Latest News

e-cigarettes in the workplace 

Is it fair to dismiss for vaping on an e-cigarette?

Yes was the response from a recent Tribunal claim, although probably not if you don’t have a policy on the use of e-cigarettes.  The Tribunal considered that “vaping” is not the same as smoking and does not meet the same legislation. Therefore employers need to give thought as to how they deal with this issue with staff, particularly as “vaping” is becoming more popular.  Should you wish to prevent the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace then ensure that your policy is updated to reflect this.

More than a third of employees plan to change jobs in 2015

The Institute of Leadership and Management has revealed that there will be a dramatic increase in 2015 of employees planning to move jobs.  According to the survey, employees want more from their jobs and it’s not all about pay but development opportunities and more interesting roles.
Employers therefore need to work hard to recognise the efforts and talents on their employees, show appreciation, make them feel valued and consider development opportunities.
You may therefore want to consider looking at flexible policies, employee surveys or training and development opportunities for your staff.

 

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that non-guaranteed overtime should be taken into account when calculating holiday pay.

What does this mean?

  • It means that holiday pay should be calculated to include overtime and other payments such as commission at least for the basic entitlement of 4 weeks leave per annum.
  • It does not apply to the additional 1.6 weeks leave provided under the UK Working Time Regulations or any additional holiday entitlement you may offer, although companies may decide to include it as it’s probably easier to administer
  • In addition, the EAT has decided that claims in respect of back pay will not be possible if there has been a gap of 3 months or more between holiday payments

The decision is being appealed but it’s an important decision with potentially wide reaching implications and expensive consequences for employers.

It would be advisable to review any overtime policy or additional budget required to cover this additional cost.

Right to time off for antenatal appointments for expectant Fathers and Partners

In line with recent reviews of legislation surrounding “family friendly” policies, the Government is aiming to achieve greater involvement of both parents from the earliest stages of pregnancy.

From 1st October 2014 the expectant father, husband, civil partner or partner of a pregnant women will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to two of her ante-natal appointments. 

  • Employees who wish to accompany the expectant mother will be entitled to a maximum of six and half hours for each appointment.   
  • This right will apply whether the child is conceived naturally or through donor insemination and also applies to those employees who will become parents through a surrogacy arrangement (if they expect to be entitled to and intend to apply for a parental order in respect of that child).
  • There is no qualifying period in order for an employee to be eligible, meaning they are entitled to this time off from the first day of employment.

As an employer you are not entitled to ask for evidence of the ante-natal appointment (any evidence would be the property of the expectant mother) but you are entitled to ask your employee for a declaration stating the date and time of the appointment, confirmation that  your employee qualifies for the unpaid time off through their relationship with the mother or child, and that the time off is for the purpose of attending an ante-natal appointment with the expectant mother following advice from a registered medical practitioner, nurse or midwife.  

Pregnant women often attend at least 10 antenatal appointments and although the legislation allows the employee to accompany her to a maximum of two, it will be up to the employer to decide whether they wish to be more generous in the amount of time off they give to their employees.

National Minimum Wage Increases from 1 October 2014

The National Minimum Wage is set to increase from 1 October 2014.

From age 21 and over – from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour
From age 18 to 20 – from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour
Under age 18 – from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour
Apprentice – from £2.68 to £2.73 per hour

The Right to Flexible Working

From June 2014, every employee has the statutory right to apply for flexible working after 26 weeks service.  This is a change to the current legislation which applied only to parents of children under the age of 17 (18 if disabled).  Refer to our guide on “How to comply with current legislation when considering flexible working requests” and ensure that you update your policies.