Marie-Claire Boyle reports on the latest employment news.
Extra bank holiday on 5 June 2012
The Government has recently announced the creation of a Diamond Jubilee weekend in 2012. The creation of this weekend will involve the move of the second May bank holiday to Monday 4 June and the addition of an extra bank holiday on Tuesday 5 June, as part of the celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This will no doubt be a crowd pleaser with employees!
Flexible working – as clear as mud?
A new report - "Flexible working: challenges for business" produced by APPSBG with support from the ACCA and FSB has found that many small businesses remain unclear about the concept of flexible working and its implications. More support will be needed to ensure that businesses understand its potential benefits. The report helpfully makes a number of recommendations to dispel myths and promote effective use of flexible working in the UK.
Acas Code on time off for trade union duties and activities
The new Acas Statutory Code of Practice on time off for union representatives to help them undertake their union duties came into effect on 1 January. The new guidelines have been updated to provide further guidance on the provision of cover when union representatives take time off, payment for time off, and the responsibilities of both line managers and union representatives in ensuring time off arrangements are effective.
Rise in Normal Minimum Pension Age
From 6 April 2010 the youngest age at which a member of a UK registered pension scheme can draw their pension will increase to 55 (it is currently 50). There are only two exceptions to this increase which apply to those with protected pension ages and those with ill health pensions.
Age Discrimination – the danger of looking for a younger model
An employment Tribunal has held that a 42 year old Head of Marketing, dismissed for “redundancy” while his employer actively sought to recruit a replacement with a ‘younger, entrepreneurial profile’ was unfairly dismissed and subjected to age discrimination. In the case of Beck v Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ET/2328832/08 the Tribunal held that the burden was on the Respondent to explain the use of the word “younger” and refused to accept the explanation put forward that it simply meant “less experienced”. This was a nice try on the Bank’s behalf but ultimately unsuccessful and serves as a timely reminder to avoid use of words such as “younger” in any recruitment process.
Government publishes guidance on time off to train
New guidance on the right for employees to request time off for training has been published by DBIS. The right to request time off to train comes into force on 6 April 2010 for employees in organisations with 250 or more employees, being extended to all employees on 6 April 2011. Employers will be required to consider any requests and respond within a set timeframe. Requests can be turned down when there is good business reason to do so, such as when the employer does not believe the training will help improve business performance. The new right closely follows the model used for agreeing requests under the flexible working arrangements.