March 2011

 

PURPLE NEWS

On a Need to Know Basis!

Welcome to the latest edition of Purple News, a newsletter aiming to bring you interesting information and essential updates effecting people management in your business.

 

In This Edition....

  • Heads Up on Employment Law
    • Additional Paternity Leave
    • Right to Request Flexible Working
    • Equal Treatment for Agency Workers
    • The Bribery Act
    • Default Retirement Age
  • Pay Awards
  • Terminating Contracts
  • Equality Act
  • Rhinofacts!
  • 

Heads Up on Employment Law

 

Additional paternity leave and pay comes into force (3 April 2011)

The law was brought into force on 6 April 2010 and is effective for parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011. The changes to paternity leave allow fathers up to six months off work if they transfer leave from their partner. In the case of adopted children, the spouse or partner (of either sex) of the adopting partner will qualify. Mothers who return to work after six months will have the option to transfer the remaining unused six months of maternity leave to their partner - three months on statutory maternity pay and three months unpaid.

 

Right to request flexible working extended to parents of children under 18 (6 April 2011)

The Government grants parents of children under 18 the right to request flexible working. This extends the right to request to work flexibly already conferred to parents of children under the age of 17, or under the age of 18 if the child is disabled, and to employees who care for adults aged 18 or over.

 

Equal treatment for agency workers (1 October 2011)

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 allows agency workers the same basic employment conditions after 12 weeks in a given job as if they had been employed directly by the end-user.

A number of changes have been made to the Regulations following responses to the consultation, including:

  • widening the definition of "pay" to include bonuses that are directly attributable to the quantity or quality of work done by the agency worker;
  • strengthening measures to prevent avoidance of the Regulations, by giving a worker the right to be treated as if he or she were entitled to equal treatment, for example where the hirer or agency has rotated the worker between substantively different roles to ensure that he or she never completes a qualifying period, and giving the employment tribunal the power to make an additional award of up to £5,000 where a hirer or agency is in breach; and
  • removing the ability to derogate from the Directive in respect of collective and workforce agreements, while continuing to allow alternative arrangements in the case of agency workers who are on permanent contracts of employment and paid between assignments.

  

The Bribery Act 2010

In the last edition we reported that this Act was to come in force in April 2010. However the government has decided to delay the implementation for further consultation. No launch date has been set.

 

Default Retirement Age

Employers will not be able to issue new notifications of retirement using the default retirement age on or after 6 April 2011. Between 6 April 2011 and 30 September 2011, only employees who were notified of their retirement date prior to 6 April and whose retirement date is before 1 October 2011 can be compulsorily retired.

After 1 October 2011 there will no longer be a DRA. If an organisation does want to use a retirement age this will have to be objectively justifiable. After 1 October 2011, there will therefore be no statutory procedures in place for retirement.

It will still be possible for employers to have a compulsory retirement age if it can be objectively justified. To have a compulsory retirement age an employer will have to show that it has a "legitimate aim" and that the retirement is a "proportionate means of achieving that aim". For example, it might be possible to demonstrate that the retirement age is a health and safety issue. However, to use such an argument an employer will have to provide evidence to show that an older age is linked to health and safety issues, and will have to demonstrate that retirement is a proportionate means of addressing those issues.

If you feel that you have a legitimate aim and want to keep a compulsory retirement age then please contact us.

 

Pay Awards Approach 3%

Average pay rises have surged towards the 3 per cent mark in the private sector this year, according to the latest figures released by Incomes Data Services (IDS). Median pay settlements were 2.8 per cent in the three months to January 2011, up from 2.2 per cent in the last rolling three-month period, the IDS Pay Report found. Almost half of UK pay awards were at 3 per cent or above, although no public sector pay settlements were included in the quarterly analysis.

The data also indicated a re-emergence of long-term deals, where companies and trade unions enter into mutually binding deals with pre-agreed pay increases over a certain time period. These accounted for two-thirds of the pay awards received at 3 per cent and above, with the trend partly due to the number of long-term deals linked to RPI inflation, which hit 5.1 per cent in January.

 

Termination Contracts – The Right Way

The Army and the Ministry of Defence have apologised for giving 38 long-serving warrant officers notice of the termination of their contracts by e-mail. In what was described as a "serious administrative error" the officers, each of whom had served a minimum of 22 years with the Army, were sent e-mails by the force's Career Manager saying that "significant cutbacks" meant that "with regret, I must issue you with 12 months' notice of termination."

Whilst this is an extreme case it is worth remembering that you have to follwing due processes when terminating contracts of employment. Whether a redundancy or another form of dismissal it is important to get it right. A failure to do so could see an Employment Tribunal claim.

 

Equality Act Awareness Training

Purple Rhino has carried out Equality Act Awareness training with approximately 70 Directors and Managers for one of its customers. This training was to give the organisations senior staff a good awareness of the Equality Act and importantly to recognise discrimination in the protected categories and awareness of harrassment and bullying.

If you feel your Company would benefit from this, please contact us.

 

Rhinofacts!

  

Unemployment reaches highest total for 17 years

Unemployment across the UK has risen to its highest level for 17 years and now stands at 8%, according to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

 

Statutory Rates

From 01.02.11 the maximum award for Unfair Dismissal increased to £68,400 and Breach of Contract to £25,000.

From 06.04.11 statutory maternity pay increases to £128.73 per week and statutory sick pay to £81.60 per week.

We hope that you have found the Newsletter of interest and if you would like us to publish anything in particular in the future do not hesitate to ask.

If we can assist you in any way please contact us on 01473 402864.