We round up the latest employment news.
Increase in ‘injury to feeling’ bands
Anyone who wins a discrimination claim is entitled to receive an award to compensate them for ‘injury to their feelings’. These are known as the ‘Vento’ bands.
From Monday 6 April 2020 these have increased in line with the Retail Price Index as follows:
Lower band (less serious cases) – £900 to £9,000
Middle band (cases that don’t merit an award in the upper band) – £9,000 to £27,000
Upper band (the most serious cases) – £27,000 to £45,000
Tribunals can make awards over £45,000 for exceptionally serious cases.
Please note: these awards relate to any claim submitted on or after Monday 6 April 2020.
Coronavirus: new guidance on right to work checks
The Home Office has introduced
temporary measures to help employers comply with the ‘right to work’ checks without seeing the individual face to face. It allows employers to carry out checks via video calls, or for workers to send scanned documents or a photo of documents via email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals. Employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee can’t provide any of the accepted documents.
These are only temporary measures, and the Home Office will let employers know in advance when they will end. The standard existing regime will then recommence and employers will have to carry out retrospective checks on existing employees who started, or needed a follow-up check, during these temporary measures.
The retrospective checks must be carried out within eight weeks of the end of these temporary measures.
Coronavirus: changes to Statutory Sick Pay
New rules on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) are now in force. SSP is available from day one of any absence related to coronavirus and must be paid to anyone:
Who has coronavirus and is unable to work; or
Can’t work because they are self-isolating at home.
Small employers (those with fewer than 250 employees) can recover up to two weeks SSP costs from the government via an online portal (which isn’t available yet). HMRC have
published guidance on who can apply for a rebate and what records have to be kept. Coronavirus: updated guidance for businesses remaining open
The government has published
new guidance for businesses and employers on how to safely remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. It provides tailored advice to employers across a range of sectors, including retail, construction and transport. New IR35 rules delayed for a year
The government has announced that the IR35 tax reforms, which were due to come into force on Monday 6 April, have been delayed by one year. The move is part of a broad package of measures the Treasury has announced to protect the economy from the coronavirus outbreak.
Gender pay gap reporting suspended
The government has suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines for the reporting year 2019/20 because of the ‘unprecedented uncertainty and pressure’ resulting from coronavirus. This decision means there’s no expectation on employers to report their data.
So far, only
5,208 organisations have published data for this period – less than half the number of those who published their pay gap reports last year. Acas guidance on coronavirus
Acas has published
advice for employers and employees on coronavirus, which includes sections on staying at home and social distancing, vulnerable people and those at high risk, self-isolation and sick pay, holiday, and temporary workplace closures. Information Commissioner launches data protection and coronavirus information hub
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has launched a new information hub to help individuals and organisations navigate data protection during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. The ICO will add new information as the pandemic continues.
helpful advice about what employers can say to other staff members if someone is diagnosed with coronavirus. Coronavirus: government policy on paying suppliers and contingent workers
The Cabinet Office has devised a
procurement policy for public sector bodies to assist supplying agencies contracted to bodies affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It also applies to contingent workers supplied to the public sector by such agencies. Home Office produces guide for employers on the UK’s upcoming post-Brexit immigration system
The Home Office has published an overview for employers on the
post-Brexit immigration system due to come into force on Friday 1 January 2021. The upcoming points-based, employer-led system represents a significant shift in the way migrants will come to work in the UK, and the guide has been prepared to help employers prepare and adapt.
It addresses EU citizens already residing in the UK, skilled workers (which include highly and lower-skilled workers), and how to identify whether a job meets the required skill level. The publication also covers the other immigration routes available (such as the Graduate Immigration Route), becoming an approved sponsor and the visa process.
Coronavirus: Pensions Regulator eases up on compliance
The Pensions Regulator has announced some further easements that will apply at least until Tuesday 30 June 2020 in trustees’ reporting duties where they’re in breach of some of their statutory obligations because of the COVID-19 situation, and also over what enforcement action it takes.
Full details are available. Committee releases submissions from concerned workers during coronavirus
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has published a
selection of concerns from workers after asking the public to share measures implemented by their employers to support them throughout the coronavirus crisis. The committee received over 2,000 emails and tweets. It’s published a selection of submissions and plans to publish others. Employees from all sectors of the economy and regions of the UK have taken part in the survey.
Concerns shared with the committee include:
Those involving protective equipment and safety measures in the workplace and sufficient social distancing
Lack of clarity over which workplaces should remain open
Eligibility for the government’s Job Retention Scheme
Rules on self-isolation, sick pay, annual leave and holiday pay
Ambiguity on the rights of pregnant women, people with existing health conditions, those living with vulnerable individuals
Lack of clarity concerning guidance on working from home.
Read more – April 2020
For general enquiries
0370 1500 100
Or we can call you back at a time of your choice
Request a call back
Phone lines are open 24/7, 365 days a year