Employee pregnancy – is ignorance the best defence?

They do say that maternity in the workplace can be an unsettling and confusing time, leaving you confronting new questions and situations that no one has really prepared you for, and where the guidance comes at you from a range of sources as wide as they are inconsistent. Anyway, enough about employers.… Continue Reading

How voluntary is voluntary overtime? – the disability discrimination risk

Back in June 2016, I wrote a piece on the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Carreras -v- UFPR concerning the extent to which an employer’s expectations can amount to a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) for disability discrimination purposes (specifically, as a trigger for the obligation to make reasonable adjustments). That post is here… Continue Reading

Uncooperative employee loses disability rights protection

The duty on a UK employer to make reasonable adjustments applies only when it knows or ought to know about an employee’s disability. Establishing actual knowledge is easy enough, but what about constructive awareness, where the employer obviously does not know but is nonetheless being expected to act as if it did? In Gallop -v- … Continue Reading

New UK minimum wage rates bring employers closer to non-compliance

Following the Chancellor’s announcement in November’s budget regarding changes to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates, the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2018 have now been laid before Parliament. The Regulations implement these increases from 1 April 2018: National Living Wage (Over 25’s) – £7.83 (previously £7.50) 21-24 year olds – £7.38 … Continue Reading

All the rage – should confidentiality agreements in harassment cases be allowed?

News out this week that a committee of MPs is to look into workplace harassment, and in particular the use of confidentiality wording in settlement agreements arising from harassment allegations. Critics allege, says the BBC New Online, that such clauses are “abused by employers and legal experts to cover up wrongdoing” and used to “buy … Continue Reading

Good Work, really? – the UK Government’s Response to the Taylor Review

On 7 February the UK Government published its ‘Good Work’ plan, setting out how it intends to take forward the recommendations contained in the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices published last summer. The Review was tasked with investigating how modern working practices are having an impact on the world of work. The Government’s press … Continue Reading

Birmingham office to host GBCC events on resilience and productivity

Most successful businesses want to grow but what do they mean?  Greater size and/or number of sites, higher output, income and/or profit, larger headcount or a more prominent media profile?   Many see internal investment as the panacea to growth but that also means different things to different businesses – for manufacturing businesses, for example, it … Continue Reading

Tax treatment of termination payments: changes from April 2018 hit employers again

The UK Government is altering the tax treatment of some termination payments for exits taking effect on or after 6 April.  These changes are the product of the HMRC’s grotesquely misnamed Simplification of the Tax and NI Treatment of Termination Payments consultation paper in August 2015.  The worst excesses of this have come off in the … Continue Reading

Employee Wellbeing Programmes (UK)

With a clear link between increased employee wellbeing (both in terms of physical and mental health) and reduced sickness absence, many employers may use renewed New Year ambitions to adopt or promote employee wellbeing programmes. Businesses have introduced measures including step challenges with free pedometers, fruit ‘desk drops’ and health monitoring stations in the workplace. … Continue Reading

ECHR keeps an eye on covert workplace surveillance, but for whose benefit?

Judge Dedov is the one to watch here.  He was the only one out of the European Court of Human Rights panel not responsible for a recent decision on employee surveillance which many may feel tilts European law around workplace monitoring altogether too far towards the interests of the employee. Ms Ribalda and her four … Continue Reading

When taking a stand on discrimination becomes misconduct

Rochford – v – WNS Global Services is a small (9 page) but perfectly formed UK Court of Appeal decision around when you can stand on your principles in the face of discrimination by your employer and when it just gets you sacked. Mr Rochford had been absent for an extended time with a bad … Continue Reading

UK Government’s not entirely unworthy sickness reduction scheme fails through lack of employer interest

Ah well, there you go.  Already slipping into history along with 2017, and your New Year’s Resolutions is the UK Government’s Fit for Work Scheme. This was a scheme with the laudable aim of reducing costly staff absence by focussing the minds of both employer and employee on the therapeutic and economic benefits of getting … Continue Reading

Landmark Same Sex Visa Application Judgment in Hong Kong

On 25 September 2017, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal passed down a unanimous judgment in the case of QT v. Director of Immigration to allow QT to obtain a dependent visa through her same-sex partner who works in Hong Kong. The spousal visa in question previously was granted by the Immigration Department only to heterosexual couples, … Continue Reading

First director sent to prison after MPF contributions default in Hong Kong

As Hong Kong employers are well aware, the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme Ordinance provides that any employer that, without reasonable excuse, fails to make a timely payment of mandatory contributions commits an offence and could be fined up to HKD 450,000. Culpable bosses could also face up to four years’ imprisonment. The Mandatory Provident Fund … Continue Reading