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Can your employer monitor your private communications?

David Farrugia
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In the workplace, we use many forms of technology to communicate and the issue of privacy has been at the centre of discussions for many years. Technology in the past two decades has advanced considerably and sending emails is now the predominant source of...

Employment Tribunal ("ET") allows claim presented out of time

David Farrugia
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The ET has allowed a claim to be presented out of time despite the claim initially being rejected to pay the issue fee. This decision follows the Supreme Court's judgment handed down on 26 July 2017 which ruled that the Employment Tribunals and...

Employment tribunal rules that cycle courier is a worker

David Farrugia
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In Gascoigne v Addison Lee Ltd, the employment tribunal has ruled that a cycle courier working for Addison Lee was a worker under the Working Time Regulations 1998 and the Employment Rights Act 1996, not a self-employed contractor. This decision follows...

What are the restrictions of employing young people?

Alexandra Dean
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The legal minimum age a child can work is 13 years old as a part-time worker, however there are exceptions to when a child can work below this age. For children who are between  13 and not more than 16 years of age, there are restrictions to where and...

Supreme Court rules that employment tribunal fees are unlawful

David Farrugia
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Following the introduction of the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunals Fees Order 2013 ("the Order"), the number of employment tribunal cases have been said to have decreased by 70%. Why? It is likely due to potential...

Hard decisions for businesses in the wake of BBC earnings report

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Under the Equal Pay Act 1970, men and women who do the same or broadly similar work, or work that is found to be of equal value in terms of effort or skill, are entitled to the same employment contract terms, including pay. The provisions under this law as...

A warning to all employees - seek legal advice from the start

David Farrugia
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It is imperative that employees complete both the ACAS Conciliation Form and Claim Form correctly when pursuing a claim against a former employer. Any error can become a major issue when applying to the employment tribunal, as demonstrated in a recent case...

And Wimbledon begins

Alexandra Dean
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As Wimbledon begins there is no doubt that the tournament will be full of surprises. However, as an employer have you considered what surprises your business could face during times of sporting events? As an employer, are your employees allowed to have time...

Good intentions not enough in wage calculations

Alexandra Dean
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Accurate calculations of the National Minimum Wage continue to cause headaches for employers, with an employment tribunal acknowledging the complexity, saying there is no single key to unlock every case. Recently, unintentional underpayments in staff pay...

Workforce wellbeing must include mental health awareness

Alexandra Dean
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Understanding of mental health issues is high on the agenda, thanks to the involvement of the younger members of the Royal family in the Heads Together awareness campaign which has seen the # oktosay hashtag trending. Their activity gave an extra boost to...

Whistleblowers safety fears in the digital age

Spencer Davis
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A report by media lawyers has concluded that whistleblowers need better legal protection because they are far easier to identify in the modern digital age. Successive laws brought into force in recent years have also been responsible for undermining their...

ACAS reports on the impact of the Agency Workers Regulations

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ACAS have reported that the Employment Trends Survey, which covers 319 businesses and a total workforce of 1.9 million people, found that almost half of firms (46%) report that their business has been affected as a direct result of the regulations. ...

Courts hit high and hard with new health and safety fines

Alexandra Dean
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One year after the introduction of tough new health and safety sentencing guidelines, a series of high profile cases show that courts are not holding back when it comes to imposing the higher fines, which can be directly linked to a corporate...

Complex challenges for employers in the year ahead

Alexandra Dean
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Constant changes and increasing complexity have helped make employment law a frontline challenge for business and this year looks set to continue the trend. The first weeks of January saw Maggie Dewhurst, a bike courier with City Sprint, winning her case to...

Legal right to avoid work emails...

Alexandra Dean
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In a recent news article it was reported that French employees will have the right to avoid emails outside their usual working hours. The new law, which has been dubbed the "right to disconnect", came into force on 1 January. Companies with more...

How employers can say no, without saying a word

Alexandra Dean
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As the countdown to the festive season gets underway, employers juggling the pre-Christmas workload need to ensure workers are enabled to take their rest breaks. The warning comes after an employer was found to have failed to take the necessary steps to...

Are 'Power Naps' the answer?

Alexandra Dean
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According to a new study report on by the  BBC , sleep-deprived workers are costing the UK economy £40bn a year. The calculation is based on tired employees being less productive or absent from work altogether. Research firm Rand Europe, which...

Assault at the Christmas Party

Alexandra Dean
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The High Court held in the case of Bellman v Northampton Recruitment that a company would not be vicariously liable for injuries caused by an employee after a work Christmas party had ended. The case involved an assault of a manager by a director after a...

Hot air and bra sizes all add to the discrimination mix

Alexandra Dean
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The news that Airbnb has adopted a new anti-discrimination code, following accusations of racism by hosts on the home-sharing site, highlights the growing challenge in managing this increasingly sensitive issue. Other recent headlines have ranged from...

Gender pay gap may remain until 2069

Alexandra Dean
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Research from Deloitte has said the gender pay gap in the UK may not close until 2069 based on current salary progression. Deloitte has said that the current hourly pay gap between men and women of 9.4% was narrowing by just two-and-a-half pence a year. It...

Employers warned that they could be missing out on top staff

Alexandra Dean
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The employer advice group ACAS, has suggested that negative attitudes towards visible tattoos are outdated and could be causing employers to miss out on top staff by rejecting candidates with tattoos. A Yougov poll in 2015 suggested that nearly a fifth of...

​Government incentive to boost apprenticeships

Alexandra Dean
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The Government is to offer a £2,000 levy to businesses that take on teenagers, care leavers and those with special educational needs as apprentices. Under the plans, small businesses will be subsidised with 90% of the costs of providing...

Sexual Harrassment at Work

Alexandra Dean
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A survey undertaken by the BBC suggests that more than half of women say that they have been sexually harassed at work. To some extremes, parcels containing sex toys left at a work desk by a male colleague, a senior boss telling an employee that he wanted...

UK Unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9%

Alexandra Dean
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According to the  Office for National Statistics  (ONS), the UK’s unemployment rate has fallen to 1.65 million in the March-to-May period. This is down 54,000 from the previous quarter. The number of people in work rose by 176,000, with the...

Not such a dozy idea after all...

Alexandra Dean
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The company that pays its staff to sleep Numerous studies have shown a correlation between sleep deprivation and poor employee performance in the office, with businesses facing the consequences that a lack of sleep has on productivity and...

Preventing common health problems in the workplace

Alexandra Dean
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British workers take, on average, more than four times as many sick days as in other Western European countries. This equates to nine days sick leave each year, resulting in an annual cost to UK employers of about £29 billion in lost...

Acas urges firms to be more flexible during Euro 2016

Alexandra Dean
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The conciliation service Acas has said that firms should be flexible with staff during the Euro 2016 football tournament. A number of games in the tournament, which begins on 10 June, will be played in the daytime.  Acas has...

How companies get caught in the slave trade

Alexandra Dean
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The recent conviction of a UK business owner for a human trafficking offence has been a wake-up call to big businesses to carefully monitor their supply chain, if they are to avoid being connected to slave labour unwittingly. But with the requirements of...

Employer held to dismiss employee by constructive unfair dismissal by writing to employee with concerns while on sick leave

Alexandra Dean
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In Private Medicine Intermediaries Ltd and others v Hodkinson UKEAT/0134/15, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ("EAT") considered whether an employee was constructively unfairly dismissed when her employer raised written concerns with her...

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 - The Effect on Commercial Organisations

Alexandra Dean
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Some commercial organisations may not be aware of the effect which the  new Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the 'Act')  will have on them. Section 54 of the Act now requires large organisations in the UK to produce a statement setting out what...

Bosses receive frost alert to manage bad weather risks

Alexandra Dean
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Employers are on frost alert, following the news that a home care worker has won her claim for damages after slipping on ice and breaking her wrist when visiting a client.  The ruling by the Supreme Court means that employers who expect staff to work...

Employers face stricter controls on private internet monitoring

Alexandra Dean
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Recent news headlines have warned employees that social media chat and email conversations at work are open to being read by the boss, following a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. But experts say that the headline writers have missed the...

Employers' new ability to snoop your personal messages during working hours.

Alexandra Dean
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Employers can now legally snoop through your private messages that you send via webmail accounts and online chat software, including Facebook Messenger, iMessage and WhatsApp if the device used is owned by your employer, EU judges this week ruled. The...

Equal Pay Day

Alexandra Dean
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Although from the title of this article you may believe that 'Equal Pay Day' sounds like a day to be celebrated, it is actually the day on which men (on average) have already earned what a woman will earn (on average) in a year. From the 9th November...

Working time for mobile workers with no fixed workplace

Alexandra Dean
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Companies wanting to exploit the current trend of moving from office-based businesses to more mobile ones will need to take a recent ECJ decision into consideration before changing their approach. The ECJ held that the time spent by workers, who do not have...

HR involvement in disciplinary investigations

Alexandra Dean
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Businesses will welcome helpful guidelines provided by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) on how much involvement and influence HR should have in disciplinary investigations. What is crucial is that HR limits advice to questions of law, procedure and...

Health and Safety: The CDM Regulations 2015

Spencer Davis
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Changes to the CDM Regulations are likely to affect the work of any person who is involved in the supervision of contractors in construction work. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015  (SI 2015/51) came into force on 6th April...

Courts move towards higher tariffs on health and safety breaches

Spencer Davis
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Two high profile health and safety court rulings have caught the headlines this month, but the penalties imposed reflect the expected shift towards higher tariffs and businesses need to sit up and take notice say experts. First, fashion retailer Hugo Boss...

Could the living wage be the 'death' of the care industry?

Alexandra Dean
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Under plans announced in the recent Budget, workers aged over 25 in the UK will be paid a minimum of £7.20 an hour from April 2016, rising to £9 by 2020. Four major care home providers have commented this could cost the care sector £1bn by...

Holiday pay sums are hot spot for employers

Alexandra Dean
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With the summer holiday season at its peak, employers have a hot-spot to watch out for back home, with the news that they must permit holiday entitlement to be carried over for up to 18 months if it has been unused due to sickness. It follows the decision...

Dismissal kicks up a stink at the sewage works

Alexandra Dean
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A worker who was dismissed after failing to follow new health and safety guidelines has won his claim for unfair dismissal in the Court of Appeal. And the decision is a warning to companies that it is not enough to issue new procedures and risk assessment...

Abusive email puts employer on the spot

Alexandra Dean
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The email was sent to 48 year old James Allen, a former serviceman from Devon, who was described in the letter as ‘an old, aesthetically challenged guy with no teeth’. Written by the company director of a window and conservatory manufacturer,...

More parents can ask for time off from next month

Alexandra Dean
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And as the deadline looms, businesses are being warned to make sure they’re prepared, or risk claims for discrimination by fathers seeking to share the time with their newborn. Paid Shared Parental Leave is a new right available to parents...

Holiday Pay Ruling

Alexandra Dean
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Historically, many employers have paid workers holiday pay on 'basic pay' only excluding non-guaranteed overtime payments.  That is overtime payments that workers are not guaranteed, but if requested must work. In  the case of AMEC v Law...

Tribunal decision shakes up personal use of office email

Alexandra Dean
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An employee has failed in an attempt to have the content of personal messages he sent from his work email account excluded from a disciplinary investigation.  The messages were discovered during an investigation into Mr Atkinson, the former director of...

Automatic pension enrolment: business briefing

Alexandra Dean
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What is auto-enrolment? From a date after October 2012, businesses will be required to automatically enrol eligible “jobholders” in a pension scheme. A “jobholder” will include permanent, fixed-term and temporary employees, as well...

Latest Employment Tribunal news

Alexandra Dean
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An Employment Tribunal has recently decided that an individual can be deemed an 'employee' even where they have declined to be paid for their services. In Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v Knight, Mrs Knight was the...

Employers must gear up for April living wage deadline

Alexandra Dean
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The  National Living Wage  has been catching headlines since Chancellor George Osborne announced it last summer, but the Government’s target of £9 per hour by 2020 has overshadowed the detail, and many businesses remain unaware of the...

High Court considers restrictive covenants in employment contracts

Alexandra Dean
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The facts of this case led the court to consider the dichotomy between two legal principles: the principle that an agreement in resolution of a dispute should be upheld against the principle of restraint of trade.  In such scenarios, the onus is on the...

Personal injury at work: 85% of injuries are not compensated

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Commonly, work place injuries relate to musculoskeletal disorders such as ligament and back injuries, skin diseases, hearing problems and injuries from slips and falls.  The figures for the year 2012-2013 show that of the 610,000 people who were...

Administration: business briefing

Alexandra Dean
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What is administration? Administration is the procedure by which a company that is, or is likely to become, insolvent can be reorganised or have its assets sold for the benefit of creditors. When a company goes into administration, an insolvency...

Penalties for breaching environmental legislation

Alexandra Dean
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Understanding the regulator’s approach to the enforcement and prosecution of environmental offences should enable businesses to minimise their risk of being prosecuted. It should also help: Reduce the level of any penalties if the business is...

Dismissing an employee: business briefing

Alexandra Dean
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Why is it important to follow the law when dismissing an employee? Dismissing an employee for a reason other than one allowed by law, without following the correct procedure or giving adequate notice, may lead to a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal...

Employment Law update

Alexandra Dean
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Announcements have been made by the Government in relation to its ongoing reform program for  employment law .  The key developments are; Unfair dismissal compensatory awards will be capped at the lower of one years pay and the existing limit...

Tougher laws for workplace injury claims

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New government proposal will mean employee’s face a tougher battle for compensation when injured in the workplace. The clause amends section 47 HSWA to remove the right to bring civil claims for breach of a statutory duty contained in certain health...

Shop assistant's £1 million lottery fraud.

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Maureen Holt, 77, had bought a Euromillions ticket and after the draw took it into a local shop to ask that they check to see whether it was a winning ticket.  Farrakh Nizzar of Crumpsall, Greater Manchester was serving in the shop, and having scanned...

Employers face muddy swamp despite new employment legislation

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As business watches for the hoped-for rise in economic activity, employers are being warned to check the small print on recently introduced employment legislation.  The qualifying period of continuous employment before an unfair dismissal claim can be...

ACAS publishes first guide on mental illness at work

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Over recent years there has been an increase in the impact of mental ill health in the workplace.  Stress, anxiety and depression, albeit not all work-related, have led to higher rates of absenteeism and lost productivity. As a result ACAS has produced...

TUPE: location change amounts to constructive dismissal

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The Law  Under TUPE, any dismissal of an employee before or after a “relevant transfer” will be automatically unfair where the sole or principle reason for the dismissal is the transfer itself, or a reason connected with the transfer that...

Tighter control needed on overseas contracts .

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Business must take care when entering agreements with overseas organisations to avoid problems if disputes arise. A High Court judge inLondonhas been hearing a case that involved Brazilian companies who were in dispute over a contract covering the...

Breath of relief for employers under Working Time Regulations

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The European Working Time Directive was implemented in the UK by the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“WTR”). In order to protect employees, the WTR states that the average working week must not exceed 48 hours.  Any employer in breach of this...

Employment News

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On 6th April 2012 the qualifying period for unfair dismissal will increase from one to two years. BIS have confirmed that, subject to Parliamentary approval, this change will only apply to employees recruited on or after that date. If you would like to know...

Rigorous regime of the fiduciary duties of directors.

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The recent Court of Appeal decision in Towers v Premier Waste Management Limited1 serves as an important reminder of the dangers of falling in breach of the strict fiduciary duties that directors owe to their companies. The fiduciary duties were codified in...

Agents permitted to act for multiple competitors.

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The Commercial Agents Regulations 1993 provides important benefits to those qualifying as a 'commercial agent'; in particular the benefit of compensation provision following the termination of the relationship. The issue of concern before the court...

Inaccurate written terms will not be allowed to disguise employment status.

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In Autoclenz Ltd v Belcher1 it was held by the Supreme Court that such sham contracts cannot be used to disguise employment status and thus deny 'employees' many of the important employment rights provided in the Employment Rights Act 1996. The...

Employees on sick leave must request holiday to be paid for it.

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The Decision in Fraser v Southwest London St George's Mental Health Trust confirms that an employee on long term sick leave must request annual leave in accordance with Regulation 15 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 otherwise they lose their...

Too late to retract notice of dismissal ?

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In 2008 C.F. Capital Plc ('the Company') was considering requesting that staff become self-employed in order to avoid having to make redundancies. In contemplation of this the Company held meetings with certain employees to discuss whether any of...

Business needs to look inside the latest gift horse on employment rights.

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Following the announcement of a new two-year qualification period for unfair dismissal by the Government last week, experts are warning employers that it may just mean a shift in the type of claims made. Under current rules, a claim for unfair dismissal can...

Employment Tribunal strike blow to protection for those on maternity leave

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It was held in Eversheds Legal Service Ltd v De Belin that in selecting an employee for redundancy an employer had discriminated against him on the basis of his sex. In the selection of employees for redundancy a woman on maternity leave should not be...

Requests to Work Beyond Retirement

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Due to the default retirement age of 65 being abolished from 1 October 2011 this case will only be of interest to employers who have already served notice of retirement on employees. In the case the appellant employer appealed against a decision that they...

Employees have rights even when company is insolvent

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Companies entering so-called pre-pack administration arrangements will have to deal with TUPE rights for employees. That’s the outcome of a recent Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), which has reversed an earlier ruling to confirm that employee rights...

Employers must minimise stress for workers

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This month's National Stress Awareness Day has focussed attention on the problem of stress in the workplace and is a reminder to employers that stress is a health and safety issue that they ignore at their peril. The Health and Safety Executive believes...

Compulsory retirement to be gone by October 2011

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It seems very unlikely that compulsory retirement will be with us for very much longer as earlier this summer the Government announced proposals to phase out the default-retirement age. At present, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 allows an...

The Equality Act 2010 A heads up for Employers

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The Equality Act 2010 will finally become law on 1st October 2010 replacing previous legislation on discriminatory matters. It is potentially the single biggest piece of legislation drafted on discrimination and many employers will have their work cut out...

Employers get clear guidance on holidays

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A ruling by the Employment Appeal Tribunal has given employers a clearer picture of the limits that they can place on the holiday rights of employees. A number of conflicting decisions in this area over recent years had led to confusion. But following the...

Employers must get set for new

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Employers must get set for new "Sunshine Sickie" ruling With a landmark European ruling allowing workers to claim back holidays lost due to sickness, employment law experts are urging employers to take the initiative in tackling the new...

It's not too late to plan for swine flu absenteeism

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It's not too late to plan for swine flu absenteeism With Department of Health (DoH) officials predicting a 'worst case' scenario of 30% of the population succumbing to swine flu, a local solicitor is advising businesses to consider how the...

New "Fit Note" looks set to help patients stay in work

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Britain's "sickness culture" is estimated to cost the economy some £100 billion and 172 million working days every year – but a local solicitor believes that this is all set to change next spring. "This is when the Government...

Make sure you know the new rules on redundancy

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In these days of accelerating redundancy rates, a local solicitor is keen to highlight to businesses the rises in redundancy pay that came into force at the beginning of February. According to Alexandra Dean of Gepp & Sons in Chelmsford, "On 1...

Exploring alternatives to making people redundant.

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In a recent report, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) calculated the true average cost of making an employee redundant as £16,375. According to local solicitor Alexandra Dean of Gepp & Sons in Chelmsford, "The CIPD...

Personal injury payouts -they are not all the same

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Personal injury pay-outs – they are not all the same Widespread media reports about the vast compensation settlements made in a number of recent court cases are giving some claimants unrealistic expectations about how much they may receive, a local...

When are job candidates really equal?

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Following the announcement of the new Equalities Bill by Equality Minister Harriet Harman, amongst other reforms businesses will be allowed to "positively discriminate" in favour of female and ethnic minority job candidates if they are equal to...