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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

Belgium’s social inspection services on a mission to check observance with working from home rules

In a previous blog we noted that as of November 2020, Belgium would again be in semi-lockdown and that one of the measures re-imposed was the obligation to work from home, unless this is realistically impossible. Employees whose work requires them to go the office need a confirmatory certificate from their employer attesting to this … Continue Reading

Important new developments in remote working rules in Russia

It became increasingly clear over 2020 that the existing legislation on remote working was not fully up to the challenges faced by the Russian economy during the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular the need of some businesses to place very large numbers of employees onto compulsory remote working arrangements at short notice. On 8 December, therefore, … Continue Reading

Employers needled by vaccine refusals, Part 2 – the role of reasonableness (UK)

Having established in the first of this series that a request to take the covid-19 vaccination is probably a reasonable management request, then what? Can you go straight from there to enforcing it as an issue of disobedience? Only if the refusal is unreasonable. Will refusal to take the vaccine be an unreasonable failure to … Continue Reading

Employers needled by vaccine refusals, Part 1 – your rights and obligations (UK)

So a government-approved vaccination becomes available and you really want your employees to take it.  Can you just insist, or does the development of the vaccine turn out to have been the easy bit? Here and in further posts to follow shortly are some headline thoughts on the point. Please note that these will be … Continue Reading

Second thoughts for employers facing new pandemic measures (UK)

Boris’ press conference on Saturday night addressed one key question and left another unanswered. In his late start, overturning of previous statements and an expression more hunted than Ronnie Biggs, the Prime Minister showed clearly that the pandemic holds the reins of power at present, not the Government.  On the other hand, after six months … Continue Reading

People at the Centre: hard decisions in hard times but some thoughts and reassurance for HR (UK)

A recent Acas survey has reported that over a third of employers (37%) are likely to make staff redundancies in the next 3 months (see here). That is a statistic which can be a surprise to no one, except possibly that it is not higher. Often in redundancy situations, the majority of the “sympathy” quite … Continue Reading

Spain’s new decree on remote working

A new decree (Royal Decree-law 28/2020) was passed on 22 September to regulate remote working in Spain. As for many countries worldwide, Spain has recently seen a marked increase in the number of employees working from home as part of its bid to decrease physical contact between individuals and curb the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown working, Part 5 – doing your homework (UK)

The logical extension from the discovery that all or most or your staff can work from home without anything catastrophic happening is to ask yourself whether you actually need an office in the first place.  Obviously it has potential advantages in terms of staff cohesion and corporate identity, but decisions are being made across the … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown flexible working, Part 2 – making it official (UK)

By now, many employees working from home in the lockdown will have made quite firm decisions around how they wish to operate going forward.  Some will have decided that there is nothing in their lives quite like their family and, for that reason, that they wish to extend their WFH indefinitely.  Others, on probably very … Continue Reading
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