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ACAS revises statutory guidance on accompaniment at disciplinary & grievance meetings ACAS has published a draft revised Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures which provides new guidance about a worker’s right to be accompanied.

It confirms that an employer must agree to a worker’s request to be accompanied by any chosen companion from one of the statutory categories, namely a fellow worker, trade union representative or official.

The revised Code confirms that the statutory requirement for a request by a worker to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance meeting must be “reasonable” applies to the making of the request, not to the worker’s choice of companion. ACAS has also inserted guidance to the effect that a worker can change their chosen companion if they wish, and can do so without waiving their right to change their choice again.

New challenge to ET fees dismissed The second judicial review launched by UNISON over the introduction of tribunal fees was dismissed in December 2014 by the High Court as it was not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence that the ‘striking’ drop in claims since the introduction of fees was due to Claimants’ inability to pay. Permission to appeal has been granted.

Private sector employers to offer enhanced parental pay PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and Shell have all announced enhanced paternity packages for their staff who take advantage of the right to shared parental leave. This announcement follows earlier news that the Civil Service will offer equal pay to mothers and fathers taking the new leave.

Conciliation statistics show most ET claims do not proceed. Just 24% of the claims notified to ACAS between April and June 2014 progressed to a tribunal, according to the latest early conciliation statistics. Although early conciliation became available from 6 April 2014, it was not compulsory until 5 May 2014.

No financial penalties against employers In response to a parliamentary question, Jo Swinson MP has revealed that up to 16 December 2014, there had been no financial penalties imposed on respondent employers who have lost employment tribunal claims.

ICO updates its Guide to data protection the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has updated its Guide to Data Protection, as part of the recent reorganisation of its website. The guide now sits on one page of the ICO’s website and contains an index that links to the different sections of the guidance, as well as a link to a full PDF version. Zero hours employees pursue claims for unpaid bonus 298 current and former employees of Sports Direct are proceeding with their claims for breach of contract, following the retailer’s decision not to grant them a share of a £160 million bonus pool because they are employed on zero hours contracts. The employees in this group all have at least five and a half years’ continuous employment with Sports Direct, including the period covered by the bonus scheme.

The remaining 268 workers will file their claims over the next 6 months. The total amount being claimed is around £10 million.

Proposal to cut business rates for paying living wage Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has called on councils across the country to follow Brent Council’s lead in reducing business rates for those businesses that pay their employees the Living Wage.

Speaking at the launch of the first business rate discount scheme for employers who pay the Living Wage, she said Labour would tackle low pay by raising the minimum wage to at least £8 per hour before 2020, bringing in “Make Work Pay” contracts to get more workers paid a living wage and banning zero hours contracts, if it came to power in May.