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Latest Brief - Week Ending 20 June 2014

Football has even invaded Employment Law this week

This week the EAT ruled on a case involving a football referee who argued that he was an employee of the Scottish Football Association and that he had the right to claim unfair dismissal.

In deciding whether or not the referee could be deemed to be employed by the SFA, the EAT looked at facts such as the benefits the referee was offered and whether or not he could send another referee to a match as his substitute. It considered that there was no obligation on the referee to accept matches or on the SFA to offer work and also the fact that the referee bought his own whistles, flags and notebooks. 

These are all important factors in determining whether an employment relationship has arisen, despite what a contract might say. The EAT held that the referee was not an employee and could not claim unfair dismissal. However, it deemed that he was an employee under the Equality Act for the purposes of being able to bring his discrimination claim and was also a worker for the purposes of being able to bring his holiday pay claim.

An aptly timed reminder (and we do enjoy talking about football at the moment!) of the different relationships which can arise between organisations and individuals and the factors which point to employee status.

Death is not the End…at least for claiming holiday pay

An unusual case was reported during the week which considered whether or not the death of a worker extinguished their right to paid annual leave. 

The case concerned a worker who had died in service. He had 140.5 days’ of untaken annual leave as at the date of his death as he had been on extended sick leave. 

The European Courts were asked to look at the Working Time Directive and consider whether the right to paid holiday extinguished upon death. After much discussion on the wording and purpose of the Directive, the CJEU held that death did not extinguish the right and the right to be paid for accrued but untaken leave would remain (and presumably therefore to be paid to the worker’s estate).

Latest Brief - Week Ending 13 June 2014

Statistics speak for themselves

It’s getting close to a year since Employment Tribunal fees were introduced. We don’t need to tell you that there has been a decline in the number of claims issued but we have all been waiting in anticipation of some actual statistics to prove what we all know.

The MOJ released statistics yesterday which have looked at claims issued between January and March 2014. The results were as follows:

- There were 5,619 single claims lodged during this period in 2014 compared to 13,491 during the same period last year. That’s a 58% reduction in single claims.

Interestingly, there has been an increase in the number of claims compared to the October to December 2013 period which had seen a 67% decrease in the number of single claims issued compared to the same period last year.

So, although the number of claims is significantly lower as a result of the fees, perhaps people are getting used to the idea of paying a fee. It will be interesting to see the next set of statistics to see whether the number of claims issued rises again.

In a BIS survey also published this week, it was noteworthy that 49% of employees who had issued claims before the fees were introduced said that they would not have issued their claims had they had to pay a fee.

Pay up or prepare to be shamed

The government has issued a list of 25 employers who have not been paying national minimum wage this week. There are no major employers listed, which is no surprise.

This “naming and shaming” idea formed part of the updated policy on enforcement of the national minimum wage recently published by BIS. Ensuring that employers complied with the duty to pay the minimum wage was also one of the employment topics mentioned in the Queen’s Speech recently.