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Not seeking references on new hires — help or heresy? (UK)

Interesting question from a client the other day  – what if we simply gave up asking for references on new hires?  Just stopped it altogether and so saved all the HR time and delay and cost implicit in the reference-checking process?  Instinctively your response is not to be so daft, everyone always seeks references so … Continue Reading

Future of the Workplace webinar 18 March – follow-up questions answered, Part 2 (UK)

Here are a couple more answers to questions coming up at our webinar last week: Do we still need to comply with collective consultation where we are not dismissing, only making contractual changes? Our policy currently removes COVID-related absences from our Bradford factor sickness calculations – should we do the same for adverse reactions to … Continue Reading

If you have tiers, prepare to shed them now – thoughts for UK employers under lockdown v.3

So here we are all again and, says the Government’s latest guidance, able to leave home to work only where it is “unreasonable for you to do your job from home“.  This is the umpteenth permutation of the same underlying message about working from home if you can, and was almost certainly meant to say … Continue Reading

Unwinding termination agreements – looking behind the without prejudice curtain (UK)

All the smart money is on 2021 to see an increased number of grievances and Employment Tribunal claims as the pandemic support regime winds down.  Therefore this is probably a good moment to look at the practical lessons to be taken from Cole – v – Elders Voice in the Employment Appeal Tribunal last month … 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

New Direction and guidance on job retention bonus rules (UK)

Friday last week saw the issue of the fourth Treasury Direction to HMRC concerning the administration of the CJRS.  TD4 deals with the CJRS job retention bonus scheme, shamefully immortalised in the drafting as the CJRS(JR)B – what would have been so hard about “the Bonus”? Five and a bit pages of circumlocution and sub-sub-sub-paragraphs … Continue Reading

New “week’s pay” regulations get an A for aspiration, E for execution (UK)

Meet E.  He is the poor soul at the heart of this week’s new statutory instrument concerning the rights of employees who are dismissed on or after furlough. E is anxious that if he is dismissed while on furlough or soon after he comes off it, then his reduced earnings over that period will prejudice … 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

UK Chancellor issues further Treasury Direction on CJRS – mire deepens

On Friday last week the Chancellor issued the third and probably final Treasury Direction in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This is “the law” that will govern the flexible furlough arrangements from 1 July. As with the two previous Treasury Directions, this one is horribly complicated to navigate – to the point … Continue Reading

Smoke lifts temporarily over Belgium’s occult period (and other questions about termination)

In a previous blog, in a world before the coronavirus hit Europe, we noted the social elections that Belgian employers have to organise in 2020 [here] for the appointment of employee representatives to the Works Council and Health & Safety Committee. Being a representative of that sort (and also being a candidate for that role) … Continue Reading

“The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television” – squaring lockdown with the Job Retention Scheme (UK)

A well-known term of the CJRS is that the employee shouldn’t while on furlough do any work for the employer or provide any services to it.  A simple enough proposition, one might think, despite the unknown pundit whose wise words appear above, but as with much of this Scheme, once you get down into the … Continue Reading

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – first two weeks on the front line (UK)

As anyone who has spent the last fortnight trying to apply the Government’s CJRS knows, there is currently no actual law.  Bar some guidance clearly not written by employment or HR specialists (hence indiscriminate references to workers and employees, and use of “laid-off” to mean both put on leave without pay and made redundant), pretty … Continue Reading

Redundant for the day – how it feels to be let go

Redundancy. The word is enough to take the bounce out of anyone’s stride. For a business, it means undergoing a complicated process of selection, consultation, getting over all the practical hurdles that may pop up along the way and all the while somewhere at the back of your mind sits the uncomfortable prospect of a … Continue Reading

When Mummy doesn’t necessarily know best – mediation and maternity rights claims

At the end of my post on Maternity Action’s report on unfair redundancies, I mentioned a number of the reasons why many recent mothers do not raise complaints about their perceived treatment at the hands of their employer. These included a fear of creating bad feeling with their employer or colleagues, a lack of information, … Continue Reading

New proposals for post-Brexit maternity protection – use German law

Back in March 2016 I posted a piece querying the headlines over an Equalities and Human Rights Commission report on maternity and pregnancy discrimination at work. The short point was that the report did not justify the apocalyptic headlines about the treatment of women who were pregnant or on maternity leave. Looked at close up, … Continue Reading

Mental health and difficult meetings – how far can the employer insist?

Much has been written over the last month or so about Mental Health, and rightly so.  It has now overtaken back pain as the principal cause of workplace absence in the UK.  Anything which encourages an environment in which mental health issues may be more openly discussed and genuine sufferers’ sense of isolation or embarrassment … Continue Reading
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