New UK flexible working consultation – the good, the bad and the ugly

Working From Home

If ever a government consultation was overtaken by events, it is this week’s offering on Making Flexible Working the Default. For many employers this is now pushing at a door which is not just open but blown clean off its hinges by the pandemic and the WFH experience of the last 18 months.

The Consultation document represents an early failure by the government under the surely-imminent Coronavirus (Prevention of Irritating Clichés) Regulations 2021 – someone has weeded out most of the “unprecedenteds” and “new normals”, but there are still seven of Boris’s “build back betters” in the first 11 pages alone, and the usual repetition of chunks of the Foreword (“freeing employees and employers….from the default 9 to 5 model in order to recruit and retain the talent we need“) in the Introduction (“an opportunity for employers and employees to free themselves from the default 9 to 5 in order to recruit and retain the talent that we need…”).

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COVID-19: what next for UK employers, Part 4

What Next? Part 4In deciding whether to allow an employee’s request to continue a full or partial remote working schedule, what account should be taken of the reasons for that request?

In our ‘What next’ webinar last week, I indicated that in most cases the safest answer to this question is “none”, and that the employee’s reasons for the request are broadly irrelevant to the question of whether the WFH arrangement proposed will work for the business and therefore of whether it should be granted.

One participant suggested that this proposition was “somewhat bold” and I do agree that it sounds superficially a little uncaring, but there is good reason behind that position.

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US Federal Labor Viewpoints – Week of September 13, 2021

From our Capital Thinking blog, our public policy colleague Stacy Swanson shares the latest federal employment law developments in in the legislative and executive branches during the week of September 13, 2021.

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This is a weekly post spotlighting labor topics in focus by the US legislative and executive branches during the previous week.

In this issue, we cover:

  • Reconciliation Package Updates
  • COVID-19 Updates
  • Federal Contract Workers’ Minimum Wage Update
  • Registered Apprenticeship Funding Announced
  • Upcoming Congressional Hearing

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COVID-19: what next for UK employers, Part 3

What Next? Part 3We made an employee redundant before the furlough scheme ended – will his unfair dismissal claim succeed?

The basic argument here is an easy one to understand – you made me redundant when you did not have to because my salary was being borne by the CJRS.  In circumstances where employers are duty-bound to consider alternatives to redundancy, leaving me on furlough at someone else’s expense must surely be such an alternative.

After that, it gets a little more complicated.  Continue Reading

COVID-19 Travel Bans To Be Rescinded and Replaced with Vaccination Requirements (US)

Fast track travellerAfter much anticipation, the White House announced plans to rescind the geographic COVID-19 travel bans and modify restrictions on all international travelers to focus on proof of vaccination. In place of the travel bans and beginning in early November, international travelers will be required to prove they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of boarding a U.S. bound flight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue guidance as to which vaccinations will be accepted. Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Panel Reinstates Restrictions on California Employment Arbitration Agreements (US)

In October 2019, California enacted a new law, AB 51, that on its face prohibits mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts. As expected, the law was immediately challenged in federal court. In the latest installment of the law’s journey through the courts, a split Ninth Circuit panel vacated a 2020 preliminary injunction that had forestalled implementation of the bill. If the decision stands, California employers will no longer be able to require their employees or new hires to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment. Continue Reading

COVID-19: what next for UK employers, Part 2

What Next? Part 2There has been surprisingly little in the press around what is going to happen when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 30 September.  Will there be the jobs Armageddon that some have forecast, or will roles for the million or so people still on furlough at the end of August reappear in time to avoid that?  And at a more granular level on the same topic, here is the next question from our What Next webinar earlier this week:

Do you have to send all those who are on furlough a letter to say that the CJRS is coming to an end?

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US Federal Labor Viewpoints – Week of September 6, 2021

From our Capital Thinking blog, our public policy colleague Stacy Swanson shares the latest federal employment law developments in in the legislative and executive branches during the week of September 6, 2021.

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This is a weekly post spotlighting labor topics in focus by the US legislative and executive branches during the previous week.

In this issue, we cover:

  • Reconciliation Package Updates
  • COVID-19 Updates
  • Teacher Unions Press the Administration
  • TSA Employees Seek Greater Bargaining Rights
  • U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue Resumes

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COVID-19: what next for UK employers, Part 1

What Next? Part 1

At the end of our What Next webinar this week I announced boldly that either we had had no questions from the floor or I had done something hideous to the IT and lost them. With depressing predictability it was the latter, sorry.  In fact we got a good score of questions across a wide range of RTO issues.  Combining one or two which covered the same ground, the answers start here and will continue over the next few weeks:

There is a judicial challenge underway to new regulations making vaccines mandatory for care home employees – will it succeed?

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Coming Soon: Employers Required To Ensure Employees Are Vaccinated Or Regularly Tested – President Biden’s Sweeping COVID-19 Action Plan: What Employers Need to Know (US)

COVID-19 VaccineIt has been nine months since the first person in the United States received the COVID-19 vaccine, and ever since then, employers have been weighing the pros and cons of whether to require that employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment. On September 9, 2021, President Biden narrowed the options for many employers when he announced a six-pronged, comprehensive COVID-19 Action Plan (“Plan”), which in part, requires that larger employers ensure that their workforce is vaccinated, or in the alternative, that they submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. The stated goal of the Plan is to ensure that the US is using every available tool to combat COVID-19 and to save lives in the months ahead, while also keeping businesses and schools open and safe, and protecting the economy from further lockdowns and damage.

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