If you would like to discuss any employment issues please contact Julie Taylor on 01635 508181
So here comes the sun (and showers probably) and a number of important employment law changes also come about this month:-
From 6 April HMRC will have the power to ask an employer to pay a security where there is a serious risk that it will not pay income tax or Class 1 NICs that it has deducted from an employee’s pay and employees in defined contribution pension schemes will lose the opportunity to contract out of the state additional pension.
The qualifying service period for employees to bring a claim for unfair dismissal will increase from one to two years on 6 April but only applies to employees starting with a new employer on or after that date and this will not affect Automatic Unfair Dismissal claims.
As part of a fair redundancy process there is an obligation on employers to consider whether there are any suitable alternative vacancies for those at risk of redundancy. The Employment Appeal Tribunal has determined that employers are not automatically obliged to use an objective selection criteria in the context of an interview for any such alternative employment.
This means that it will be difficult for employees to successfully argue that they have been unfairly treated where the company uses ‘subjective’ criteria to assess an employee’s suitability for an alternative post.
HOWEVER, employers should be aware that whilst ‘subjective’ criteria could be used when selecting staff for an alternative position the decision should not be one that no reasonable employer could have made in the circumstances.
ACTION POINTS: Even when an employer considers that redundancy affected employees may not prove suitable for an available alternative post, it is good practice not to consider external candidates until the affected employees have been ruled out following a fair process.
The Apprenticeships (Form of Apprenticeship Agreement) Regulations 2012 came into force on 6 April 2012 to supplement the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children & Learning Act 2009. The 2009 act provided that to complete an apprenticeship the parties needed to enter into an ‘apprenticeship agreement’. If the agreement was also a contract of service it had to be in the ‘prescribed form’.
However, until now a form was not actually prescribed! Therefore, these Regulations prescribe the form, which require the agreement to contain a written statement of the particulars of employment and it MUST include a statement of the skill, trade or occupation for which the apprentice is being trained under the apprenticeship framework. So if you employ apprentices, you will need to ensure that you issue an agreement in the appropriate form.
Acas has published guidance for employers to help them plan for the extra bank holiday on Tuesday 5 June 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The key recommendations for employees are:
A full copy of the guidance can be found here.
As there is no statutory right to bank/public holidays, employees are only entitled to take such days off if their contract of employment entitles them to do so. Employers do generally have the right to refuse a request for holiday under the Working Time Regulations, as long as the notice requirements are complied with. Employers should handle holiday requests fairly, consistently and avoid discriminating against staff when prioritising requests for time off.
Furthermore, when planning for the Jubilee, employers should bear in mind that the last bank holiday in May has been moved to Monday 4 June and that most schools have moved their half-term holiday to that week. If you are uncertain on your obligations, you should take legal advice.
Please note that these comments are intended to summarise some of the employment issues of the moment, not to provide detailed legal advice, so if you need assistance with any employment issues you may have please contact Julie Taylor on: 01635 508181
Follow Julie on Twitter: @JulieT_GL