Emplaw Monthly - End of September 2016
New from Emplaw Online
Pregnancy and Breast Feeding – The Employer's Key 5 Health & Safety obligations
Employers often lack some of the knowledge to help them treat mothers fairly. This was among the findings of the recent research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and prompted the launch this month of its initiative called ‘Working Forward – supporting pregnancy and maternity rights.’ (see News below). Click here for this Emplaw Online article which focuses on one part of that jigsaw, namely the employer's health and safety obligations to pregnant women and breast feeding mothers.
Caste as a Protected Characteristic?
An article by Penningtons Manches (authors of Emplaw Online content on European employment law) about the background to and the proposed consultation on whether to include caste as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.
The article is found here
Focus On Emplaw Online Content
This month we have added two new guides to our website entitled Maternity Health and Safety and Sickness During Pregnancy. They are both drafted by barrister Tom Gillie from leading chambers, Cloisters. These guides complement our existing content. Click on the links below for a list of the guides under associated topics:
Full content is available to Emplaw Online subscribers only
Minimum Wage rates
The new rates which apply to pay reference periods beginning on or after 1st October 2016 are:
£6.95 per hour - 21-24 yrs old
£5.55 per hour 18-20 yrs old
£4 per hour - 16-17 yrs old
£3.40 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.
The National Living Wage for those aged 25 yrs and over remains at £7.20 per hour .
New to work guidance
Acas has published guidance for young people who are starting work for the first time, setting out what their rights and obligations are. This is part of a suite of Acas guidance on the world of work for younger workers for employers and employees
Line manager guidance
Acas has also published new guidance for line managers (‘Managing People’) to help run effective teams and make businesses more productive. Acas is calling on small businesses and larger companies to use the guidance to ensure that staff are equipped to manage and care for teams.
Draft Income Tax (PAYE)(Amendment) Regulations 2017
HMRC has published draft regulations making provision for the payment, collection and recovery of the apprenticeship levy. Consultation is taking place on the draft regulation until 14 November 2016. Responses will be reviewed and the draft regulations will be revised as appropriate before they are laid before Parliament.
The apprenticeship levy was announced at Summer budget 2015 and at the Autumn Statement 2015 it was announced that it would come into effect in April 2017. The primary legislation setting out the Apprenticeship Levy is contained in Part 6 of the Finance Act 2016. The levy will be a levy on employers operating in the UK to fund new apprenticeships and will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill.
Consultation on caste discrimination
The government has announced that it is to undertake a full public consultation on the issue of caste and the Equality Act 2010. A key aim of the consultation will be to obtain the views of the public on whether additional measures are needed to ensure victims of caste discrimination have appropriate legal protection and effective remedies under the Equality Act 2010.
See also the note by Penningtons Manches (authors of Emplaw Online content) about the proposed consultation and the background to it
Corporate governance inquiry
BIS has launched an inquiry on corporate governance focusing on executive pay, directors duties, and the composition of boardrooms, including worker representation and gender balance in executive positions. The BIS inquiry follows on from the corporate governance failings highlighted by the BIS Committee’s recent inquiries into BHS and Sports Direct.
Transforming the justice system
The Ministry of Justice has published proposals for transforming the courts and tribunal service. The summary of reforms outlines the proposed changes and invites views on certain specific measures. In outline, the proposals aim for:
- more use of case officers for routine tasks
- more decisions made ‘on the papers’
- more virtual hearings
- more cases resolved out of court
The MoJ is also working to make its processes accessible and moving many services online, e.g. probate applications, managing divorce online and digitizing applications for lasting powers of attorney. The deadline for responding to the consultation is 27 October 2016.
Welsh government consultation on use of agency workers during strike action
The Welsh government has launched a consultation on the use of agency workers during strike action. The consultation seeks views relating to the principle of disallowing the use of temporary agency staff to cover for employees undertaking official industrial action in Welsh public services.
Currently Regulation 7 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 prohibits employment businesses from providing agency workers to cover the duties normally performed by an employee of an organisation who is taking part in a strike or other industrial action, or to cover the work of an employee covering the duties of an employee taking part in a strike or other industrial action.
The UK Government has consulted on a proposal to rescind this regulation: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hiring-agency-staff-during-strike-action-reforming-regulation. Removing the regulation from the Conduct Regulations would allow employers, facing industrial action, to hire temporary agency workers from employment businesses who would then be able to perform some of the functions not being carried out due to the industrial action.
The Welsh Government believes that the use of agency workers would undermine the right to strike by reducing the impact of industrial action, and affect the balance between employer and trade unions, which underlies its Social Partnership approach. It also believes that the UK Government’s approach should not override its ability to pursue the Welsh way of delivering relevant public services.
EHRC initiative supporting pregnancy and maternity rights
Following on from their research published this Summer into the prevalence and nature of pregnancy discrimination and disadvantage in the workplace, the EHRC have launched an initiative called ‘Working Forward – supporting pregnancy and maternity rights’. The aim is for its founding members (including Barclays and BT Group) to share their knowledge, experience and good practice with businesses who sign up and to highlight the economic benefits they get from retaining the talent and experience of their female employees
The EHRC quotes findings that if women's participation in the labour market increased to approximately the same as men’s, it would add 10% to the size of the economy by 2030 and that top performing companies for gender diversity are 15% more likely to perform better financially than the average.
No service provision change when company carries out activities as a commercial venture on its own behalf
CT Plus ran a “park-and-ride” service under a contract with the local council by virtue of which it received a substantial subsidy. Lincolnshire Road Car, having grown impatient with a tendering process, decided to run a commercial service on the same route, using its own staff and buses, without a subsidy from the Council. As a result the Council terminated its contract with CT Plus.
No Scally duty to inform in case of pension benefits
Mrs N worked for Dundee City Council from 1971 until her death in 2013. She was an active member of the Council pension scheme until November 2012.
Mr N made a complaint after his wife’s death about the amount of death benefit he received. Mrs N had opted to stop contributions to the pension Scheme after 40 years of pensionable service. This led to a much reduced death benefit when Mrs N died.
The complaint was not upheld on the basis that:
National laws in breach of framework agreement on fixed-term work
This case concerns a request for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of clauses 3 to 5 of the framework agreement on fixed-term work (the ‘framework agreement’ annexed to Council Directive 1999/70/EC ) concerning the classification of Ms López’s employment relationship that took the form of successive appointments as a member of occasional regulated staff.