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Agenda for Change – contractual and statutory recovery

In the recent case of Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision of Ugradar v. Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust UKEAT/0301/18, the EAT found that the Claimant was entitled to a statutory redundancy payment on top of the normal cap of £25,000 on breach of contract claims brought in the Employment Tribunal. This was notwithstanding that the whole amount claimed by the Claimant in respect of breach of contract and redundancy pay was calculated in accordance with Agenda for Change (NHS standard contractual terms).

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Agenda for Change – contractual and statutory recovery

Be more Japanese? Stepping up to manage automation (like Dentons!)

BEIS published a report on automation and the future of work on 18 September 2019. The report signals that a UK fear of having our jobs taken over by robots has already resulted in the UK lagging behind our international competitors when it comes to automation and robot technologies. Japan on the other hand is forging ahead as a market leader. In 2015 the UK had just 10 robots for every million hours worked, compared with 131 in the US, 133 in Germany and 167 in Japan.
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Be more Japanese? Stepping up to manage automation (like Dentons!)

Redressing one-sided flexibility and further proposals to support families

There has been a flurry of activity in Theresa May’s last week in office, including the government issuing further consultations under the auspices of the Good Work Plan. One consultation deals with one-sided flexibility and the other invites responses on several proposals to support families.
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Redressing one-sided flexibility and further proposals to support families

#metoo – formal consultation on tackling sexual harassment now published

The previously anticipated consultation paper on tackling sexual harassment in the workplace has now been published by the government. The two-part consultation focuses on how to make employers respect and prioritise the issue. One part of the consultation is a simple question format aimed at individuals who have experienced such issues in the workplace. The other part covers the more technical legal aspects. Interested parties have until 2 October 2019 to contribute to the consultation.

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#metoo – formal consultation on tackling sexual harassment now published

Is it still viable to run an internal disciplinary process alongside criminal proceedings?

The Court of Appeal's decision in the case of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust v. Gregg [2019] EWCA Civ 387 brings some welcome reassurance to employers that it remains viable to run internal disciplinary processes alongside criminal proceedings. Only in very limited circumstances is there any requirement on an employer to delay pending the outcome of those criminal proceedings.
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Is it still viable to run an internal disciplinary process alongside criminal proceedings?

Expanding the female talent pipeline – new government guidance

The Government Equalities Office has published some simplified guidance on actions that can help support women's progress in the workplace.
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Expanding the female talent pipeline – new government guidance

Gender Pay Gap Reporting Response

On 17 January 2019 the House of Commons' Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee published a Government response to its report on gender pay gap reporting.
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Gender Pay Gap Reporting Response

Trade unions on the decline?

Trade unions saw a large decline in their membership last year (losing 275,000 members last year) and reducing their overall numbers to 6.2 million according to the Office for National Statistics. The largest decreases were in the pubic sector with union membership falling by 209,000 to 3.6 million. However, there was also retraction in private entities by 66,000 to 2.6 million.

Trade union leaders have plenty to say about the reason for the decline. They have pointed to the Conservative government, which they say has a policy of “shrinking the union base” and austerity. They have said that cuts have meant a loss of good jobs being replaced by a large proportion of insecure jobs. Of course, the trade unions themselves might not be entirely without blame. The decline may represent some trade union members’ unhappiness with what their trade union is offering, or feeling that their trade union is not useful in today’s society. There have been several very public trade union actions in the past few years including the rail strikes and junior doctors strikes. The duration and on-going nature of the rail strikes, have proved unpopular with the public. There were challenges in the junior doctors dispute to the trade unions’ approach to spin, which some say resulted in a reluctance to resolve the issues amongst doctors. Taking industrial action aside, issues such as the gig economy also present a challenge to trade unions. Having a flexible workforce, often without a fixed base, makes it difficult for trade unions to reach out with their members. This is particularly so, if trade unions do not embrace social media and other technological advancements. Trade unions are not generally known for being at the forefront of developments, but that may need to change, if they do not want to see further decline. Employers who recognise trade unions may see this decline as a positive development, but given that trade unions may be feeling the need to emphasise their worth, it may not all be plain sailing.

Trade unions on the decline?

Older and wiser?

After a call from Andy Briggs, the government’s champion for older workers to increase the number of mature workers by 12% by 2022, a group of businesses: Aviva, Atos, Barclays, the Co-operative Group, Home Instead Senior Care, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, Mercer and Walgreens Boots Alliance, have publically committed to tackling a potential skills gap by recruiting more individuals over 50 years old. Both transparency and target setting are quite fashionable at present following gender pay reporting. However, whether there will be any real development in this area remains to be seen. With Brexit on the horizon, and uncertainty about any restrictions on free movement, the pool of home-grown talent in their 50’s and older should sensibly be considered. Notwithstanding this, there is some tension between this drive and the March 2017 Advocate General’s opinion in the European case of Fries v. Lufthansa CityLine GmbH C-190/16 that an age limit of 65 imposed on EU commercial pilots is not discriminatory. In that case the Advocate General felt that the age limit was both appropriate and necessary to achieve the aim of air traffic safety. He said that there could hardly be any question that capability declined with age. For many working in non safety critical areas employers should be able to manage capability issues by pro-actively applying their capability processes at an early stage.

Older and wiser?

Sisters doing it for themselves?

The world of work is changing. According to a combined study by Oxford Ecomonics and the online retailer notonthehighstreet.com, female entrepreneurs are leading the way in shunning normal working hours. Many have set up their own businesses in an attempt to juggle home and work commitments. They enjoy having flexibility to juggle home and work life, without reverting to part time work and a consequent reduction in their finances. Employers are advised to think about how they can adapt to changing work habits to recruit and retain the best talent.

The full report can be found here http://www.notonthehighstreetpresscentre.com/wp-content/uploads/Noths_Report_Release_London.pdf

Sisters doing it for themselves?