the latest briefs.....

Check here for the very latest news on all employment issues…

Latest Brief - Week Ending 12 September 2014

A sensible approach to paternity pay?

An employment tribunal has held that an employer did not discriminate by paying only the statutory rate of additional paternity pay to a male employee on additional paternity leave (APL) when a female employee on maternity leave would have been entitled to full basic pay under the employer's enhanced maternity scheme. There was no direct discrimination because the appropriate comparator was a woman who had also taken APL, who would have been treated in the same way. Although the policy was indirectly discriminatory, it was objectively justified by the need to recruit and retain women in a male-dominated workforce.

Whilst this decision is not binding on other tribunals, it is a useful indication of how this issue may be approached should further cases be brought by disgruntled fathers.

Unpaid time off for ante-natal appointments

BIS has issued guidance on the new right for employees and qualifying agency workers to attend their partners' ante natal appointments, which comes into force on 1 October 2014.

It applies to the pregnant woman's husband, civil partner or partner (including a same-sex partner), the father or parent of a pregnant woman's child, and intended parents in a surrogacy situation who meet certain conditions. The right is to take unpaid leave for one or two appointments capped at 6.5 hours per appointment.

A further new right to paid and unpaid time off work for adopters to attend meetings in advance of a child being placed with them for adoption will come into force on 5 April 2015.

German ban on out of hours emails?

The German employment minister has commissioned a report on the possibility of legislation to restrict employers from contacting employees by email outside working hours. A report by the German Pension Insurance Union, which showed a rise in the number of German workers taking early retirement due to stress, has led to suggestions that there is a link between employees' constant availability and mental illness. 

You can't wear that!

ACAS has published a guidance note for employers on the use of dress codes.



Latest Brief - Week Ending 5 September 2014

To settle or not to settle?

ACAS has revealed its first statistics relating to compulsory early conciliation for the period April until 30th June 2014.  These show that the offer of early conciliation was rejected by only 7% of employees and 9% of employers.  Early conciliation resulted in settlement in 16.5% of the 11,355 claims ending their early conciliation period during that quarter.

Voluntary reporting - I don't think so!

Of the 200 companies who signed to the voluntary gender equality reporting under the "Think, Act, Report" framework, a mere 4 companies have published details of their gender pay gaps.  Of these 4, only 2 have included information on the pay gap for different pay grades.  It may make the Government rethink its refusal to invoke section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 which allows the Government to force private sector employers with over 250 employees to report gender pay gap information.  The Liberal Democrats have already indicated that if they get in at the next election, they will bring this requirement in.

Zero hours consultation rolls on......

The Government has now launched further consultation on the possible loopholes employers may try and use to avoid the proposed exclusivity ban in zero hours contracts.  This set of consultation closes on 3rd November 2014, if anyone still has the will to respond!