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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Dressed for Work?

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2016 at 8:14 pm

When summer does arrive in the UK employers often begin to notice more relaxed dress standards. Now is the time to remind employees of your guidelines on what you regard as acceptable. Dress codes should help Manager’s avoid misunderstandings with employees about what attire is considered appropriate for the work place. Written guidelines will also assist Manager’s in enforcing dress codes in a consistent, non-discriminatory manner.

Employers establish dress codes for a variety of reasons, including to present a positive image to clients, to prohibit employees from coming to work with offensive, distracting, or inappropriate attire, and to avoid clothing that would present a health and safety risk. While business attire was the norm at companies for many years, employers have relaxed dress codes in an effort to improve morale and retention. Casual dress policies have become more common at work in response to employees’ demands for flexibility and a relaxed work environment.

We would advise having clear, fair and enforceable policies on dress in the workplace. You also need to ensure that your workplace actions and expectations are not discriminatory.

You have probably recently seen in the press reference to the London receptionist sent home for not wearing heels. You can understand how a number of professions have to wear particular pieces of uniform for health and safety reasons, but for what logical reasons should women be required to wear high heels?
As the law stands, employers can dismiss staff who fail to live up to “reasonable” dress code demands, as long as they’ve been given enough time to buy the right shoes and clothes. They can set up different codes for men and women, as long as there’s an “equivalent level of smartness”.

Aside from the reasons above, employers should be aware that by dictating dress codes to women, they could find themselves at the wrong end of a discriminations claim if an employee was treated “less favorably” than a colleague of the opposite sex as a result. Simply, where the dress code could result in some disadvantage to the female employee which other male employees do not face, they may have a case on the grounds of sex discrimination

Employers are right to insist that their staff are presentable, neat and professional and appropriately dressed for work, but should not insist that females wear high heels to conduct their working day or shift.

There has also been in the press, details of a Belgian case regarding the treatment of religious observance and dress in the workplace.

In Achbita v G4S Secure Solutions NV the employee – a Muslim woman – was dismissed for insisting on wearing a hijab (or headscarf) when at work. The employer had a blanket rule forbidding any customer-facing employee from wearing visible religious symbols or dress in order to preserve a strict ‘neutrality’ in its dealings with customers. The Belgian Court referred the matter to the European Court of Justice asking whether a dismissal in such circumstances amounted to direct discrimination.

The case has yet to be decided however, it is unlikely that a UK Employment Tribunal could be persuaded that a policy of ‘neutrality’ is a sufficient reason to dismiss a Muslim woman who feels a religious obligation to wear the hijab at work.
Any dress code should be non-discriminatory and should apply to both men and women equally. If you need help to review your dress code please contact us and we can ensure that your workplace policies are not discriminatory and appropriate for your business.

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New rates of statutory maternity pay and sick pay – April 2014

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

New rates of statutory maternity pay and sick pay

From 6 April 2014 Statutory Maternity pay, Paternity, Additional Paternity, Adoption pay and Maternity Allowance will all increase from £136.78 to £138.18; and Statutory Sick pay will increase from £86.70 to £87.55.

Rob Bryan Associates
http://www.robbryanassociates.org.uk
rob@robertbryan.co.uk    chris@robertbryan.co.uk

Right to Request Flexible Working Extended to All Employees

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Right to Request Flexible Working Extended to All Employees

Key details

Due to come into effect from 30th June 2014, the right to request a flexible pattern of work is amended by:

extending the right to request flexible working to all employees (not just those with parental responsibility for a child, or caring responsibilities for an adult);
replacing the requirement for the employer to deal with the request in accordance with the statutory procedure with a requirement to “deal with the application in a reasonable manner”; and
requiring the employer to notify the employee of its decision within a “decision period” of three months of the application (or longer if this is agreed).
The 26-week qualifying period for employees to make a request for flexible working is retained along with the restriction that employees can only make one flexible working request in any 12-month period.

Acas has produced a draft non-statutory booklet that provides good practice guidance for employers in dealing with such requests and this can be accessed via the following link:

http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/p/6/Handling-requests-to-work-flexibly-in-a-reasonable-manner-an-Acas-guide.pdf

The opening up of the eligibility criteria for the right to request flexible working is likely to lead to some fairly high profile coverage in the media nearer the implementation date, so employers are advised to prepare themselves for a possible influx of applications soon after 30th June 2014. Further advice and guidance on the subject can of course be obtained from your consultant.

Rob Bryan Associates
http://www.robbryanassociates.org.uk
rob@robertbryan.co.uk chris@robertbryan.co.uk

Employment Tribunals – Recent and Future Developments

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Employment Tribunals – Recent and Future Developments

Introduction of Fees

Most clients will now be aware that in order to transfer some of the estimated £85m annual cost of running the Employment Tribunal system from the taxpayer in general to those who actually use the system, the Government introduced a fee structure for any new claims lodged after 31st July 2013. The fees, which are payable in advance by the party lodging the claim are split into two types:

“Type A” claims – relatively straightforward claims such as unlawful deductions from wages, unpaid redundancy payments etc
“Type B” claims – more complex claims such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, equal pay etc
The fee structure for each type of claim is split into two parts, an Issue Fee and a Hearing Fee. The level of fees are as follows:

Type A Issue Fee – £160 Hearing Fee – £230 Total – £390
Type B Issue Fee – £250 Hearing Fee – £950 Total – £1200
There are also other fees for things such as mediation by a judge, case reviews and where multiple claimants are involved.

The effect of the introduction of the fees was exactly as anticipated in that there was a surge of applications being lodged just prior to 31st July, and then a significant reduction in claims immediately afterwards. Provisional figures just published by the Ministry of Justice show that the number of employment tribunal claims has fallen for the third consecutive quarter.

Between October and December 2013, there were 9,801 new cases – a 79 per cent reduction compared to the same period the year before.

The latest figures also recorded the highest volume of disposals (closure of a case through withdrawal, settlement, dismissal or pre-tribunal hearing decision) across all tribunals, since the start of this data series in 2008/09. In total 223,246 cases or claims were ‘disposed’ of in 2013, which is an increase of 19 per cent on the same period in 2012.

Employment tribunal disposals increased by 36 per cent, with 34,767 claims disposed of during October to December 2013.

In summary – all good news for employers and bad news for litigators!

Rob Bryan Associates
http://www.robbryanassociates.org.uk
rob@robertbryan.co.uk chris@robertbryan.co.uk

Unemployment figures updated

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2012 at 10:51 am

The Office for National Statistics has today announced the latest unemployment figures. In the 3 months to May 2012 the jobless figure fell 65,000 to end at 2.58 million.

The number of people employed rose in the same period by 181,000 to 29.35 million which is the biggest increase since 2010.

The government has placed much emphasis on the employment of young people. Unemployment for 16-24 year olds fell by 10,000 to 1.02 million.

Dispute the overall fall in jobless numbers the long term unemployed, those who have not worked for two years or more has increased to 441,000 the highest level since 1997.

Earnings

Average earning rose in the year to May by 1.5%. The average wage for UK workers excluding bonuses stood at £442 per week.

Rob Bryan Associates Limited
For all your Employment Matters
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Compulsory pension arrangements for employers

In Uncategorized on April 2, 2012 at 7:59 pm

The Pensions Act 2008 will require employers to ensure that their employees are enrolled into a pension scheme making a minimum contribution of 3% of wages. Employees will contribute 3% and 1% will come from government. Arrangements will be made within a compliant employer scheme or a compulsory state scheme.

Employers with more then 250 employees will need to be enrolled by 1 February 2014

Employers with 50-249 employees will need to be enrolled by 1 April 2015

Employers with 30-49 employees will need to be enrolled by 1 October 2015

Employers with less than 30 employees will need to be enrolled between 1 January 2016 and 1 April 2017.

Rob Bryan Associates
http://www.robbryanassociates.org.uk
robbryan@mac.com

New minimum wage rates for 2012

In Uncategorized on April 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

From the 1 October 2012 the adult national minimum wage will increase from £6.08 to £6.19 per hour. The rates for 16-17 year olds and 18-20 year olds will not be increased. Commenting on the freezing of the youth rates Vince Cable sated that “raising the youth rates would have been of little value to young people if it meant it was harder for them to get a job in the long run”

The rates remain at 16-17 year olds £3.68 and the rate for 18-20 year olds at £4.98 per hour.

Rob Bryan Associates
http://www.robbryanassociates.org.uk
robbryan@mac.com

Qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims becomes two years

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm

For employers it is important to note that despite the headline for this change in employment law due to take effect from 6 April 2012 the detail is crucial.

Employees who commence their new job on or after 6 April will require two year’s service before being able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal.

Therefore all existing employees will be able to make an unfair dismissal claim in the normal way providing that they have one year’s service. In reality this means that there will be a year of transition between the two requirements.

The current maximum award for an employee at an Employment Tribunal is £72,300.

Rob Bryan Associates
http://www.robbryanassociates.org.uk
robbryan@mac.com

New rates of statutory maternity pay and sick pay

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2012 at 11:48 am

From 9 April 2012 Statutory Maternity pay, Paternity, Additional Paternity, Adoption pay and Maternity Allowance will all increase from £128.73 to £135.45; and Statutory Sick pay will increase from £81.60 to £85.85.

Rob Bryan Associates
http://www.robbryanassociates.org.uk
robbryan@mac.com

Right to Request Flexible Working Extended to All Employees

In Uncategorized on March 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Right to Request Flexible Working Extended to All Employees

Key details

Due to come into effect from 30th June 2014, the right to request a flexible pattern of work is amended by:

  • extending the right to request flexible working to all employees (not just those with parental responsibility for a child, or caring responsibilities for an adult);
  • replacing the requirement for the employer to deal with the request in accordance with the statutory procedure with a requirement to “deal with the application in a reasonable manner”; and
  • requiring the employer to notify the employee of its decision within a “decision period” of three months of the application (or longer if this is agreed).

The 26-week qualifying period for employees to make a request for flexible working is retained along with the restriction that employees can only make one flexible working request in any 12-month period.

Acas has produced a draft non-statutory booklet that provides good practice guidance for employers in dealing with such requests and this can be accessed via the following link:

http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/p/6/Handling-requests-to-work-flexibly-in-a-reasonable-manner-an-Acas-guide.pdf

The opening up of the eligibility criteria for the right to request flexible working is likely to lead to some fairly high profile coverage in the media nearer the implementation date, so employers are advised to prepare themselves for a possible influx of applications soon after 30th June 2014. Further advice and guidance on the subject can of course be obtained from your consultant.

Rob Bryan Associates
http://www.robbryanassociates.org.uk
rob@robertbryan.co.uk            chris@robertbryan.co.uk