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Archive for the ‘Employment law’ Category

Carers Rights Day – how can you support your employees who have caring responsibilities?

In contracts, Employment law, Equality on November 21, 2019 at 10:15 am

Thursday 21st November marks ‘Carers Rights Day’ – an opportunity to recognise all that carers do, as well as for employers to find out more about how to support carers in the workplace.

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Research by Carers UK and Age UK shows the importance of employers engaging with employees who are carers. One report found that 10 hours of caring per week can make it a significant challenge to stay in work. Research also tells us that:

  • 600 people a day leave the workforce to provide care for a loved one, whether that’s a spouse, parent, child or other dependant.
  • 5 million people juggle caring responsibilities with paid work.
  • 64% of those caring for parents are in the workforce. And the numbers are increasing as the UK population ages.

Those in their late thirties to fifties, known as the ‘sandwich generation’ may be balancing caring for elderly parents whilst also bringing up children and working. They are also likely to represent a higher proportion of those at the peak of their profession – talent that businesses want to retain.

According Carers UK, leading companies, such as Centrica, have demonstrated strong business benefits to supporting carers and have suggested that, cumulatively, UK companies could save up to £4.8 billion a year in unplanned absences and a further £3.4 billion in improved employee retention by adopting flexible working policies to support those with caring responsibilities.

How carer-friendly is your business? Do you have policies in place to support those who wish to more flexibly?

For short term temporary arrangements an employee may seek time off for dependants. A dependant of an employee is defined in the legislation as one of the following:

  • husband or wife or partner, child, parent, someone else who is regarded as part of the family and lives with an employee (but not tenants, boarders, lodgers or employees)
  • anyone else who is reliant on an employee in emergency situations.

The length of this leave is meant to be short and no longer than two days in most situations. It can be longer in some circumstances. An employer is not permitted to require an employee who has requested or taken time off for dependants to rearrange their working hours or make up the time that has been lost. What is reasonable time of will depend on the specific circumstances. An employment tribunal case considered an employee who had taken a total of seven days spanning six instances of absence within a 12-month period was reasonable.

Trial periods, temporary changes or even career breaks / sabbaticals in support of a retaining a skilled and knowledgeable worker who would otherwise be lost to the business could be a possibility. However, employers should seek advice from a consultant if you intend to amend terms or have a break in the relationship as continuity of employment needs to be specifically addressed as well as arrangements to return back to previous terms and conditions if that is the intention.

For permanent changes to the working relationship an employee can make a request for flexible working.

In June 2014 changes to the flexible working arrangements broaden to all employees. Previously eligibility was restricted for caring for a child or an adult in need of care. The first arrangements for flexible working in 2002 were restricted only to children under 6 years of disabled children up to 18 years of age. There was no provision for adult care. Employees, part time or full time, with 26 weeks of service, have the right to request a flexible working arrangement.

The flexibility is commonly around times of work, or days of work; however, this can also include the type or pattern of work, or even the place or work. The employer has a duty to consider the request in a reasonable manner and respond in writing as soon as practically possible no later than three months after a formal request. An employee making a request has protection from any dismissal or detriment due to their request being made.

If you would like help reviewing your employment policies, please get in touch – 01462 732444  www.robbryanassociates.org.uk 

For further reference: https://www.employersforcarers.org/resources/research/item/1460-juggling-work-and-unpaid-care-a-growing-issue

A Burning Issue

In Employment law, Uncategorized, workers on June 27, 2019 at 9:38 am
Pineapple wearing a hat and sunglasses

So what has a pineapple wearing sunglasses and a hat got to do with your business?

Today (27th June 2019) is ‘International Sunglasses Day’; raising awareness of the damage that can be done to the eyes by the sun’s harmful rays.

Still wondering?… We’re talking about sun safety. With cases of skin cancer on the rise in the UK (since the early 1990’s incidence rates have more than doubled) consideration needs to be given to the risks of sun damage associated with outdoor working. This could particularly affect workers in construction, agriculture or leisure. Research has shown that 55% of skin cancer incidences are from those employed in the construction industry.

Some groups are particularly at risk:

  • Pale or freckled skin that tends to burn
  • Fair/red hair
  • Skin prone to moles
  • Family history of skin cancer

Although the risk is lower for those with darker skin, sun damage can still occur, along with the same need to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion.

According to Cancer Research 86% of Melanoma skin cancer cases are preventable.

What can employers do?

  • Educate – make sure your employees know that sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and what they can do to minimize the risks. Encourage them to check their skin regularly and report any concerns to their doctor. This can be part of your health and safety training.
  • Provide shaded space to take breaks
  • During particularly hot and sunny periods schedule work to avoid the midday sun / have more frequent rest breaks
  • Encourage workers to keep covered up and wear a hat.
  • Encourage workers to wear a high factor suncream and reapply during the day
  • Make sure water is available

For advice on all your employment matters contact Rob Bryan Associates – 01462 732444 / www.robbryanassociates.org.uk

More summer advice:

Heat Wave Hot Tips

Changes to sick pay rules from April 2019

In absence, Employment law, Uncategorized on April 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

As of 6th April 2019 entitlement to sick pay is changing. The amount employees need to earn in order for Statutory Sick Pay to apply is rising from £116 per week to £118. The rate of pay will also increase by £2.20 to £94.25 per week.

As before employees need to have been off work sick for 4 or more days in a row (including non-working days) to qualify and SSP can be paid for up to 28 weeks.

 

If you would like guidance on managing absence in your workplace, contact us at Rob Bryan Associates Limited Main Office: 01462 732444  www.robbryanassociates.org.uk

New mothers to get extended protection against redundancy

In Employment law, Equality, government, maternity on January 31, 2019 at 1:26 pm

copyof1in9womensaytheywerefired2cmaderedundantorforcedoutofjobOn 25th January 2019 the government launched a 10-week consultation to examine the proposal that legal protection against redundancy should be extended to 6 months for new mothers returning to work.

Under the Equality Act, job applicants or employees must not be treated unfairly or disadvantaged due to pregnancy or maternity. However, research by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) found that 1 in 9 women (11%) said that they had been fired or made redundant on their return to work; or were treated so badly they felt they had no option but to leave.

Currently, if redundancies are being made, those on maternity or shared parental leave have to be offered a ‘suitable alternative’ where one is available, giving these employees priority over others who are also at risk of redundancy. However, this provision ends when an individual returns to work.

The proposed legislation will extend this protection for new mothers to six months after return to work. The consultation may also consider applying this right to others, for example men on shared parental leave and those on adoption leave.

While these proposals have been welcomed, advocacy groups have said that the underlying issues remain and more can be done to support parents returning to work and prevent working mothers being discriminated against.

 

If you would like guidance on your Pregnancy, Maternity or Family Friendly policies and procedures in your workplace, contact us at Rob Bryan Associates Limited Main Office: 01462 732444  www.robbryanassociates.org.uk

Preventing Illegal Working

In Employment law, government, workers on January 24, 2019 at 11:41 am

Updates to procedures from January 2019

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All employers have a responsibility to prevent illegal working and must therefore carry out ‘right to work checks.’ Businesses can be fined up £20,000 if they are found to have employed an illegal worker and hadn’t followed the checking procedure. Knowingly employing someone without right to work can result in a jail term and unlimited fine.

From 28th January 2019 employers will be able to use the Home Office’s online checking system to determine a prospective employee’s right to work in the UK without the need to receive documents from the individual. This applies to non-EEA nationals who hold a biometric residence permit/card or EEA nationals who have been granted immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme. EEA nationals without settled status will still need to provide appropriate documentation.

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes called it “another step we are taking to simplify and modernise the immigration system,” and said it would make it easier than ever for migrants to view and prove their right to work in the UK.

When using the online system the employer is required to:

  • Check each applicant and only recruit, or continue to employ, if the online check confirms their right to work
  • Carry out a visual identification using the photo supplied with the online check
  • Retain the result of the check during the individual’s employment and for two years following

If an online check cannot be carried out, the Home Office Employer Checking Service should be contacted and applicants will need to supply the required documents.

Changes will also be made to the checking of UK Nationals in order to accommodate those who do not hold a passport. List A documents allow UK individuals to provide full or short-form certificates alongside an official document containing their National Insurance number.

 

Links:

https://www.gov.uk/employee-immigration-employment-status

Be Ready for Bad Weather

In Employment law on January 10, 2019 at 10:51 am

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So far, this winter has been fairly mild but as we head into January, we can expect low temperatures and the possibility of ice and snow. Indeed, bad weather such as flooding or severe winds can disrupt work at any time of the year. It pays to be prepared.

If the workplace is able to open, staff are expected to try to make it in to work unless otherwise informed by their employer. If they do not arrive at work they are not entitled to pay.

Employees who do arrive ready to work have the right to be paid. However, there may be no work available or there may be a need to temporarily shut down.

An individual’s ability to get to work may depend on factors beyond their control. Perhaps there is travel disruption, safety concerns or there are issues with dependants such as school closures. Employers need to consider:

  • how all staff can be treated fairly,
  • an incident / emergency communications plan
  • what plans can ensure business continuity.

Some employers offer:

  • home working
  • short notice annual leave
  • using banked time-in-lieu
  • opportunities to make up the lost time

Action:

  • We advise that you include a ‘Bad Weather Policy’ in your Employment Handbook so that management and staff are clear on your company’s protocol should severe weather strike.
  • Consider how you can communicate with your workforce in the event of severe weather

If you would like guidance on implementing this in your workplace, contact us at Rob Bryan Associates Limited Main Office: 01462 732444  www.robbryanassociates.org.uk

 

Government announces reforms to protect agency and gig economy workers

In contracts, Employment law, government, workers on December 19, 2018 at 10:12 am

Reforms to employment law are to be introduced which will better protect agency employees, gig economy workers and those on zero-hours contracts.

In response to the findings of the Taylor Review of modern working practices, business secretary Greg Clark will introduce legislation to:

  • close the loophole which allows for agency workers to be paid less than permanent employees
  • ensure all staff are given a statement their rights from the first day of employment, including eligibility for sick and paid leave
  • give the right for employees who don’t have a fixed working pattern to request one once they have completed 26 weeks with an employer
  • increase the maximum fine handed out by employment tribunals to employers who are found to have shown malice, spite or gross oversight from £5000 to £20000
  • extend the holiday pay reference period in order to reflect the work patterns of seasonal staff

The business secretary called the reforms the “largest upgrade in workers’ rights in over a generation” and said that they would be key in building a fair and productive workplace that reflects the reality of modern working practices.

However, there has been some criticism that the reforms don’t go far enough to address underlying issues, and that controversial zero hours contracts haven’t been banned.