September 2016 Employment Law Update – Frettens Solicitors
Paul Burton is an employment solicitor and Associate at Frettens Solicitors, working in partnership with Bond Williams. Paul specialises in both contentious and non-contentious matters, including unfair dismissal, discrimination, TUPE, contracts and policies and is recommended in this year’s Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, independent legal directories and also a member of the Employment Lawyers Association. Here he brings us the latest news in Employment law for September 2016.
News – MPs say businesses should be banned from sacking new mums
“Urgent action” is needed to give pregnant women and new mothers more protection at work after a “shocking” increase in discrimination, MPs say. The Women and Equalities Committee is calling for a German-style system, where it is harder to make women redundant during and after pregnancy.
The German system has it that, from the beginning of pregnancy until four months after childbirth, employers can only dismiss an employee in very rare cases, for example if the employer is going bust, and also needs government approval to do so.
The calls to change the current system come after research showed the number of expectant and new mothers forced to leave their jobs has almost doubled to 54,000 since 2005.
Reasonable Adjustments can include higher pay
The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has said the duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee can extend to continuing to pay a higher salary when an employee is moved to a lesser role in this case.
Due to disability, the Claimant had been moved from an engineering role maintaining cash machines to a less skilled ‘key runner’ role. After initially having his pay protected, the Respondent proposed reducing the Claimant’s pay by around 10%, dismissing the Claimant when he refused the pay cut. The Employment Tribunal found the dismissal to be discriminatory and unfair, and that the reasonable adjustments required extended to maintaining the Claimant’s former pay in his new role. Read more >
Carrying over paid annual leave when sick
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has confirmed that the provisions of the Equal Treatment Directive 2007 do not apply to a job applicant who is purely seeking compensation.
In this case the employer, R+V, advertised trainee positions for graduates. Mr Kratzer applied and was unsuccessful. He sent a written complaint to R+V demanding €14,000 in compensation for age discrimination. Read more >
News – changes to taxation of termination payments
HM Revenue & Customs has published draft legislation changing the taxation of termination payments, intended to come into force April 2018. The main changes are:-
– make all PILONs (payments in lieu of notice) taxable, even if they are non-contractual;
– require payment of employer NICs on sums over £30,000 (not currently payable); and
– ensuring payments for injury to feelings are subject to tax (there is currently a conflict of judicial authorities on this point)
The precise wording of the draft legislation is open for consultation until 5 October.
News – Owen Smith sets out manifesto on employment rights
Labour Leader challenger Owen Smith published his workplace manifesto containing 25 pledges to improve worker rights earlier this month. They include:-
– abolition of fees for employment tribunals;
– employment rights, such as unfair dismissal and redundancy, from day one;
– abolish zero hour contracts;
– strengthening union recognition and bargaining rights, and limiting ‘sweetheart’ unions;
– new Equal Pay legislation to close the gender pay gap; and more worker representation for important decisions within a company.