety reason behind this decision. The Museum should be challenged to give its real reason rather than offering the health and safety excuse.

Issue

A custard pie fight at a local event has been cancelled because the event organisers could not get insurance on the basis that the activity is too dangerous.

Panel decision

What a pantomime! There are no health and safety reasons to stop a good old fashioned custard pie fight. It's hard to imagine what risks would render such harmless fun uninsurable.
We think this over the top risk aversion should be greeted with a big "boo!!!"
 
 

Labour would launch unskilled migrant visa, according to leaked policy



Labour would launch a policy to allow unskilled migrants into the UK after Brexit, according to a draft policy paper that has been leaked to the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
The paper suggests that Jeremy Corbyn’s party, if it won the forthcoming general election, would
bring back a special visa scheme for people seeking “low skilled, unskilled and seasonal work” in the UK.
The new visa path would be known as Tier 3, and is one of five original tiers of immigration visas drawn up by the Labour Government in 2008, which aimed to attract foreign workers into the UK to do low-paid jobs not favoured by British workers.
However, it never came into force because of an influx of workers from Eastern Europe.
Reports also suggest that the leaked policy would put an end to rules preventing foreign spouses coming to the UK if their partner earns less than £18,600 per year.
The plans did not appear in the manifesto, but Corbyn has already indicated he would introduce a “fair immigration system” without elaborating on the numbers. However, they do appear to contradict a pledge that Labour would legislate to ensure that employers recruiting workers from abroad do not undercut workers in the UK.
Some industries would likely welcome the policy, if it came to fruition. A House of Lords committee recently concluded that without access to EU labour, agriculture and food manufacturers in the UK would face severe difficulties and that there would not be sufficient local labour to fill the shortfall.
The Conservative party has pledged to bring migration down to tens of thousands over the course of the next parliament. If the party wins the election, it plans to double the current Immigration Skills Charge to £2,000 a year per employee by 2022.
This charge applies to Tier 2 work visa workers, who must earn more than £30,000 per year and work in one of the Government’s priority occupations, which includes engineers and nurses.
Labour has refused to confirm or deny whether the leaked policy plans will go ahead if it wins the election. A spokesperson said: “As part of our work in exploring the options, a number of discussion papers have been produced. This is part of one such document. It is not a statement of Labour policy, which is set out in our manifesto.”

Again my appreciation to Personnel Today for their always informative articles read more

E-cigarettes in the workplace: an employer’s guide to vaping


In July 2007, England introduced its smoking ban, following the rest of the UK in banning the use of cigarettes in indoor workplaces. Ten years on and employers are sometimes unsure how to approach electronic cigarettes, which are not covered by the ban. In this good practice guide to e-cigarettes in the workplace, Sarah Silcox looks at the evidence on vaping, policy and practice, and the legal considerations.                          

The use of electronic cigarettes, or “vaping” as it is often described, has grown quickly in the past five years and about 2.8 million adults in Great Britain now “vape”.
The vast majority of these are smokers or ex-smokers, but concerns remain about whether or not vaping might normalise smoking, particularly among young people.
The rapid growth in e-cigarette use is an issue for the workplace, and employers need to consider its impact on both existing smoking policies and cessation programmes.
This guide covers the following:
  • The growth of vaping and the evidence around its safety and other risks.
  • Employer policies on the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace, including guidance from Acas, the Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England.
  • The role of e-cigarettes in cessation programmes and wider employee wellbeing.
  • The regulatory framework covering e-cigarettes, including a new EU Tobacco Products Directive and recent case law.
  • The potential for regulatory changes in the future.
 
vaping-guide
 
my thanks to Personnel Today for this item see the article here read more

Matthew Taylor review: expect a right to request fixed hours



Workers on zero hours contracts could be given the right to request a move to a fixed number of hours.                                                              

That is according to reports suggesting that Matthew Taylor’s review into modern employment practices, due to be published this summer, will recommend a new right for workers on zero hours contracts to secure a guaranteed number of hours.
The right to request more hours will be similar to regulations such as the right to request flexible working, as employers will have to provide “serious” business reasons to refuse the request.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) backs the idea; the suggestion is one of the recommendations it has made in its submission to the Taylor review.
But sources have told the BBC that Taylor has been impressed by last month’s move by McDonald’s Restaurants to offer its 115,000 workers on zero hours contracts the option of moving to fixed contracts with a minimum number of guaranteed hours.
McDonald’s has been piloting the option for guaranteed hours for staff at 23 restaurants and has reported that 80% chose to remain on zero hours contracts, while 20% opted for a fixed number of hours.
Last month Taylor suggested that non-guaranteed hours could command a higher minimum wage, although he acknowledged that “we don’t want a proliferation of different minimum wages, because there’s something good about the fact the minimum wage is simple and everyone understands it.”
Recent figures have shown that the use of zero hours contracts is slowing. Nevertheless, the number of people on zero hours contracts hit a record high of 910,000 in the autumn of 2016. For the decade up to 2011, fewer than 200,000 people were engaged on zero hours contracts.
In its manifesto, Labour has pledged to ban zero hours contracts. But in the CBI’s written submission to the Taylor review, the business body says that a policy to reduce the number of flexible contracts or to increase the number of guaranteed hours in employment contracts would be misguided as “it assumes that all employees want the same thing”.
“Adopting objectives that have these generalisations at their heart would prevent many people from working in ways that they choose. The proposal that a higher minimum wage should apply to non-guaranteed hours is an example of this.
“It risks undermining the success and enforcement of the minimum wage by making it more complex, and would create an incentive for businesses to move to a model of having more fixed short-hours contracts rather than offering additional hours, which would penalise those who want access to more work.”
The CBI recommends that a “right to request fixed or more fixed hours should be introduced on the same basis as the right to request flexible working as a more effective tool to address these issues, without undermining workers’ options or the enforcement of the minimum wage”.
The right to request flexible working applies to all employees with 26 weeks’ service allowing them to ask for a permanent variation to their hours, time or place of work.
An employer’s refusal of an eligible employee’s request for flexible working must be based on one or more specific grounds, such as the burden of additional costs, a detrimental effect on the business’ ability to meet customer demand, or an inability to reorganise work among existing staff.

CBI recommendations to Taylor review

Other recommendations made by the CBI to the Taylor review include a call to retain the three tier system of employment status, namely employee, worker or self-employed. “Codifying them in primary legislation or changing the tests would delay rather than accelerate clarity about how the law applies to new ways of working,” says the business organisation.
However the CBI does suggest extending the right for employees to receive a written statement setting out their key terms of employment to workers, and a faster, free track in employment tribunals resolve status-only claims.
The CBI said that Swedish derogation, the model whereby temporary agency workers with a permanent agency contract continue to be paid between assignments, must be retained as an integral component of the Agency Workers Regulations. But it said the terms of Swedish derogation should be considered as part of a wider review of the regulations to ensure that they are used appropriately.

My thanks to Personnel Today for this piece,  see the full item at:  read more