If you would like to discuss any employment issues please contact Julie Taylor on 01635 508181
The Supreme Court has determined that employers who have shutdown periods can stipulate that annual leave be taken during those periods.
This means that employers can insist on their employees taking their paid annual leave during periods when they are not actually required to work. This will be relevant to any businesses that have summer or Christmas shutdowns, teachers who are required to take their annual leave during non-term time and parliamentary staff.
HOWEVER, employers need to continue to ensure that they handle requests for annual leave fairly and consistently.
The Court of Appeal has held that employee claims for equal pay can be brought either through the Employment Tribunal or through ‘the ordinary courts’ (the County and High Courts).
The decision clarifies that while employees only have six months to present an equal pay claim in to a tribunal, they would have six years to bring a claim through the ordinary courts even though the time for presenting a claim in a tribunal has expired.
This is particularly relevant for businesses who acquire employees on the purchase of a business and the TUPE Regulations apply as they should obtain indemnities to protect themselves against liability for any potential equal pay claims arising in the six years prior to the acquisition of the business.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that a culture within a business of tolerating racist banter, even after established acts of racial harassment, is still capable of amounting to a continuing breach of mutual trust and confidence. This gave grounds for a claim of unfair constructive dismissal, even though the employee resigned some time after the original incidents.
This decision highlights again the duty of employers to prevent harassment in the workplace and demonstrates that businesses will be liable to their employees if they do not take action.
Action points include taking steps to prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace by:
From 1 February 2012 the limits for employment tribunal awards will increase.
• The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise to £72,300.
• The maximum basic award for unfair dismissal will increase to £12,900.
• The maximum week’s pay for basic award and redundancy pay purposes will rise to £430.
The Court of Appeal has determined that a transfer of a business in administration may be caught by TUPE rules, unlike when insolvency proceedings have been initiated to liquidate the company.
This means that businesses who purchase companies that have been placed into administration will usually take on the liability under the TUPE Regulations for the company’s employees.
Therefore, it is important that employers are aware of these potential liabilities should they consider purchasing a company in administration and should take specific advice on the liabilities they will inherit.
The restrictions on the rights of Bulgarian and Romanian workers to work in the UK have been extended until 31 December 2013.
Currently Bulgarian and Romanian nationals have no automatic right to work in the UK despite their countries being members of the EU. Therefore, those seeking to work in the UK are generally required to apply for an ‘accession worker authorisation document’ before starting work and have to work in accordance with the conditions stipulated.
It is important that employers are familiar with these restrictions where they wish to employ Bulgarian or Romanian workers and should ensure they take appropriate advice when necessary.
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