Consultation starts on exclusivity clause ban in zero hour contracts

The Government last week announced the start of a consultation on banning exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts, and how to identify and close any loopholes in the way they implement this future ban.
Exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts effectively ban people on such contracts from taking jobs elsewhere, even if they are offered no hours

How to deal with an Acas conciliation request

If an employee or ex-employee has a potential Employment Tribunal claim, from May 2014 they are required to contact Acas first, who will then contact their employer.
There have been a lot of changes to the Employment Tribunal system in the last 2 years and this is the latest one, which may be significant for employers.

How to check a person’s legal right to work in the UK

All employers have a legal obligation to check that all their staff have a legal right to work in the UK before they can employ them, as it is illegal to employ a person who does not have permission to live and work in the UK (the Company can be prosecuted and fined if they

Social Networking and Work – can they go together?

Smart phones, internet, social media sites, e-mails, tweeting, blogging – we have accepted all of these innovations as part of our working and daily lives – they help us to work more flexibly, stay in touch for longer and respond to each other more quickly. But several surveys and employment tribunal cases this year have shown that employers need to provide clear guidance to staff regarding how they use social networking sites.

Latest Employment Tribunal News

Several changes have been made to the Employment Tribunal proceedings in England, Wales and Scotland over the past two years. Further changes will also come into effect in the near future so here we look at the latest Tribunal news!
We look at all the changes here.
Introduced on 6th April 2014, but made fully

What happens if I’m injured at a client’s premises?

While the latest figures from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) show that the total numbers of accidents at work fell compared to the previous year, serious incidents, injuries and accidents unfortunately still happen and the rate of fatalities at work hovers between 0.45 to 0.5 per 100,000 workers.
The HSE oversees the implementation and

Keep your staff happy, they cost £30,000 to replace

A recent study by economics consultancy Oxford Economics found that the average cost of replacing a member of staff when they leave is more than £30,000. You need to keep your staff happy!
The survey was carried out in the legal, retail, accountancy, media, advertising, IT and technology sectors and found that the overall financial

Employing school leavers – a change in the law for young people

From the start of the 2013/14 Academic year the Government changed the law on how long young people are required to stay in education or training.
Raising the Participation Age‘ (RPA) means that young people must now stay in education or training longer.
‘Raising the Participation Age‘ (RPA) means that young people must now stay

What languages should be spoken at work

With the diversity of workforces in the UK today, there will inevitably be many workers of different nationalities and with different languages and cultures.  This will mean that employers may need to deal with issues regarding what language is used in the workplace, particularly if many workers do not have English as their first language.

Unison lose their bid to overturn tribunal fees

In January 2011 the Government announced it was going to reform “workplace disputes” practices with the aim of encouraging both employers and employees to resolve disputes themselves. This was in order to reduce the number of tribunal claims, and to speed up the claims that do arise.
Traditionally, Employment Tribunals  are used to help resolve workplace disputes

Time workers should be paid the NMW to ‘sleep over’

At the end of 2013 an important case went to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) – Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Ltd – which confirmed that employees who are engaged on ‘time work’*, and who are required to ‘sleep over’ at a specified location as part of their work, are entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage for

Should employers fear the office Christmas party?

Your Christmas Party is normally pretty lively and good fun, but employers need to consider various factors beforehand, so there are no problems (yawn – but bear with us here!).
Unfortunately, because of various pieces of legislation, employers need to have a policy in place setting out the standards of acceptable behaviour for their workers

European Union decides surrogate mothers can take maternity leave

The European Court of Justice in 2013 advised that a British woman who had a child through a surrogate mother is entitled to paid maternity leave.
Women who adopt a child in the UK are entitled to the same statutory adoption pay as pregnant mothers, but families who choose to use a surrogate mother to

‘Without Prejudice’ rules explained (and Settlement Agreements)

‘Without Prejudice’ Rules have existed for a long time and are used by an employer when they and an employee have a dispute in their working relationship which they are trying to resolve in the most amicable way. We look at what this means and how it can be used here.
The ‘Without Prejudice’ Rules

RIDDOR changes from 1st October 2013

RIDDOR stands for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations and is one of the important pieces of UK Health and Safety legislation.
Some major revisions to the Regulations were made on 1st October 2013, which we summarise here.
Including…. RIDDOR requires employers (and freelancers) to report and keep records of work-related accidents which

Employee Shareholder Contracts now in force!

A new type of employment contract – the Employee Shareholder Contract – came to life on 1st September 2013 (as part of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill). UPDATED 2016.
Under this new contract employees give away some of their employment rights in exchange for receiving shares between £2,000 – £50,000 in their company (and benefiting from tax advantages on these shares).

Military Reservists get more employment protection

At the beginning of July 2013 the Ministry of Defence published a whitepaper aimed at helping them plan their resourcing requirements when reserve forces are deployed on operations.  The whitepaper made several suggestions relating to reservists normal employment and made a commitment to provide employers with fewer than 250 staff “more notice [of when their

New Employment Tribunal rules from 29th July

Several important changes will happen to Employment Tribunals at the end of July. Firstly, and most importantly, Tribunal fees are being introduced. In addition, some Employment Tribunal Rules are changing and Compensatory Award limits are changing. Here we’ll run through the changes.
The new rules:

A claim from an applicant will be rejected if it is

Portable criminal record checks now live

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in late 2012 is there to help employers make safe recruitment decisions, and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. In this article we look at what the DBS are responsible for, including

New Equal Pay ruling regarding comparators is good news for female workers

A ruling by the Supreme Court at the end of June has effectively handed women the legal right to demand the same pay as male colleagues doing a different job of ‘equal value’.  (for more info on this see our article here about Equality issues).
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of more than 200 female

Can an Agency worker become permanent at the company they work for?

An Agency worker (temp) is usually contracted and paid by the Agency who employs them, and the Company that hires them pays a fee to the Agency for their work.
Here though, we consider if it is possible for an agency worker to be seen as a permanent employee of the company they work for (not the

Can disciplinary or grievance meetings be audio recorded?

There could be various reasons you, or your Employer, may wish to audio-record important work meetings/hearings, including the hope that this will support your/their position should a claim be made to an employment tribunal in the future. Should you? We look at the details here.
However neither an employee, nor an employer, has the right to record

Disability Discrimination – what makes a worker disabled under the Equality Act 2010?

When considering if a worker is disabled or not for the purposes of being covered by the Equality Act 2010, Employers must consider the impact of any physical or mental impairment (disability) on the workers “ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. We look at all the details you need to know here.

Can an employee be dismissed because of their political opinions?

The European Court of Human Rights says no, you can’t be dismissed because of your political opinions!
In the case of Redfearn v the United Kingdom, the Court of Human Rights found that the UK had violated article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights – the right to freedom of assembly and association

Short-time working and lay-offs – can you use them?

It can be quite common that during a bad patch an employer, rather than make redundancies, may choose to make other changes to your Employment contract including lay-offs and short-time working.
Two options your employer may consider are Lay-offs and Short-time working – and we look at what this means in our article here.
Lay-offs

What are zero-hour contracts, and can casual workers ever become employees?

With the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations in 2010, many Companies are believed to be using far more zero-hour contract workers now, instead of Agency temps. At Workline we get a lot of queries from people employed on zero-hour contracts, so in our article here we look at these types of contracts in more

Hours and rest breaks for UK goods vehicle drivers – Part 1

(This post is from our Workline article base, which is now on the Crunch website).
There are different rules for drivers depending on what they drive. All the rules in our article here only apply to vehicles that are used for the ‘carriage of goods by road’. This is defined as any journey made

Everything you need to know about references (part 2)

In our second article on References here we look at what obigations a previous employer has whey they provide a reference.

The Data Protection Employment Practices Code recommends:

That employers have a policy on giving references that includes a requirement that “all those giving corporate references must be satisfied that the worker wishes

Everything you need to know about references (part 1)

In our first article on References here we look at whether Employers have to seek references when recruiting and whether there is a legal obligation for a previous employer to give a reference to their ex-employee?
Includes….. Is there a legal obligation for a previous employer to give a reference to their ex-employee?
There is

Workplace surveillance: can your employer spy on you at work?

With CCTV cameras everywhere you go these days, how likely is it that your employer or client will be keeping an eye on you? Basically, quite likely. Employers can monitor staff through a variety of methods  – but it must do so in a way that is consistent with several legal requirements and we take a

Trust and Confidence – what does it really mean, and what happens when it breaks down?

We look at the Implied Terms in your contract of employment that are probably not written down anywhere, but are understood to exist because of the conduct of the parties, which includes Trust and Confidence. They should be fairly obvious to both parties to the contract. If there’s nothing clearly agreed between you and your

For what reasons can I be made redundant?

In this article we look at the scenarios when your employer is considering making redundancies, and in what situations can they make you redundant?
The Employment Rights Act 1996 (the law that currently covers making redundancies) says that, ‘an employee is dismissed by reason of redundancy if the dismissal is wholly or mainly attributable to

What is religious discrimination?

Religious discrimination employment law cases have been in the news for most of the last year and with four important UK cases going to the European Court of Human Rights in September 2012, we thought we’d have a look at this in more detail here. Religion or belief is a ‘protected characteristic’ that should

Holiday entitlement and sick leave – some clarity?

There has been plenty of confusion surrounding how workers holiday entitlements interact with sickness absence. With several years of conflicting UK and European Court decisions, we are finally getting close to some clarity about what entitlements people have to holiday entitlement when they are sick.
Here we break down what we know so far.

Peter Stringfellow – how he is clarifying employment law

Last year there was an important employment law case about employment status that showed that Employment Tribunals would focus on the actual reality of working relationships when determining whether someone is self-employed or not, and not focus on what the contractual documentation actually said (Autoclenz v Belcher, see the details here).
This year there has

Your employer is making you redundant but has offered you another job – must you accept it?

Your job is at risk of redundancy, and your employer has offered you redeployment to another job in the same company – are you obliged to take it? We look at the details in our article here.
Redeployment
Employers need to consider the following factors when deciding if an alternative role will be ‘suitable’

I’ve been overpaid! What should I do?

If you have been accidentally overpaid by your employer, it may seems like a lucky bonus, but don’t assume you can keep the money!  Here we look at overpayments for Employees and Freelancers/Sole-Traders.
For employees
Where an employer has made an accidental overpayment of wages or expenses (including holiday pay), the legal position is that

Taking on an apprentice – the full details

Apprenticeship schemes are often in the news (and not always for the right reasons), so we’ve had a look at what they are about and where you can find out more details about taking on an apprentice.
Many UK businesses consider skills shortages and recruitment difficulties a big problem. Apprenticeships can be an answer

Fixed Term Contracts: what are they & how can they come to an end?

Fixed Term Contracts have always been popular with employers as a way to fill a ‘gap’ for a temporary period, but we also know they can be abused. Here we look at what a Fixed Term Contract actually is, what protections they have in law and what happens when they expire.
Fixed Term Contracts are

Employment Law in the United Kingdom – what differences are there?

United Kingdom? We thought we’d look in detail at the main differences in Employment Law between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Generally there is very little difference in employment law between England and Wales, some differences in Scotland but there are some important differences for employees and employers in Northern Ireland.
Here we summarise

Pensions Auto-Enrolment – the full details

From October 2012 most workers will start being auto-enrolled into a pension plan by their Employer (under the Pensions Bill that also abolished the Default Retirement Age during 2011) – here we give you the full details of the Scheme.
This will apply to all workers aged 22 and over (but who have not yet

Have you been dismissed while working abroad?

If you work abroad you may now be able to claim unfair dismissal in the UK if you are dismissed. With unemployment rising in the UK, British workers may have to look abroad for employment, and of course many multinational companies have employees constantly moving across international borders.

Disciplinary procedures: common mistakes made by employers

In unfair dismissal claims, employment tribunals take the “Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures” that was introduced in 2009, into account where relevant..However, many Employers make mistakes when handling disciplinaries and this can result in you having a claim for unfair dismissal if you have one years continuous service (which will increase to 2 years for employment starting after April 2012). Here we look at the common mistakes Employers make.

Small Business Owners – the documents you need to employ staff!

We recently highlighted how red tape is putting off small businesses taking on staff. Another area of huge concern and confusion is what paperwork you need to give your staff to ensure your working relationship is clear and unambiguous. We give you the low-down here!

Volunteering – do something meaningful with your spare time

Anyone can volunteer, Freelancers and Contractors too. All types of organisations regularly need volunteers and Freelancers can often offer specialised skills that ‘traditional’ volunteers cannot.

Large Scale Dismissals – are they legal?

With dismissal notices being given out by Shropshire Council to all their staff earlier this month, we thought we’d take a closer look at what this means and if it could happen more frequently in the current climate.

Bribery Act 2010 – Honesty is the best policy

On 1st July 2011 the Bribery Act (2010) comes into force across the UK, making it a criminal offence for an individual or organisation to offer or receive a bribe – and carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years if convicted.

Part-time workers rights

Did you know that part-time employees and workers have the same employment rights as full-time employees (and workers)? You do not have to work a minimum number of hours to qualify.

Flexible Working and the Right to Request Time off for Training

Certain Employees, who have caring responsibilties for children or adults, now have the legal right to request to work flexible hours. Additionally, employees have the right to request time off for work-related training.

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