the latest briefs.....

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

Latest Brief - Week Ending 30 September 2016 

Dealing with strikes in schools

The Department for Education has published advice for employers, governing bodies and staff in maintained schools and academies.  The advice is non-statutory, and explains the law on trade disputes and picketing, as well as including advice on keeping schools open on strike days.  In the event of strike action at a school, the Department for Education expects the Headteacher to take all reasonable steps to keep the school open for as many pupils as possible.  It is a decision for the Headteacher whether a maintained school should be opened, partially opened, or closed.  In academies, this decision will generally rest with the academy trust.  The guidance states that it is best practice for Headteachers to consult with relevant stakeholders before making the decision whether or not to close the school.  

The full advice can be found at: DfE: Handling strike action in schools: Guidance for school leaders, governing bodies and employers (20 September 2016)

1st October changes

1st October is one of the two key dates in the year when employment law changes tend to come into effect. There are no major changes coming into effect this 1st October, as the Gender Pay Gap Regulations (which were originally due to come into force on 1st October) have now been pushed back to April 2017.  

The main change coming into effect on 1st October will therefore be the annual increase to the national minimum wage rates.  These will be increased for £6.95 for workers aged 21-24, and to £5.55 for workers aged between 18 and 20.  The hourly rate for workers between 16 and 18 will increase to £4.00, and the apprentice rate will increase to 3.40.  The national living wage for workers aged over 25 will remain at £7.20 per hour.  

Latest Brief - Week Ending 16 September 2016   

Illegal Workers fines? That will do nicely, sir!

A quarterly report published by UK Visas and Immigration identifies that 1,195 illegal workers were found working throughout the UK between 1st January and 31st March 2016; an increase of 26% compared with the same quarter last year. Over £12 million in fines were issued to employers for employing illegal workers across the UK, an increase of over £3 million from the same period last year.

Caste discrimination consultation

The Government has recently announced that it will carry out a full consultation on caste discrimination. The consultation's aim is to consider whether victims of caste discrimination require additional protection to that provided by the Equality Act 2010 for race discrimination.  Caste is not a separate protected characteristic under the Equality Act but has been held to be included within "ethnic origin" when considering "race" discrimination by the Employment Appeal Tribunal.  However, the consultation will consider whether further protection is required.