Increase in compensation payments 2016

BIS has made The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016, containing the annual increases in compensation payments, before Parliament.

It applies to dismissals (or detriments, etc) occurring on or after 6 April 2016.

The main changes are:-

Shared parental leave

On 5 October 2015 it was announced that the government intends to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents. The government hopes that the planned change will increase flexibility and choice in parental leave arrangements and support working parents with the costs of childcare during the first year of a child’s life. The government intends to consult on the issue in the first half of next year, with the legislation expected to come into force sometime in 2018.

Research by the government suggests that nearly 2 million grandparents have given up work, reduced their hours or have taken time off work to help their families who struggle with the costs of childcare. The government estimates that grandparents are contributing as much as £8 million each year in childcare costs. The government states that ‘more than half of mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first go back to work after maternity leave, and over 60 per cent of working grandparents with grandchildren aged under 16 provide some childcare’.

Did you find our post ‘Grandparents eligible for shared parental leave and Pay in 2018’ useful? Read more on Shared parental leave here

Adverse Weather Policies

Disruption caused by adverse weather conditions can be difficult for employees and employers alike. Employers have to grapple with getting business done with a limited workforce whilst employees face the uncertainty of whether they will be paid if they have to stay at home because of school closures or just aren’t able to get into work.

Employees should ensure that they have back up plans for childcare and travel if they are reliant on public transport but in emergency situations an employee is entitled to take unpaid time off to look after their dependents, for example if their child’s school is closed and there is no other childcare at short notice.

Tips for dealing with Adverse weather conditions

We can advise you on how to deal with this difficult situation and draft an adverse weather policy tailored to your business needs. Please contact us to discuss further.

Holiday pay for employers

Non-guaranteed overtime must be included in the calculation of holiday pay. An Employment Appeal Tribunal judgment has potentially major implications for employers in respect of both employees and workers by clarifying that:

Employment Tribunal Fees

From 29 July anyone wishing to make a claim in the Employment Tribunal or lodging an appeal in the EAT will need to pay a fee, unless they are able to obtain an exemption.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

On 1 December 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The following changes to terminology have resulted:

Key dates relevant to the operation of the new service include:

DBS has announced that the new “Update Service” will be launched this summer. This new service will enable individuals to register once for a DBS check which will then be automatically updated and available for organisations to check.

Harassment at Work. Employer Guide

There has been much news publicity recently surrounding harassment, particularly on the grounds of disability and sex. According to Macmillan Cancer Support there has been an increased number of employees with cancer feeling discriminated when they return to work.

This is supported by a YouGov survey that shows 37% of employees experience discrimination at work after they have had cancer, with 9% leaving and 13% claiming their employer had failed to make reasonable adjustments. As cancer is classed as a disability, companies need to ensure that they act legally when dealing with such employees.

Also sharing the headlines have been claims of sexual harassment, often with such conduct being ignored by companies and other work colleagues. An employer will often be held responsible for the discriminatory actions of its employees and may also be responsible for discrimination by external bodies such as recruitment agencies if they are acting with the employer’s authority. It is therefore important for an employer to investigate any such allegations that arise and if necessary take the appropriate remedial action.

What is harassment?

Harassment involves unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an offensive, intimidating or hostile environment. It is discriminatory if it is related to the following protected characteristics:

Why is it important for employers to know about discrimination law?

Ensuring equality

Discrimination is governed by the Equality Act 2010; its’ purpose is to ensure equality of opportunity at work, to protect employees’ dignity and to ensure that complaints can be raised without fear of reprisal.

Damaging publicity and loss of staff morale

Allegations of discrimination or harassment are likely to create bad publicity for an employer; an Employment Tribunal hearing is held in public, often with the press in attendance in the hope of gathering an interesting news story for publication in local, or even national, media. It is wiser to prevent a claim than to have to manage the consequential fallout after a claim has been made. Discrimination and harassment issues can be highly emotive, and the process may have a negative impact on employee morale.

High compensation payments and expensive litigation

There is no limit to the amount of compensation that an employee can be awarded by an Employment Tribunal in a successful discrimination case. A company also has to factor in the significant management time involved and legal costs, which are usually not recoverable in an Employment Tribunal.

Practical steps employers can take to reduce the risk of an Employment Tribunal claim:

Employee shareholders rejected

The House of Lords has again voted to reject the proposed Employee Shareholder status set out in the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.

The government is determined to press ahead with this scheme and has published some concessions in the hope that the House of Lords will agree; these are:

The government had made some earlier concessions to the original proposals:-

Regulating Recruitment

The government is consulting until 11 April 2013 on a change to how employment agencies and employment businesses are regulated. The aim is to simplify the current regulations while still maintaining safeguards for work-seekers and hirers. The government proposes to retain, for example, the restriction on charging up-front fees to work-seekers and on charging unreasonable transfer fees to hirers. However, it considers that the recruitment sector should have greater freedom to self-regulate its conduct than under the current regime.

TUPE: consultation on changes

There is currently consultation on a number of proposed changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (“TUPE”) to take effect from October 2013. The most significant is the repeal of the regulations relating to “service provision changes”.

Other proposals include:

No obligation to provide employee liability information, but transferors would have to disclose information to the transferee to aid the information and consultation process.
Amending the provisions restricting changes to terms, giving protection against dismissal and giving the right to resign in response to a substantial change in working conditions, in each case to reflect the wording of the underlying Directive and/or ECJ case law more closely.
Providing that “entailing changes in the workforce” includes changes to the workforce’s location.
Enabling the transferee to consult with the transferring employees on collective redundancies prior to the transfer.