Employee Welfare

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A brief and not excessively taxing guide to quiet-quitting (UK)

If you are in the habit of taking your life-advice from Tik Tok, you will have seen encouragement recently to join the “quiet-quitters”. These are the Gen Z workers who make a conscious decision to do the bare minimum at work, those who have “left the building” mentally (and if hybrid working, also physically) but … Continue Reading

Belgium’s new measures on employee illness – headaches for employers?

If I were to rank the employment law questions I receive by popularity, questions around long-term absence, absenteeism and generally how to deal with work incapacity would be right up there, a definite podium finish. The tension between the legitimate frustrations of employers and the no-fault nature of the employees’ absence seems eternal. To give … Continue Reading

MPs use Private Members’ Bills to advance government’s employment agenda (UK)    

Parliament’s Private Members’ Bills ballot gives backbench MPs the opportunity to propose new legislation or changes to existing laws on a topic of their choice. We wouldn’t normally report on Private Members’ Bills as very few of them ever become actual law and some are downright silly – if you can still find it, take … Continue Reading

Animal magic – Assistance animals at work (UK)

So you’ve seen the news stories about the chap suing Sainsburys for not letting him in with his “assistance cat”, yes?  He suffers from severe autism and unless accompanied by his cat, finds the noise, lights and crowds within the store impossible to manage.  You would allow in a guide dog, he says, so what’s … Continue Reading

Proposed new EU regulatory regime for Artificial Intelligence – more relevant to HR than you might think (UK)

For the last year or so the EU Commission has been working on the world’s first serious attempt to create a regulatory framework around the use of AI, the Artificial Intelligence Act.  The Proposal itself runs to over 100 pages of dense type and no pictures, so is a fairly off-putting read at first look.  … Continue Reading

Better late than never, just about – UK government issues workplace guidance on living with covid

So with Covid 19 now officially behind us for all purposes (except actual reality, obviously), we have now been graced by the Government’s new “Living with Covid” guidance.  This was due to come into force on 1 April and was released fashionably late in the afternoon on, well, 1st April.  You could say with some … Continue Reading

Belgium takes first steps towards improved work-life balance in new Labour Deal

After the federal majority parties failed to conclude an agreement on Friday on a series of labour market reforms, they finally broke the deadlock overnight on Monday this week. In an early fail on the work:life balance front, the new measures were unveiled at a presumably sparsely-attended press conference at 2.30am. Bleary-eyed Ministers praised the … Continue Reading

The four day working week: revolutionising working life, one day at a time (UK)

The idea of a universal four-day working week – with the reduction in working time intended to bolster productivity and wellbeing – is not new. In 1956 Richard Nixon argued (perhaps a little prematurely) that “the four-day work week is inevitable”; from 2007-2011 Republican politicians in Utah redefined the week for State employees as from … Continue Reading

UK Government proposes withdrawal of mandatory vaccinations for care home workers – with what impact on other businesses?

So you have finally introduced a no-jab, no entry policy in your workplace and now the government seems intent on pulling the rug on the whole thing by agreeing that even workers with some of the UK’s most vulnerable people don’t need to be vaccinated after all.  If they don’t need the jab, on what … Continue Reading

Party politics – what is Plan B for employers? (UK)

So as Boris sits in his bunker and works on Plan C (early draft – “Go to Sardinia. Don’t come back“), employers in England are confronting the shoulder-sagging knowledge that all their prior work on cajoling people back to the office has been comprehensively torpedoed by Plan B. However, leaving aside the obviously deeply unworthy … Continue Reading

Belgium imposes tighter Covid measures (including an obligation to work from home again)

In the wave of sunny optimism following the roll-out of our vaccination programme this spring-summer, few people in Belgium had anticipated that the Covid situation would worsen again, or do so as quickly as it has. And yet the numbers of infections and patients in intensive care are now at an all-time high. New stricter … Continue Reading

Returning to the workplace – Part 3: Off to town for a home office? (Belgium)

I will start this third part of our Working from Home series with a confession: I worked the first couple of weeks of lockdown from a small table dragged in from our balcony. Not because I don’t have a fully equipped and ergonomically approved home office, because I do. I just didn’t like the vibe … Continue Reading

Proposed right to disconnect lacks joined-up thinking (UK)

BBC News Online reported last week a call by trade union Prospect for the Government to legislate to “ban out of hours emails from bosses” or, beneath the headline, to “ban bosses from routinely emailing or calling outside set working hours“.  This looks like the proposed introduction into English law of the “right to disconnect” … Continue Reading

Sleepovers and the NMW, Part II – clarity at long last for the UK care sector

It was what seems an eternity ago in July 2018 that the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the combined cases of Royal Mencap v Thompson Blake and John Shannon v Jakishan and Prithee Rampersad (t/a Clifton House Residential Home). A link to our blog post at that time is here.  Readers will … Continue Reading

Future of the Workplace webinar 18 March – follow-up questions answered, Part 3 (UK)

Here are answers to two more of the questions which came up at our webinar last week, this time dealing with employee resistance to workplace Covid testing and the wisdom or otherwise of agreeing to post-lockdown WFH without formal changes to terms of employment. If an employee refuses to be tested at work, how should … Continue Reading

Workers gain new health and safety protection from 31 May (UK)

As the law currently stands, sections 44 and 100 Employment Rights Act 1996 protect employees against detriment (e.g. disciplinary action or suspension of pay) and dismissal as a result of their taking steps to protect themselves or others in certain health and safety situations, including where “in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed … Continue Reading

EAT looks through Sash Window for better view on worker holiday pay claims (UK)

King –v- Sash Window Workshop Company was a particularly difficult European Court of Justice case for businesses in the gig economy.  It suggested that where a worker was not provided with an adequate facility to take the paid leave to which he was entitled by that status under the Working Time Regulations (in particular, because … Continue Reading

Legal Developments Webinar 23rd February – your follow-up questions answered, Part 3 (UK)

As attention turns increasingly to the practicalities of the physical return to the workplace in what may be little over 3 months, questions of employers’ rights and obligations in relation to testing and vaccination are becoming more common.  These are vexed areas which can easily put common interest into conflict with civil liberties.  Just how … Continue Reading

Legal Developments Webinar 23 February – your follow-up questions answered, Part 1 (UK)

Thank you to all those who signed up for our “Employment Law in 2021 and Beyond” webinar on 23rd February.  Over 400 people dialled in for the session, so our profuse apologies but maybe little wonder that we did not get to answer all the questions raised.  As promised, here are a couple of the … Continue Reading

Belgium: paid time off takes pain out of employee vaccinations

In order to ensure that as many people as possible are vaccinated, the trade unions and the employers’ organisations in the National Labour Council have agreed that employees will be allowed to take the necessary time off to be vaccinated. If enough vaccines are available, at-risk patients will be vaccinated from April onwards and the … Continue Reading

Proposals to amend working time protections denied – “public unconvinced” shock (UK)

On Friday last week the Financial Times reported on proposals from the Business Department to “rip up worker protections” under the current Working Time Regulations.  But simultaneously on BBC News online, look, it’s the Business Secretary himself denying on twitter any notion that his department is planning to dilute UK workers’ rights.  The very idea. … Continue Reading
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