Alastair Currie provides a round-up of the latest developments in employment law news, including an update on the implementation of the Equality Act and the employment aspects of the 2010 Budget.
We set out below how some of the headline announcements in this year’s budget may impact on employment law.
The Government Equalities Office has sparked some debate over the Government’s intentions in respect of the implementation of the Equality Act. The Act received Royal Assent in April 2010, and the main provisions of the Act were expected to come into force in October 2010. The implementation date of October 2010 was removed from the Equalities Office’s website last week, but they have now announced on their latest news page that they are continuing to work on the basis of the previously announced timetable of main commencement in October 2010. But, they say that the Government is “currently considering how the different provisions will be commenced so that the Act is implemented in an effective and proportionate way.” They add that they will provide further information on implementation plans “as it becomes available” – and we will keep you informed, but this does suggest that some tinkering with implementation of the Act may be afoot.
The Government has published Time for Training, a review of the impact of the full implementation of the European Working Time Directive (‘the WTD’) on the quality of training of Doctors, Dentists, Pharmacists and Healthcare Scientists in England. The report focuses on the training of doctors in hospitals, as the impact of the WTD on the other three professions covered was found to be negligible. The report concludes that that high quality training can be achieved within the 48-hour maximum working week set out in the WTD, and that increased hours or longer programmes will not address any current problems in training. However, the report also states that training within the reduced hours will be unsuccessful if there is poor supervision and limited access to learning, and if trainees are involved in out-of-hours work.
In its Coalition Document, the Government promised it would “review the criminal records and vetting and barring regime and scale it back to common sense levels”. In order to do this and remodel the scheme, the Government has announced that it is halting the phasing in of the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS). The first phase of registration (voluntary registration with the VBS for new employees and job-movers working or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults) was due to commence on 26 July 2010, with compulsory registration due to follow in November 2010. Both phases have now been postponed indefinitely, and we await confirmation of what shape the scheme will take when the review is complete. In the meantime, the requirements which came into effect last October remain in force:
For further information, you can telephone the VBS contact centre on 0300 123 1111.