Supreme Court Rules Employment Tribunal Fees are unlawful

The Supreme Court ruled on 26th July 2017 that the government had acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally by introducing fees for those bringing claims to an employment tribunal.  The fees of up to £1200 were introduced in July 2013 by Chris Grayling, the Lord Chancellor at that time, with the stated aim of reducing costs and ostensibly to discourage malicious claims.  However a review in 2017 on the impact of this change has shown there has been a 70% drop in the number of cases brought to the employment tribunal since fees were first introduced.

This has led to the belief that the fees have prevented comparatively large numbers of people with potentially legitimate claims

National Living Wage Changes – April 2017

NLW and NMW Increases
The National Living Wage was introduced at £7.20 per hour in April 2016 for employees over the age of 25 with the stated aim of increasing this to £9.00 an hour by 2020. In the autumn statement the Chancellor announced an increase of 30 pence an hour effective from April 2017. Some observers believe this to be a slightly lower increase than might have been expected if the goal of £9.00 an hour is to be reached by 2020.
The new minimum rates of pay rates from 1 April 2017 will be:
National Living Wage
£7.50 per hour - 25 years old and over
National

Probationary Periods

Many employers require new employees to complete a “probationary” or “trial period” at the start of their employment before the appointment will be confirmed. This is to allow time for both the employee and employer to assess the suitability of the position during a specified time period.
It should be made clear when an offer of employment is made that the offer is subject to employment confirmation at the end of a probationary period and the employer should specify the length of the probationary period, what training and support will be available, what is expected of the employee during this time and how and when reviews will take place. There

A reminder of two important Employment Law Changes from April 2016

The most highly publicised change is the introduction of the the National Living Wage that will affect everyone over 25 years of age. From 1st 2016 April the new top rate for the minimum wage for this group will be £7.20 an hour. At the same time the penalty for any employer found not to be paying the minimum wage will double and this will include not paying the new living wage.
The other much discussed change is the introduction of the new single tier state pension replacing the basic state pension and the additional state pension. Effective from 6th April 2016 this will affect new pensioners and people in

ACAS Early Conciliation

It is always best to resolve work place disputes as early as possible by following the business or organisations grievance or appeals policy, where these are in place, until the process is concluded. Where resolution cannot be achieved and the employee intends to lodge an Employment Tribunal claim they are legally obliged to notify ACAS before doing so. ACAS will then offer the opportunity of Acas Early Conciliation.
Acas early conciliation is voluntary and offered to both sides with the aim of settling the matter and involves them working with the employer and employee to help find a solution that is acceptable to both parties and so avoid the

Christmas Party Season

Is your work place prepared for the Christmas Party season and the challenges that can arise around issues of conduct or discrimination?
Employers have a “duty of care” to their employees and the Equality Act of 2010 makes employers liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by employees in the course of their employment unless the employer can show that reasonable steps had been taken to prevent such actions. Employment Tribunals have ruled that social events involving employees immediately after work or at an organised function such as a Christmas or leaving party could be considered as within the “course of employment”.
So what steps should employers

Employment Law Changes

Several important employment law changes come into affect in October 2015 and these include:
Minimum wage increases from 1st October
The minimum wage for adults will increase by 20 pence from £6.50 to £6.70 an hour
For young people aged 18 to 20 the increase will be 17 pence to £5.30 an hour.
For those aged 16 and 17 the increase is 8 pence an hour to £3.87
The apprentice rate will increase by 57 pence to £3.30
This will be the largest real-term increase since 2007 and more than 1.4 million of the lowest paid workers will be affected by this.
Ban on smoking in cars with children from

Fit For Work

From this week the new Fit For Work scheme provides employers in England and Wales with the opportunity to refer employees who have been absent from work due to illness or issues related to illness for 4 weeks or more for a free fitness to work assessment. There are two aspects of the service – a health and work advice service for employees, employers and GPs and a health assessment service where working employees can be referred by the employer for a 45 minute telephone assessment by an appropriately qualified health professional. The service is particularly aimed at Small and Medium sized businesses who have little or no occupational health

Annual Leave and Sickness

Most employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks annual leave with part timers receiving the same on a pro rota basis. Details of the calculation of holiday entitlement and rules governing the requesting and booking of holidays should be outlined in the contract of employment and the employer has the right to determine when holidays can be taken. There is no legal right to be paid for public holidays and these days can be included in the 5.6 weeks annual leave with payment for these holidays dependant on the terms of the employees contract.
As a minimum, 4 weeks annual leave has to be taken in the year in which it

Closing the Gender Pay Gap

The government began consultation on 14th July 2015 on proposals for legislation to be enacted in the first half of 2016 requiring Companies with more than 250 employees to carry out a review of gender pay differences and publish the results.
The 2010 Equality Act (Section 78) gave power to the government to make regulations requiring mandatory gender pay reporting. However up until recently a voluntary approach was preferred and these powers have not been called upon. The intention to look to change this approach was first raised by the Liberal Democrats in March 2015 as a consequence of the revelation that only five large Companies have so far published