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