1. Increased National Minimum Wage rates
These were effective from the 1 October 2014 – see the details here
2. GUIDANCE: Bring your own device (BYOD)
New guidance notes have been issued by the government regarding risk management in the context of employees bringing their own devices (such as mobile phones or tablets) and using them for work.
The guidance has been produced by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and published by the Communications-Electronics Security Group (the information security arm of GCHQ, known as CESG). It provides suggested best practice for ensuring device security and ways to prevent devices from accessing particularly sensitive data, amongst other details. You can access the guidance here
It is also recommended that the Information Commissioners guidance from March 2013 is also read in addition to this information
3. INJUNCTION UPHELD
The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision to grant an injunction preventing an ex-employee from starting a new job with a competitor of the employer even though the employee would then not be paid for the 10 month effective period of the restriction.
This case concerned an employee who resigned with immediate effect in breach of his obligation to give 12 months’ notice under the terms of his employment contract. The employer refused to accept this breach of contract and tried to get the employee to return to work. The employee declined to do so and the company then ceased paying him on account of this unauthorised absence. The company then applied to the High Court for a declaration the employee was still bound by the contract and an injunction to prevent him from taking up the employment with the competitor.
The Judge granted a 10 month injunction in view of the obligation to give 12 months’ notice and the 6 months’ restrictive covenants that would apply after the termination date. There was no obligation on the employer to pay for this period as the 6 months’ period covered by the restrictive covenants would have been unpaid in any event and the additional four months’ reflected the consequence of refusing to return to work. The employee also did not produce any evidence that serious financial hardship would be caused.
This case highlights that the courts will be willing to take action to help companies by granting injunctions in appropriate cases and the importance of considering the consequences of accepting an employee’s resignation in breach of the terms of their contract.
4. GUIDANCE: ACAS & shared parental leave
Between 25 November 2014 and April 2015 a number of new rights will come into force regarding the ability of parents to share leave for a new child between them. ACAS has published some specific guidance as a best practice guide for employers. The guide covers:
a. Eligibility for shared parental leave, and how it will work.
b. The steps which employers and employees should take where employees wish to exercise these rights.
c. Additional points, such as what happens if a baby is born early, and what happens to annual leave during shared parental leave.
d. The guide also includes scenarios to demonstrate how shared parental leave should work in practice.
You can access a copy of the guide here
5. Application of the early conciliation rules
A recent case before the employment tribunal confirmed that claims will be rejected if the ACAS early conciliation procedure has not been complied with following the introduction of the early conciliation rules in May 2014.
However, the employment judge went on to confirm that the rejection could be reconsidered as the Claimant concerned had later complied with the obligation. As a result, the Claimant was able to re-submit the claim to the tribunal.
Before the case proceeds further, there will be a consideration of whether the re-submitted claim was received within the three month time limit.
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 or [email protected]
Follow Julie on Twitter: @JulieT_GL