robbryanassociates

New Rights for Bereaved Parents

In Employment law on January 27, 2020 at 1:15 pm

The government has confirmed that parental bereavement leave will become a statutory right from April 2020.

Up until now, whether organisations provide time off work as bereavement leave when employees suffered the loss of a child, and any payment for this leave period, was an individual decision made within each business. The new legislation, also known as Jack’s Law following a campaign by bereaved mother Lucy Herd, will give a day one right to two weeks’ leave following the death of a child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Parents will be able to take the leave as two weeks or two one-week blocks. Those with 26 weeks continuous employment will be able to claim statutory pay which is expected to be in line with other family related pay. As of April, these rates will rise to £151.20.

There are still details to be confirmed including rules on eligibility, but the new regulations are expected to include:

  • birth parents
  • adoptive parents
  • legal guardians
  • those with court orders providing daily care responsibilities
  • foster parents (although it may not include emergency foster care)
  • kinship carers.

Employers should note that the introduction of statutory parental bereavement leave does not replace an employee’s right to time off for dependents.  The difference between these entitlements is that time off for dependants is intended to allow employees leave to deal with an unforeseen emergency only, such as the unexpected death of a child, whereas parental bereavement leave is to provide a length of time off work to allow parents to undergo the grieving process following their child’s death. The employer should also consider ongoing ways in which a bereaved parent can be supported once they return to work.

Action: these changes should be reflected in your next updates and revisions to your employment documents. When was the last time you updated yours? Contact Rob Bryan Associates on 01462 732444 for advice

2020 Minimum Wage Increase & Updates to Holiday Pay

In contracts, government, holiday, pay on January 16, 2020 at 10:45 am

With the Autumn Budget held back by December’s General Election, an announcement of the new minimum wage rates was made on New Year’s Eve.

National Living Wage for 25-year olds will increase from £8.21 to £8.72 representing an increase of 6.2%. The Treasury has said that the increase equated to an increase in gross annual earnings of around £930 for a full-time worker on the current minimum rate.

The new rates are recommended by the Low Pay Commission, an independent body that advises government on the national living wage and national minimum wage.

The Government has pledged to increase the National Living Wage to £10.50 by 2024 but has added a caveat allowing for economic conditions.

The changes don’t come into effect until April 2020 but with the rise being significant, businesses which pay at or near the NMW will need to budget accordingly.

The table below gives the all detail by age bracket along with the new annual salary for employees across a range of full-time hours.

Min Wage table

Chancellor Savid Javid will announce his first budget (Spring Statement) on March 11th which will contain further updates to statutory rates.

Holiday Pay
New regulations will take effect from April 2020 to ensure workers in seasonal work or with abnormal working hours receive the paid holiday to which they are entitled.

If a worker has been employed by their employer for at least 52 weeks, the holiday reference period is expanded from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. Where the employment has been for less than 52 weeks, the holiday reference period is the number of weeks for which the worker has been employed.
If you need guidance on any of the above, please get in touch with your consultant or contact the Rob Bryan Associates office: 01462 732444 www.robbryanassociates.org.uk

The Christmas Party

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2019 at 12:04 pm

It’s the season to be merry and jolly and that means a word of warning from your HR advisors about the company Christmas party.

selective-focus-photography-of-several-people-cheering-wine-3171815

It’s advisable to issue a statement to employees in advance of a Christmas party or similar work-related event reminding employees of conduct matters, including the dangers of excess alcohol consumption, and behaviours that could be viewed as harassment. It would be wise to remind your employees that whilst the event is intended to be fun, it is an extension of the workplace and similar rules will apply.

The Equality Act 2010 makes employers liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by their employees in the course of employment, unless they can show that they took reasonable steps to prevent such acts.

In October 2018, a recruitment company was held vicariously liable for the actions of its boss when he punched a colleague on a Christmas night out. In Bellman v Northampton Recruitment, a “significantly inebriated” managing director caused a sales manager brain damage at a post-party drinks gathering. The ruling is of interest because technically the incident did not occur at the company event. However, because of the seniority of the staff member, the fact he was asserting his authority, and that the company had paid for alcohol and the taxis to the after-party, there was a strong enough link for vicarious liability.

Our advice is to plan your party carefully and remind all those attending of expected standards of behaviour. Employees can be disciplined for misconduct after a Christmas party if the incident is sufficiently closely connected to work to have had an impact on the working situation.

In Gimson v Display By Design Ltd, the employer was found to have fairly dismissed an employee for a brawl after the end of a Christmas party. However, you need to be careful where more than one employee is involved in the same incident. Where the circumstances are truly parallel, employees must generally be treated the same. Establishing “who is to blame”, however, can be difficult where memories are blurred by alcohol and the evidence is unclear. In Westlake v ZSL London Zoo, two zoo keepers got into a fight at London Zoo’s Christmas party as a result of which Ms Westlake was dismissed and the other zoo keeper, Ms Sanders, was issued with a final written warning. Given the lack of clear evidence as to who started the fight, the employment tribunal found Ms Westlake’s dismissal to be unfair. The tribunal observed that the employer could have legitimately dismissed them both or issued both with final written warnings.

Another issue that often crops up is what if an employee fails to come to work or arrives late the day after the Christmas party? If disciplinary action is to be taken for lateness or non-attendance after the Christmas party, employers should ensure that staff are informed that this is a possibility in the advance statement or company work events policy. Where an employee does not attend due to illness, the employer should follow its attendance management policy and procedures.

If you would like advice on your employee policies please get in touch www.robbryanassociates.org.uk/  01462 732444