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Children’s Commissioner says exclusion a trigger for children joining gangs

The Children’s Commissioner in England said there's a correlation between children excluded from schools and gang membership. She estimates that 27,000 children across the country are part of a gang. Her report found that self-reported gang members aged 10 to 15 were five and a half times more likely to have been excluded or suspended in the past year. The report said many parents described exclusion as a “trigger point,” which pushed their children from some involvement into full gang membership.

The report estimates that around 34,000 children, who are gang members or know someone who is, have been victims of violent crime in the past year.

School pupils must be taught about relationships

From September 2020, primary and secondary schools will have to teach children about relationships, keeping safe online and looking after their mental health.

The government has published a response to the consultation that took place last year and has said it will “make available” £6m in 2019/20 to cover training and resources to help schools implement this change.

Government publishes guidance on calculating holiday pay for staff without fixed hours or pay

The government has recently published some very helpful guidance on how to calculate statutory holiday pay for workers engaged under zero hours contracts or those working irregular hours or on short contracts.

It explains:

  • What to do if you don't have 12 weeks of pay data to use
  • The date the holiday pay reference period should start from
  • How to calculate holiday pay for those leaving a job.

It provides practical examples that many schools and colleges will find helpful.

Acas publishes new guidance to help employers avoid age discrimination

Acas has published new guidance to help employers avoid discriminating against older workers and job applicants. 

The 27-page document explains the law and sets out the most common situations where age discrimination might occur. This includes recruitment, promotion and performance management.

In common with other Acas guides, it differentiates between what employers have to do to comply with the law and what is good practice.

Employment judgments must remain public

A feature of the employment tribunal system often overlooked by both sides is the publication of tribunal judgments. Since February 2017, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service has published all tribunal judgments and written reasons via the online public Register.

You might think that you need to go to that specific online Register address to access the judgments, but this isn't the case. You can Google the surname of the claimant and the name of the respondent, and it will bring up the relevant publication(s). For many this has been a worrying development, as whatever the employment tribunal judge decides to record in the written decision/reasons will be there for all to see.

A recent decision in the Employment Appeals Tribunal has made it clear that that judgments must remain open to the public – even if they contain sensitive or embarrassing information or mention evidence given by witnesses who are not party to the claim.

No-deal Brexit: EU citizens entering UK after 29 March 2019 will need leave to remain

The government has announced that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, EU citizens and their family members already resident in the UK by Friday 29 March 2019 will still be able to remain here but will have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to protect their status.

EU nationals who arrive in the UK on or after Saturday 30 March 2019 will be admitted under UK immigration rules and will need permission (leave to enter or remain), unless they don't intend to stay for more than three months.

However, following the end of free movement and before the UK’s new skills-based immigration system begins in 2021, EU nationals wishing to stay in the UK for more than three months will have to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain. This will allow EEA citizens arriving in the UK after Friday 29 March 2019 to live, work and study in the UK for a period of three years from the date of their application.

Changes to "right to work" immigration checks

The Home Office Right to Work Checking Service was launched in April 2018. It's free to use and enables UK employers to check the current right to work of a person, and to see whether they are subject to any restrictions.

The system only works if individuals can access their own Home Office right to work records online. They may then share this information with an employer by giving them their “share code” to access the record but they still needed to request paper documents.

Schools and colleges can now rely solely on an online check where a prospective employee has an immigration status that can be checked using the service.

Guidance for employers and EU citizens on the pilot EU Settlement Scheme

The government has published a guide to help EU citizens to apply for settled status ahead of Friday 29 March 2019 (the day the UK will exit the EU). Applicants can apply using the app (which only works on android phones/technology). The process is supposed to be relatively quick, but anecdotal evidence suggests that is not always the case.

EU citizens wishing to remain in the UK post Brexit need to apply before Wednesday 30 June 2021 for settled or pre-settled status in order to remain in the UK after Wednesday 30 June 2021. In case of no deal, the application deadline for settled status will be brought forward to Thursday 31 December 2020.

EU citizens don't have to pay the £65 fee.

Government says it will not make any immediate changes to gender pay gap (GPG) reporting

The government has published its response to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee’s suggestions for reforming GPG reporting. It makes it clear that it won't make any immediate changes to the regulations.

Specifically:

  • Organisations with 50 or more employees won't have to publish their GPG but will be “encouraged” to do so
  • No changes will be made to the reporting requirements. The Committee had suggested part-time and full-time gender pay gap statistics should be reported separately and that salary quartiles are changed to deciles
  • The government won't be revising the guidance published jointly by Acas and the Government Equalities Office (GEO).

Government publishes guidance on new laws regarding payslips

From Saturday 6 April 2019, all workers must receive payslips. In addition, the payslips of workers paid by the hour must also clearly set out the number of hours they have been paid for.

The government has published guidance to help organisations understand these new requirements. It includes a number of examples, including for term time workers.

Government consults on extending redundancy protection for women and new parents

The government has launched a consultation to extend Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, which requires a woman being made redundant during maternity leave to be offered alternative work when there is a suitable available vacancy. It's proposing to extend that right so that it begins when the women informs her employer that she's pregnant and continues to apply for six months after her return.

The government also suggests making similar provision in relation to employees taking shared parental leave and adoption leave.

The consultation ends on Friday 5 April 2019.

Campaign to stop employers using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to "cover up" pregnancy and maternity discrimination

The campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed has launched a campaign to persuade the government to stop organisations using NDAs to “silence staff.” Although it accepts that it might not be possible to ban NDAs, it wants the government to set up an independent body to oversee and monitor their use. All NDAs would have to be reported to this body, and it would have the power to investigate, and act, if they have concerns.

Key Contact

Jenny Arrowsmith