2014 Employment Law Changes Round Up

December 11, 2014

FLEXIBLE WORKING FOR ALL

The right for all employees with 26 weeks service or more to request flexible working came onto the statute books on 30th June this year. This right was extended from only being available to staff with caring responsibilities has seen quite an increase in requests being received by employers. The good news is that the review of flexible working rights also relaxed the prescriptive timetable that had existed previously, and the statutory procedure was ditched. However, there is still a three month period within an employer must respond to a request, so don’t get too complacent if a written request lands on your desk. If you have not yet updated your procedures to reflect these changes contact us and we can assist you.

SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE

The right for both parents or adoptive parents to share the entitlement to 50 of the 52 weeks was introduced on 1st December 2014 and relates to babies due on or after 5th April 2015. This right is subject to the same qualifying periods as maternity leave, and the existing regulations continue to apply for those mothers wishing to use it. We have issued a comprehensive policy and procedure on this to our retained clients. If you would like to obtain yours before you receive your first request, contact us

OVERTIME AND HOLIDAY PAY

The EAT ruling in November that employers who work regular overtime should have this reflected in their holiday pay has caused a great stir amongst employers who a wondering if they need to make a change to how they calculate holiday pay. This judgement is now being appealed and it is our advice to employers to await the outcome of the appeal before making any changes. If the EAT ruling is upheld remember it is only applicable to 20 days holiday pay and not enhanced holiday entitlement or public holidays which fall under UK law and not the EU Working time directive.

HEALTH AND WORK SERVICE

The much heralded Health and Work Service promised by the government in October 2014 has yet to materialise. Now rebranded Fit for Work, this service is set to offer access to free Occupational Health advice for employers dealing with employees on long term sickness absence and to offer tax breaks if employers taking the advice given by the service. Now mooted to be phased in from this month, the position remains unclear, so watch this space for further details as they become available.

MANAGING BEREAVEMENT AND COMPASSIONATE LEAVE

Employer’s have welcomed the guidance from ACAS on managing bereavement, although if you expect it to provide all the answers then you will be disappointed. This reflects the sensitivity of such matters and the fact that no two cases are ever the same. However, it is a good starting point for guidance and does give some useful contacts if further help is needed. It can be found on www.acas.org.uk If you need any guidance on handling specific cases or in preparing you own policy, please contact us.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Predictably, a number of cases have arisen this year where employees have been disciplined or dismissed as a result of inappropriate use of social media. This is a new and very complex area for employers to manager, but case law has shown that having a robust Social Media Policy that covers both work and private use of social media is essential if any actions are to be successful. If your social media/internet and email use policy is in need of review, contact us

DATA PROTECTION – CCTV

The Information Commissioner’s office has issued a new Code of Practice on CCTV. As more and more employers are using CCTV in the workplace, we would advise that you review this to avoid falling foul of the Data Protection Act 1998. It can be found here

NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

This rose to £6.50 in October 2014 for workers aged 21 and over. Expect a further increase to be announced early next year as the political parties get into position for the general election…