Update on Deductions of Contributions at Source (DOCAS)
In our April update, we explained that the draft Trade Union (Deduction of Union Subscriptions from Wages in the Public Sector) Regulations 2017, which were expected to come into force on Saturday 10 March 2018, had been delayed.
We’ve recently been informed that the government has postponed the debate to affirm the legislation and will be rescheduling it after EU exit legislation has been passed.
We will provide a further update when we have a better idea of when the debates will be rescheduled.
Will college teachers get a pay rise too?
The Department for Education has recently announced a pay rise for school teachers of up to 3.5% in September. According to the TES, FE staff will have to wait to find out if they will get a pay increase. The process for setting pay in FE is separate from school teachers and is marked by a number of differences.
Pay for college staff is set through national pay negotiations. The Association of Colleges represents its member colleges and the FE unions, University and College Union, NEU, Unison, GMB and Unite, represent staff. If an agreement is struck, it is then down to individual colleges to decide whether to implement it.
College mental health teams could help schools
The government has published its response to comments on its green paper on transforming children and young people’s mental health provision. It suggests that colleges could act as a “focus” for providing mental health support for school pupils and apprentices, as well as their own learners whilst recognising that there needs to be different approaches for colleges and for schools.
One in six employers may have misreported gender pay gap
A statistician has analysed published gender pay gap figures and has concluded that around 9% of organisations have “definitely” made an error in their reporting, and a further 8% may have recorded an incorrect figure. Three of the most common errors are:
Mathematical (for example claiming their gender pay gap is more than 100%, which would mean women are actually paying to work there)
Entering their income quartiles the wrong way round (such as +9% rather than -9%)
Claiming there is no pay gap where differences in pay quartiles between men and women show otherwise.
Government decides not to legislate to provide “caste” protection
Instead, it has said it will rely on emerging case law to provide appropriate protection.
Response to consultation:
Updated Home Office guidance on right to work checks
On Friday 29 June 2018, the Home Office published an updated version of An Employer's Guide to Right to Work Checks. The main changes to the guide concern:
• Steps employers should take if they consider a prospective employee presents information indicating they are a non-EEA national who has been a long-term lawful resident of the UK since before 1988 and does not possess acceptable right to work documentation
• Further clarification on steps to take for existing employees
• Clarification of the grace period in cases of TUPE transfers
• Ending restrictions on the employment of Croatian nationals with effect from Sunday 1 July 2018.
Government minister says employers have a duty to support menopausal women
During a House of Commons debate, Minister for Women Victoria Atkins said that employers should support menopausal women. A survey published by Public Health England found that 31% of women experience severe reproductive health problems and emphasised the mitigating potential of positive workplace environments.
She suggested that menopausal women would benefit from flexible work arrangements, specialist help from occupational health departments and environmental changes, such as USB desk fans and alternative uniforms. She also indicated that making menopause policies compulsory represents "part of our changing expectations of employers" but that these changes must be underpinned by "a culture in which women feel able to speak up about their symptoms".
New survey finds UK employees keen to stay in work beyond age 65
According to data from Canada Life Insurance, many employees now see working beyond 65 as a positive choice. Over 20% cite non-financial reasons for choosing to work, including enjoying their job and the social interaction working provides.
Employees are also not averse to making career moves past the age of 65. If they were considering looking for a new employer post 65, flexible working tops the priorities of UK workers (42%), ahead of companies with a good reputation for taking care of older workers (31%) and economic incentives (31%).
ACAS provides updated advice on overtime and holiday pay and suspensions
ACAS has published two new sets of guidance for employers, on overtime and suspensions. The guidance on overtime highlights the importance of setting out terms relating to it in employment contracts or staff handbooks. It urges both employers and workers to keep detailed records of the amount of overtime worked and how much time off has been taken in lieu.
The guidance on suspensions provides employers with comprehensive advice on when to consider suspension from work.
New advice for employers on handling domestic abuse
Following consultations with employers, Public Health England and Business in the Community have published a domestic abuse toolkit to increase awareness and reduce stigma surrounding domestic abuse. The toolkit aims to help employers create supportive working environments in which victims are encouraged to speak out. It also enables employers to identify any issues, and gives advice on referring victims to organisations for help.
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