Category Archives: Employment law

Collective consultancy & redundancy update – good news!

This morning the European Court of Justice has confirmed that employers only need to collectively consult in redundancy situations where they propose to make redundant more than 20 people in any individual place.

This marks the end of the employment appeal tribunal’s earlier decision in which it held that collective consultancy would apply where any employer proposed to make redundant more than 20 people anywhere in its organisation.

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors

New guidance for adopting parents

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has published a guidance document addressing changes to statutory adoption leave and pay that came into effect on 5 April 2015.

There are four key changes.

  • The requirement for employees to have continuous service to be eligible for statutory adoption leave has been removed, making adoption a ‘day 1 right.’
  • The first six weeks of statutory adoption pay are now paid at the earnings-related rate.
  • New groups of parents, such as intended parents in surrogacy arrangements, and foster parents now qualify for adoption leave and pay, and
  • adopters will be entitled to take time off work to attend adoption meetings.

The document is available on the BIS website and is called Changes to Adoption Leave and Pay from 5 April 2015: Technical Guidance For Employers. Click here: link

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors

Zero hours workers must be able to work elsewhere

The Government is pushing ahead with its proposal to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts.

Exclusivity clauses state that although the employer is under no obligation to offer work, the worker is prohibited from accepting work from any other employer.

This has long been seen as unfair and the Government has now published a draft set of regulations to bring this ban into force. The regulations will also include penalties for employers who try to avoid this prohibition, generally by offering a very low number of guaranteed hours or no work or fewer opportunities to workers who also undertake work elsewhere.

The bottom line is, if you offer zero hours contracts you must allow workers to accept work elsewhere if offered and you must not subject them to any detriment if they do so.

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors

Shared parental leave – are you ready?

Shared parental leave is nearly upon us and we lawyers are still breaking out into a cold sweat at the mere thought of this, arguably the most complicated piece of employment legislation ever to be passed!

In a nutshell, parents whose babies are due to be born on or after 5 April 2015 can elect to opt in to shared parental leave and have up to a year off between them.

Their leave can run separately or concurrently, so, for example, each parent could have the first six months off after the birth together, or they could each take separate blocks of leave that add up to one year.

The devil as always is in the detail and the detail in this case is in the notification procedures that need to be given to their respective employers.

Explaining this in a blog would be far too lengthy and detailed. Whilst we don’t yet know what the uptake will be, some employers are waiting to see whether they get requests before putting policies into place. If you would like further information please contact me at clare.nicolaou@novalex.co.uk

Suspending employees – when and why?

The Times reported yesterday that Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending investigation after reportedly aiming a punch at a male producer.

Allegations of physical or attempted physical violence will generally lead to an employee being suspended but sometimes employers will suspend as a knee jerk reaction in other circumstances where it may not be necessary.

Suspension should only be used where there is no viable alternative and, because it is not in itself a disciplinary sanction, it should be with full pay. So, when should employers consider suspending an employee? Some general pointers are as follows:

  1. Where the allegations are serious and may (if proven) amount to gross misconduct;
  2. Where there is a danger that if left at work the employee may tamper with evidence or pressurize witnesses;
  3. Where leaving the employee at work may threaten the safety of other individuals.

Often, however, there may be other temporary solutions whilst the investigation is under-way.  For example, employees under investigation may be moved to alternative locations or onto different shifts if they need to be kept away from certain people.

If there is no option but to suspend, any periods of suspension should be as short as possible and the individual should be given regular updates as to the ongoing investigation.

Posted by: Clare Nicolaou Employment lawyer,  Novalex Solicitors