In what may turn out to be an epoch-making moment in relation to gender equality in the workplace, this October will see new regulations coming into force which will enable parents to choose which of them will take leave to look after their baby during its first year of life. This month, the government has published draft regulations setting out the detail of how they intend the scheme to work in practice. Given that the new arrangements will apply to babies born from next April onwards, it would be sensible to start preparing for the new arrangements now. The operation of shared parental leave is complex but Sarah Maddock provides a useful guide to the new scheme's key features.
Although enthusiasm for New Year's resolutions may be now be waning, those who chose to give up smoking in 2014 are increasingly likely to be shoring up their resolve – or even replacing their habit - with the use of 'e-cigarettes'. It is reported that over a million people are using them in the UK and anecdotal evidence suggests that they are starting to make an appearance in the workplace. Last month, the Government announced that it will introduce a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to children and further regulation is expected. How should employers respond to this change in public habits? asks Jodie Sinclair.
Getting your dismissal policy and procedure spot-on is now more important than ever, as the Employment Appeal Tribunal has taken a narrow approach to employers' protection under the 'Johnson exclusion zone' - the rule which stops employees circumventing the unfair dismissal cap on compensation by bringing their claim as a 'breach of contract'. In the same case, the EAT also looked at an employer's ability to 'make amends' by withdrawing a notice of dismissal on appeal – is this possible..? Julian Hoskins reports.
This month's Employment news round-up is brought to you by James Gutteridge
and covers: an update on tribunal fees, the latest changes taking effect under the government programme of employment law reform, an update on TUPE and redundancy collective consultation cases and, finally, how the Francis Report continues to make its impact felt.
Last Summer, fees for the use of the employment tribunal service were introduced for the first time in its history. Since 29 July 2013, claimants have been required to pay an 'issue fee' of up to £250 to start their claim and, if it proceeds, a further 'hearing fee' of up to £950 is payable. A 'fee remission' scheme allows for full or partial waiver of fees for claimants who can demonstrate that they meet a very stringent means test.
Despite the gloomy time of year, there are at least three reasons to be cheerful today: 'Blue Monday' (20 January) is out of the way, January is very nearly over, and Bevan Brittan's first News Round-Up of 2014 is here. And, as if is not enough, this is a special 'New Year New TUPE' edition, in which Sarah Lamont
looks at what the 2014 TUPE regulations will mean for you, alongside other recent developments in the world of employment law.
Mike Smith reports on a case which considered the question of whether agency workers can only be deemed to be employees of end-user clients if it 'necessary' to do so. The Employment Appeal Tribunal reviewed recent case law on this issue, and confirmed the principles which should be applied when determining employment status.
The New Year promises to be as eventful as ever in relation to employment law developments. Hot on the heels of the new TUPE Regulations coming into force this month, from April onwards we will see a raft of new measures coming into force over the course of the year. We are also anticipating some key decisions to be published by the appeal courts. Bevan Brittan's Head of Employment & Pensions, Julian Hoskins
, takes you through the highlights of the year ahead.
As we approach one of the biggest festivals in the Christian calendar, the Court of Appeal has looked at whether a Council was justified in asking a Christian care worker to work weekends, despite her belief that Sunday should be a day of rest. In coming to its decision, the Court of Appeal has helped to 'fill in the gaps' in our understanding of the 'group disadvantage' aspect of indirect religious discrimination, following the decision of the European Court of Justice in Eweida v UK, earlier this year. Sarah Maddock
looks at where these recent cases leave us.
Laurie Child brings you the final Employment news round-up of 2013 - and the baubles on Laurie's Employment Law Christmas Tree are: the latest details on shared parental leave; whistleblowing news; details of the proposed new Acas Code following the EAT's surprise decision earlier this year, that an employee's choice of companion does not have to be reasonable – plus the commencement date for new TUPE has been announced.