In this article...
John Moore highlights the latest news and developments in the Employment arena.
ACAS has published a new guide, Job Evaluation: considerations and risks to help curtail the rising numbers of equal pay claims. ACAS has seen a 25% rise in employment claims and this is in part due to a rise in equal pay claims.
The guide considers the benefits and risks of undertaking an equal pay job evaluation, explains how a job evaluation should be established and outlines how to build a job evaluation scheme.
ACAS believes that a job evaluation scheme can assist in justifying employers’ grading and pay systems and prevent equality and HR-related problems from arising.
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The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), a trade association which represents the UK’s private recruitment industry, has set up an Agency Work Commission in order to prepare for new agency workers’ legislation.
As reported in our May Alert, the EU Agency Worker’s Directive, which is due to have its second reading in the European Parliament next month, will give temporary workers some of the same rights as permanent staff after 12 weeks in post. The Agency Work Commission will assist the Government by making recommendations on how those rules should be implemented.
The EU regulations are unlikely to come into force until 2010. The Commission will focus on,
- the scope of equal treatment;
- dispute resolution;
- exemption of limited company contractors;
- identifying issues which affect smaller employers with no formal pay bands; and
- workplace agreements which would derogate from the Agency Workers Regulations.
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An Employment Tribunal in Rainbow v Milton Keynes Council has ruled that a job advertisement for an inexperienced teacher “in the first 5 years of their career” amounted to indirect age discrimination.
Milton Keynes Council did not shortlist a 61 year old with 34 years’ teaching experience because they wanted to recruit a cheaper and less experienced teacher. Whilst age discrimination may be justified in certain circumstances, the Council failed to make out this defence: they could not show that the less expensive candidate was justified on the ground of cost. The Claimant’s claim of indirect age discrimination was, therefore, upheld. However, it should be noted that this was a first instance decision, so it would be open for another Employment Tribunal to come to a different conclusion.
As has been widely reported, employers will need a sponsorship licence under the new points based immigration system if they wish to employ skilled or temporary workers from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland. This is the biggest shake up of the immigration system for 45 years.
The Home Office has now published its service standards for applications under the points-based system. The service standards cover applications under tiers 2 (employees with a job offer in a shortage area) and 5 (temporary and youth mobility workers) of the new system. The standards are intended to,
- provide businesses with certainty about when they need to apply for a licence;
- set out details of how long it will take to deal with a licence application; and
- set out details of how long it will take to deal with subsequent applications for migrant workers to enter the United Kingdom.
The Home Office aims to process applications in a maximum of six weeks, and is currently recommending that applications for sponsorship licences are lodged by 1 October 2008.
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In November 2007, the Government announced its intention to extend the right of parents to request flexible working, and it was subsequently accepted that the right should be extended to parents of children aged 16 and under.
A consultation paper has now been published which seeks views on measures the Government should take to assist businesses in implementing this extension. It also proposes removing the requirement that employers write to employees confirming agreement to a flexible working request, unless it is specifically requested by an employee. This appears to ignore the requirement for employers to provide employees with a written statement of employment particulars that includes hours of work and place of work; it is likely that one or both will change if a flexible working request is granted.
The consultation closes on 18 November 2008 and the Government intends to introduce the changes in April 2009.