Emplaw Monthly - End of January 2020
Migration Advisory Committee report published
The Migration Advisory Committee has published its report :A Points-Based System and Salary Thresholds for Immigration. The report is split into two parts, the first focussing on a PBS and the second on salary thresholds
European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020
Royal assent has been given and the government can proceed to ratify the withdrawal agreement . The European Parliament is expected to give its consent to the withdrawal agreement on 29 January following which the Council of the European Union can authorise the conclusion of the withdrawal agreement on behalf of the EU.
For a useful card tracking the progress of the Brexit legislation and what it means for workers’ rights, please see Emplaw Law card
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EHRC guidance on harassment
The EHRC has published guidance on preventing harassment in the workplace and a 7-step guide for employers. The guidance builds on the findings of the EHRC’s Turning the Tables report, published in 2018, which recommended that employers should have a legal duty to prevent sexual harassment. It is detailed guidance which illustrates the extent of the problem with statistics, clarifies what is meant by harassment with a number of examples and identifies the steps employers should take to avoid harassment in the workplace including what should be included in a policy.
Sexual harassment (and specifically steps employers can take to prevent workplace harassment) has been at the top of the news and Government policy agenda for some time now. In the latter regard, a new statutory Code of Practice on sexual harassment has been heralded on several occasions over the last couple of years. The contents of the EHRC technical guidance were reported to be a draft version of the Code of Practice.
Meanwhile, the GEO has launched a sexual harassment survey and its results are expected to be published in Spring 2020, alongside the findings of its technical consultation on harassment which closed in October 2019.
Proposed benefit and pension rates 2020/2021
The Department for Work and Pensions has published proposed benefit and pension rates for 2020/2021 to commence from April 2020.
Weekly rates will include:
Maternity allowance (standard rate): £151.20
Statutory maternity/ paternity/ parental/ adoption pay (standard rate): £151.20
Statutory sick pay (standard rate): £95.85
Arts Council data on socio-economic backgrounds
Arts Council England has announced that arts organisations will have to provide data on the socio-economic background of employees as a step towards tackling working class gaps in their workforce.
Government response to Low Pay Commission recommendations
The government has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations with regard to increases to the national minimum wage and the national living wage from April 2020, as follows:
NMW (workers 21-24) £8.20 ph
NMW (workers 18-20) £6.45 ph
NMW (workers 16-17) £4.55
NLW (workers 25+) £8.72
The next Budget will be held on 11 March 2020.
HM Treasury: off-payroll review
HM Treasury has announced that the government is launching a review of changes to off-payroll working rules. The review is intended to address any concerns from businesses or individuals affected by the changes which will come into force in April 2020.
Meanwhile, the government has published Regulations which allow HMRC to pursue end users if agencies or other fee payers in the labour chain fail to pay IR35 tax.
Parental Bereavement Leave
The right to Parental Bereavement Leave (PBL) will come into force on 6th April 2020. It will apply to all employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth (from 24 weeks of pregnancy), irrespective of how long they have been with their employer (the leave is a ‘day-one’ employment right).
Parents with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer and weekly average earnings over the lower earnings limit (£118 per week for 2019 to 2020) will also be entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (SPBP), paid at the statutory rate of £148.68 per week (for 2019 to 2020), or 90% of average weekly earnings where this is lower.
SPBP will be administered by employers in the same way as existing family-related statutory payments such as Statutory Paternity Pay.
ET has jurisdiction to hear claim against insurer and insured
The main issue in this appeal was whether an ET has power to determine an insurance cover dispute between a claimant and the insurer of an insolvent respondent, where the insured's rights to insurance cover have vested in the claimant under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 (the 2010 Act).
Interim injunction granted by High Court to allow performance of most of duties during suspension
Ms Harrison was Deputy Head of Legal Service of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. Ms Harrison sought an interim mandatory injunction, permitting her to perform autonomously, the majority of her normal duties including providing advice and representation at contentious inquest hearings and providing legal advice to the Trust and/or its officers. She voluntarily agreed not to undertake clinical negligence casework.
No breach of Article 8 where employee dismissed for failure to disclose child protection issue
This appeal is concerned, principally, with the impact of the employee’s rights under Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights being engaged, in the context of a claim of unfair dismissal. Article 8 reads:
‘Right to respect for private and family life