robbryanassociates

Archive for the ‘government’ Category

Proposed Flexible Working from Day One

In business principles, contracts, Employment law, family, government on September 27, 2021 at 10:47 am

The Government has launched a consultation into changing current flexible working legislation. This is open until 1 December 2021. Its proposal is to make the right to request flexible working from day one of employment.

Its aims to bring more employees in to the scope of the legislation and believes it will benefit productivity, motivation, retention and help attract more talent to organisations.

Its proposal is to introduce measures to help make flexible working the default, unless employers have good reasons not to. The consultation will also assess whether the current 8 business reasons for refusal are still valid. The process of managing flexible working requests and the time scales will also be assessed. There is also consideration to allow employees to submit more than one request per year, which is currently all they are entitled to do.

We will await the outcome of the consultation and if the proposal is approved we can assist you with amending your current policy within the handbook to ensure you continue to be legally compliant.

Until then, all current rules and processes will remain in place as usual.

Covid-19: Workplace measures

In business principles, covid-19, Employment law, government, Uncategorized on September 1, 2021 at 9:04 am
What do employers need to do to keep work place safe?

Workplace rules for wearing face masks or visors, hand washing, distancing, pedestrian routes, workstation sanitation or other hygiene measures and other shielding / preventative controls measures remain unaffected by 19th July removal of restrictions.
 
Statistics identify that people aged between 20-29 have the highest infection rates for COVID. Vaccination in the UK is not compulsory for all. There is no general provision that an employer can rely upon at the time of writing to compel their staff, freelancers, contractors, or visitors to take up the vaccine. There is a potential conflict within the workplace where employees refuse to work together for fear of getting COVID from a colleague whose lifestyle choice has greater exposure to infection; potentially giving rise to risk without any outward sign in the case of being asymptomatic. Separating workers in this situation would be wise. Existing workplace control measures may be sufficient. Should an unvaccinated worker have to work with others closely then this may give rise to redeployment to other duties.
 
Care Homes and health workers have special circumstances and specific justification for insisting that employees are vaccinated. Following consultation and discussions regarding any viable alternative redeployment, an employee may find that an employer is compelled to dismiss the unvaccinated employee. A dismissal of this kind falls under the heading of a Some other substantial reason [SOSR] dismissal. This is a potentially fair reason for dismissal, however, the specific context, the reasonableness of the employer’s discussions, and ultimately, justification for dismissal would all be relevant considerations for an employment tribunal. Should specific legislation be passed in this area, likely to be on a sector by sector basis, dismissal would be potentially fair but we await any changes here.    

Regarding vaccination for Care Home workers, the requirement becomes law on 11th November 2021. The government has allowed a grace period of 16 weeks from the 22nd July to allow for vaccination to take place. This means 16th September is the last date for care workers to get their first jab so they are fully vaccinated before regulations come into force.

Government ministers have stated at this time they have no intention of creating legislation in relation to compulsory vaccines outside Care Homes with employers needing to assess their own circumstances. This does not rule out a policy of “no jab – no job” for a business that can justify a vaccine policy and consult with staff who may not be able to comply. 
 
Key Action Point: 
Review the workplace rules that have been in place over the last year, assess the protective measures in place, ensure that necessary measures are implemented. Communicate with staff about the purpose of the measures: why they are in place and when they will next be reviewed. Social relaxation of lockdown rules does not automatically equate to an abandoning of workplace safety measures. 

Coronavirus – Advice for employers

In absence, Employment law, government, pay, Uncategorized on March 4, 2020 at 1:38 pm

For our most up to date information see our webpage – https://www.robbryanassociates.org.uk/2020/03/12/coronavirus/

With the government preparing for widespread cases of the coronavirus(Covid-19), employers should monitor the official advice to maintain an up to date picture of the situation and best protect the health and safety of their staff.

Where can I find the official advice?
Government list of guidance
Government advice for businesses
NHS advice
Government action plan

What can employers do to minimise the risk in the workplace?
ACAS has produced a useful guide providing practical advice to help employers protect their staff. Good hygiene is key to preventing the spread of infection.
We suggest that you print the NHS guide out and pin to your noticeboard or another prominent place. You should also issue regular memos to circulate the latest official advice.
The government guide has advice for what do if someone in the workplace falls ill with symptoms linked to the virus or is diagnosed.
Employers should prepare an action plan which is ready to be put in place should there be an outbreak of the virus at work.

Sick Pay
If an employee has coronavirus:
Your usual sickness procedure and entitlement apply.

If an employee is advised to self-isolate:
If the employee has been advised by NHS111 or a doctor to self-isolate they should inform their employer immediately. If they are given written notice they are entitled to sick pay. The latest legal advice as of yesterday is that isolation without the illness does not qualify for SSP – although many are saying it would be good practice to pay. The Trade unions and others are seeking specific emergency laws to have a sick pay fund for those who wouldn’t normally be paid – they argue without this people will be motivated to attend the workplace with symptoms.
Some employees will be able to work from home while in isolation.

Latest news update Workers to get SSP from first day off https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51738837 (NB: this is the government’s intention – we await further detail)

Working from home
At present, there is no advice for workers to avoid travel in the UK but employers may want to consider in advance what provision there may be for working at home.

Travel abroad
As and when the virus becomes widespread, in some places travel and movements are likely to be more restricted.
If travel is for business purposes, consider if the meeting could take place via video conferencing instead.
If an employee is travelling for leisure we advise you to discuss with the employee their plans and pose the question regarding returning and self-isolation. You can agree in advance that should they need to self-isolate it would be unpaid authorised absence. It’s then an elective choice to go on holiday taking a risk or to cancel.

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

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

document id uk driving license driving licence

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

Skills-based immigration system proposed in government White Paper

In government, workers on December 20, 2018 at 1:31 pm

construction-site-build-construction-work-159306.jpeg

The Government has released a white paper containing proposals to reduce the number of unskilled low-income workers from EU. However, the cap on the number of skilled workers from the EU and elsewhere will be scrapped.

The new system is to be phased in from 2021.

The White paper, which sets out proposed legislation before it is formalised in a government bill, features the following key points:

  • The end of free movement after the UK leaves the EU.
  • A skills-based single immigration system rather than preference for EU nationals.
  • Time limited short-term workers route: Seasonal/Low skilled/unskilled workers will be able to enter the UK on a 12-month visa. They will not be entitled to benefits, will not accrue settlement rights and cannot bring dependants. The government sees this as a way to source workers for areas such as construction, agriculture and social care which rely heavily on EU labour.
  • Restrictions on the number of ‘Tier 2’ visas for skilled workers such as doctors and engineers are to be lifted.
  • There will be a consultation on the proposal for a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for skilled migrants applying for five-year visas. This has met with resistance from the NHS where many starting salaries come under the £30,000 wage cap.
  • Measures to streamline border security checks and application processes.
  • No limits on international students studying in the UK.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid described the White Paper as, “a fair and sustainable immigration system” which “will boost our economy and benefit the British people.”

However, Karendeep Kaur, immigration analyst at Migrate UK, expressed concern over the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. Urging businesses to take action to safeguard their talent and protect against skills shortages, she advised employers to identify employees’ current status and support them to acquire a registration certificate or permanent residency where appropriate.

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.