Tag Archive: #WorkingPatterns

  • Employment Law General Update – June 2023

    This month we bring you updates on government reforms to employment law and the ping-pong battle over which laws shall be retained following Brexit; which companies are failing to pay national minimum wage, a review in diversity and goals for the 4 day week for political parties to endorse; our UK strike laws are being critiqued and we will soon know which occupations we are most lacking in the UK.

    • Brexit: Government consults on reforms to working time rules, holiday pay and TUPE
    • Brexit: Lords put further amendments back to Commons on REULRR Bill
    • Pay: Department for Business and Trade names companies failing to pay NMW
    • Diversity: Parker review sets new targets for FTSE 350 and private companies
    • Working Patterns: 4 Day Week campaign launches Mini Manifesto
    • Trade Unions: International Labour Organization comments on UK strike laws
    • Immigration: MAC intends to publish its shortage occupation list review in autumn 2023

    Brexit: Government consults on reforms to working time rules, holiday pay and TUPE

    On 12 May 2023, the government published a consultation paper, setting out its plans regarding the future of retained EU employment law. The consultation paper confirms the government’s intention to keep retained EU employment laws in the following areas without any change: family leave rights (maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave), ‘atypical’ workers’ rights (part-time workers, fixed-term workers and agency workers), and information and consultation rights. However, certain reforms are proposed in the areas of working time, paid holiday rights and rights upon the transfer of a business or an outsourcing. The government says it has identified areas for reform of laws it considers are ‘too onerous for business to be used effectively or too complex for workers to know, understand and use’. Amanda Steadman, principal knowledge lawyer at Brahams Dutt Badrick French LLP, sets out in her article the proposed changes in the consultation and the next steps.

    Back to the top

    Brexit: Lords put further amendments back to Commons on REULRR Bill

    On 24 May 2023, the House of Commons debated the Lords amendments to the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (REULRR Bill), with a majority of MPs disagreeing with three amendments. Lords amendments 6, 15 and 42 were rejected and Lords amendments 1 and 16 were further amended. Lords amendments 2 to 5, 7 to 14, 17 to 41 and 43 were agreed to.

    On 20 June 2023, the House of Lords debated Commons amendments to the REULRR Bill. The Lords approved two amended motions, proposing amendments in lieu of those previously rejected by the House of Commons. These amendments relate to the two outstanding issues in debate—environmental protection and parliamentary scrutiny. Continuing the ‘ping pong’ process, the House of Commons considered the Lords message on 21 June 2023, with the government moving that the Lords amendments be rejected again. The Bill was scheduled to return to the House of Lords on 26 June 2023.

    Back to the top

    Pay: Department for Business and Trade names companies failing to pay NMW

    The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) has published the names of 202 employers who have failed to provide their lowest paid staff the national minimum wage (NMW). Approximately 63,000 workers across the companies did not receive NMW as a result of deductions from wages (39%), failure by the companies to properly compensate for working time (39%) and incorrect apprenticeship rates (21%).

    In the top 3 in this Round 19 are WH Smith Retail Holdings Ltd, Lloyds Pharmacy Ltd and Marks and Spencer PLC. Some in the list owe as little as £5500 to one employee but the larger offenders have failed to pay cumulatively hundreds of thousands of pounds to thousands of workers.

    Employers are reminded that the minimum wage law applies to all parts of the UK. Employers should always carry out the necessary checks (guidance is available on the Gov website: Calculating the Minimum Wage), and HMRC consider all complaints from workers, so they are reminding workers to check their pay with advice available through the Check your pay website.

    Back to the top

    Diversity: Parker review sets new targets for FTSE 350 and private companies

    The Parker Review Committee has published a 2023 update report on ‘Improving the Ethnic Diversity of UK Business’. The independent review, which published its first report in 2016, was commissioned by the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to consult on ethnic diversity in UK boards. The review also set several diversity targets for FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies. The update contains the results of the review’s survey of those targets in 2022 in addition to a number of new targets to be achieved by 2027.

    Back to the top

    Working Patterns: 4 Day Week campaign launches Mini Manifesto

    The 4 Day week campaign has published a ‘Mini Manifesto’, which they are calling on political parties to endorse ahead of the next general election. 4 Day Week is a national campaign for a 32-hour working week with no reduction in pay. The manifesto lays out the campaign’s key principles and goals.

    Back to the top

    Trade Unions: International Labour Organization comments on UK strike laws

    The International Labour Organization (ILO) has critiqued the UK’s strike laws and called for the UK government to bring union laws in line with international law. In a rare intervention that has not been used against the UK since 1995, the ILO issued an instruction for ministers to seek assistance from the ILO and report back on progress by 1 September 2023. The Trades Union Congress has called this ‘hugely embarrassing’ for ministers.

    Back to the top

    Immigration: MAC intends to publish its shortage occupation list review in autumn 2023

    The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has confirmed, by way of an update to its guidance webpage, that it intends to publish its report reviewing the shortage occupation list in autumn 2023. This is later than the anticipated date of June 2023, as stated in previous press releases.

    Back to the top

    Further Information:

    If you would like any additional information, please contact Anne-Marie Pavitt or Sophie Banks on: hello@dixcartuk.com

  • Employment Law General Update – March 2023

    This month the news focuses on some key employment announcements from the Spring budget, changes to work checks guidance, a new proposed UK version of GDPR and a proposed right to request a more predictable working pattern. Lastly a new government employment champion has been announced to urge businesses to take action on the menopause.

    • Spring Budget 2023: Key Employment Announcements
    • Immigration: Revisions made to right to work checks guidance
    • GDPR: Government announces new UK version of GDPR
    • Working Practices: Proposed new statutory right to request a more predictable working pattern
    • Menopause: Czar urges businesses to step up on policies

    Spring Budget 2023 – Key Employment Announcements

    In the Spring Budget 2023, delivered on 15 March 2023, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, announced a series of measures intended to support the UK workforce. Among the announcements were the introduction of a new Health and Disability White Paper on how to provide support and opportunities for workers with disabilities, the planned abolition of the lifetime allowance to encourage workers over 50 to stay in employment, the reiteration of government support for Private Members’ Bills providing unpaid carers with additional leave, parents with greater protections against redundancy, and parents of children in neonatal care with paid statutory leave, and commitments to encourage and facilitate flexible working arrangements between employers and employees.

    In respect of immigration, Jeremy Hunt announced measures to tackle immediate labour shortages and ease business visits to the UK and further support for those who have come to the UK through the Ukraine Visa Schemes. Building off the Autumn Statement 2022, the Budget confirmed the government’s plan to deliver on three of the five key priorities set out by the Prime Minister in January: to halve inflation, reduce debt and grow the economy. The Spring Budget 2023 lists employment, education and enterprises as priorities for delivering on growth and building a high wage high skill economy.

    Back to the top

    Immigration: Revisions made to right to work checks guidance

    The Home Office has updated its guidance for employers carrying out right to work checks. The guidance was updated late in the day on 28 February 2023 to reflect legislative changes and current practice. Examples include clarifying that employers should carry out on an online check for those with a pending Home Office application, administrative review or appeal, circumstances in which an employer should contact the Employer Checking Service and what employers should do if they are presented with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with an expiry date of 31 December 2024. Similar changes have been made, on the same day, to the right to rent checks guidance for landlords.

    Back to the top

    GDPR: Government announces new UK version of GDPR

    The UK government has announced that British businesses will save billions of pounds through a new version of GDPR, which will replace the EU’s data protection laws after Brexit. The new law will allow UK businesses to avoid costly compliance fees and will maintain high levels of data protection for consumers. The changes are expected to provide a boost to the UK economy and enhance the UK’s reputation as a leader in data protection.

    Back to the top

    Working Practices: Proposed new statutory right to request a more predictable working pattern

    The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill (the Bill) proposes to give eligible workers a new statutory right to request a more predictable working pattern. This follows the Taylor review of modern working practices and the resulting 2018 Good Work Plan in which the government committed to introduce policies to end ‘one-sided flexibility’. Eligible workers (not just employees) will have the right to make a request where:

    • there is a lack of predictability as regards any part of their work pattern (the work pattern being the number of working hours, the days of the week and the times on those days when the worker works, and the length of the worker’s contract)
    • the change relates to their work pattern
    • their purpose in applying for the change is to get a more predictable work pattern

    An application must state that it is a request for a more predictable working pattern, and specify the change applied for and the date on which it is proposed it should take effect.

    The Bill does not contain other earlier government commitments to introduce a right to reasonable notice of working hours and compensation for shifts cancelled without reasonable notice.

    A worker can only apply for a change to their working pattern if they have been employed by the same employer (whether or not under the same contract) at some point during the month immediately preceding a ‘prescribed period’ (this will be specified in regulations and is expected to be 26 weeks ending with the date of the application). There is no requirement for the service to be continuous.

    A worker can only make two applications in any 12-month period. This includes any application under the flexible working provisions if that request is for a change which would result in a more predictable contract.

    The Bill contains a similar set of rights for agency workers:

    • an agency worker may be able to apply to a temporary work agency for a more predictable working pattern where they have had a contract with the agency at some point in the month immediately before a ‘prescribed period’ (to be set out in regulations)
    • if the agency worker has worked for a hirer in the same role continuously for 12 weeks (within a period of time which will be set out in regulations) they may also be able to apply to the hirer for a contract of employment, or other worker’s contract, which is more predictable than their current working pattern

    There is no definition of ‘predictability’ in the Bill. It does, however, specifically state that workers on a fixed term contract of 12 months or less may request that the term is extended or becomes permanent. Other than that, it seems that a ‘lack of predictability’ will cover any worker whose hours or days vary in a way which provides them with uncertainty, such as:

    • casual/zero hours workers without a guaranteed number of hours
    • annualised hours workers if the employer has discretion over the working pattern
    • workers whose hours are determined by a shift pattern or rota, where that pattern/rota varies unpredictably

    In many ways the process for dealing with requests reflects the flexible working regime. There is no obligation on the employer to agree to a request, but they must deal with the application in a reasonable manner and respond within one month. An employer can only reject an application for one or more of the specified reasons, which are:

    • the burden of additional costs
    • detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
    • detrimental impact on the recruitment of staff
    • detrimental impact on other aspects of the employer’s business
    • insufficiency of work during the periods the worker proposes to work
    • planned structural changes

    If the worker’s contract terminates during the one month ‘decision period’ the requirements still apply. However, there are then some additional acceptable grounds for refusing a request such as the employer having acted reasonably in dismissing for misconduct or redundancy. A worker will be able to bring an employment tribunal claim if an employer fails to follow the requirements set out above which, if the claim is successful, could result in an order for reconsideration of the request or compensation. The amount of compensation will be set by regulations and could be limited to eight weeks’ pay as it is under the flexible working regime.

    There is no timetable for implementation yet and, as noted above, some of the detail of how the right to request will operate in practice still has to be set out in separate regulations.

    The new right will have the most impact in sectors where the use of casual workers and changeable shift patterns/rotas is widespread, and on businesses using short fixed-term contracts or agency workers. It is likely to lead to an increased focus on how best to manage these type of working arrangements.

    The Bill only provides for the right to ask for a more predictable working pattern, not a right to a predictable working pattern. However, organisations which engage individuals on unpredictable working patterns will need to establish policies and procedures to deal with requests. They should also be aware that, if employment status isn’t clear, an individual might claim worker status while making an application for a more predictable working arrangement

    (Content provided to Lexis-Nexis by Julie Keir, practice development lawyer at Brodies LLP.)

    Back to the top

    Menopause: Czar urges businesses to step up on policies

    Helen Tomlinson, England’s first-ever menopause employment champion has called on businesses to develop policies and to normalize discussing the subject, saying that she has witnessed ‘the transformational power’ that talking about the health condition can have in a workplace. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced on 6 March 2023 that it had appointed Tomlinson to the post to raise awareness about the health condition. Tomlinson will also aim to encourage more employers to develop policies so women who experience symptoms are better supported, the DWP added. Tomlinson said that fewer than a quarter of UK businesses ‘currently have a menopause policy, but as I take on this role, I am determined that my generation of women in work will break the menopause taboo and have confidence that their health is valued’.

    The DWP said that she will raise awareness of menopause, while promoting the benefits for businesses and the economy when women are supported to stay in work. Her role could also include advising employers about ‘small but significant’ changes they can make to the workplace, including offering women experiencing the symptoms of menopause more regular breaks and creating cooler spaces in offices, the DWP added.

    The announcement of Tomlinson’s appointment came after the DWP had previously published official responses to two reports on menopause and the workplace. Tomlinson is Head of Talent in the UK and Ireland at the human resources provider Adecco Group. She was appointed to the role on a voluntary basis by the DWP, where she will work closely with Mims Davies, the Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression. Davies said that menopause is a major reason that too many women leave the workforce early, often when they are at the peak of their skills and experience with so much more still to contribute. Tomlinson will also work closely with Lesley Regan, who was appointed as the government’s first women’s health ambassador in 2022.

    According to the DWP, a quarter of women report that they have considered leaving their job due to experiencing menopause. Not all women experience symptoms that stop them from working, but research suggests that those with serious menopausal symptoms take an average of 32 weeks of leave from work over the length of their employment.

    Many women tend to suffer in silence during perimenopause and menopause. Seeing this subject acknowledged at government level, gives hope that it will inspire businesses to do the same – educating and raising awareness about menopause-related issues, whilst also providing assistance and support to those who need it.

    Back to the top

    Further Information:

    If you would like any additional information, please contact Anne-Marie Pavitt or Sophie Banks on: hello@dixcartuk.com