We round up the latest employment news.
Fully vaccinated UK citizens no longer have to quarantine when returning from an amber list country
The government’s announced that
fully vaccinated passengers returning from amber list countries to England don’t have to quarantine.
Adult passengers will still need to produce a negative COVID-19 test three days before returning, before departure, and on day two after their arrival.
The exemption from self-isolation also applies to children under the age of 18 who are returning to England.
New ‘working safely during COVID-19’ guidance published
The government’s updated its series of guidance notes on
working safely during COVID-19 to reflect the ending of most COVID-19 legal restrictions. It advises employers to:
Maintain social distancing
Wear face coverings in enclosed spaces
Maintain hygiene standards.
Information Commissioners Office updates on vaccination and coronavirus status checks
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has updated its guidance on
COVID-19 vaccination and status checks. This will help organisations comply with data protection requirements. ICO starts consultation on data protection and employment practices
The ICO has, at last, started to think about changing its guidance on data protection and employment practices to bring it in line with GDPR. The updated guidance will cover:
Recruitment and selection
Information about employees’ health.
consultation closes on Thursday 21 October. MPs start to look at menopause in the workplace
A recent survey found that three-in-five menopausal women were negatively affected at work. As a result, almost 900,000 women in the UK left their jobs because of menopausal symptoms – often at the peak of their experience.
The Women and Equalities Committee are seeking views to
help inform the development of a Women’s Health Strategy. This inquiry examines the extent of discrimination faced by menopausal people in the workplace, and investigates how government policy and workplace practices can better support those experiencing menopause.
It's hearing evidence until Friday 17 September.
New advice hub for people with disabilities
The Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has joined forces with Acas to launch a
new advice hub.
The hub explains how the law protects disabled people from discrimination at work and the basic rights they’re entitled to. It also includes tips on:
How to prevent disability discrimination
How to make reasonable adjustments
How employees can raise complaints about discrimination at work.
Normal pension age to increase to 57 in 2028
The government will legislate to increase the normal minimum pension age from 55 to 57. The change will come into effect in 2028.
It will provide further advice on proposed transitional arrangements and guidance on unqualified rights in due course.
Shortage of workers leading to wage inflation
Starting salaries are rising at the fastest rate in 24 years due to a shortage of workers, according to a
report on jobs from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.
The report found there was an increased demand for staff alongside a significant drop in candidate numbers in July, which was leading to salary inflation.
New immigration status checking service
The Home Office has published details of a
new checking service. This is for individuals whose access to work, benefits or services has been impacted by an incorrect immigration status being recorded by the Home Office.
The service is free of charge. Individuals must complete a specified form which must be emailed or posted to the Home Office.
Department for Work and Pensions launches National Disability Strategy to improve workplace inclusivity
The Department for Work and Pensions and the Disability Unit have launched a
National Disability Strategy. This aims to provide better job prospects, accessible housing, and easier commuting for disabled people.
In the context of work, it reports that only 55% of the 7 million working-aged people with a disability or long-term health condition are in work.
To improve this, it plans to:
1. Set out proposals to improve the support available to disabled people to help them to start or remain in work
2. Encourage employers to recruit, retain and progress their disabled employees
It wants to create inclusive workplaces by reviewing its Disability Confident scheme, promoting the Voluntary Reporting Framework, and disseminating best practice guides to employers (which will be aimed at SMEs).
Disability Confident scheme has been in place for several years. It supports employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring by “providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and progress disabled people in the workplace.”
It also requires employers to interview disabled people that meet the minimum criteria for the job. The review will consider how well the interview requirement is working, and explore further ways of 'encouraging' employers to progress through the scheme effectively.
Any changes to the scheme will be in place by the end of this year.
Voluntary Reporting Framework was introduced in 2018 for employers with at least 250 employees. It was designed to help organisations to record and voluntarily report information on disability, mental health and wellbeing in their workplaces. The government’s 'considering' making this type of reporting mandatory for large employers. It will start a consultation to consider:
How employers can find out how many people in their organisation are disabled
What information they need to report on to the government
Whether that information should be made public.
3. Strengthen workplace rights
The government also wants to 'encourage' flexible working and 'introduce' carers' leave. These are not new proposals.
The 2019 Queen's Speech outlined the government's plans to make flexible working the default position, unless employers have a 'good reason' not to.
The government’s said it will launch a consultation on making flexible working the default position by the end of the year.
The government’s previously pledged to introduce one week's unpaid leave for carers to help those informally caring for disabled people balance care with work.
The policy paper states that the government will set out the steps it intends to take to achieve this by the end of this year.
4. Transform the Access to Work Scheme
Access to Work scheme was designed to help disabled workers remain in work. It provides grants to allow disabled people to buy the equipment they need and, in some cases, help them get to and from work.
The commitment is to fully digitalise the service and 'radically improve employers and disabled people’s experience' of using it.
It will also introduce an 'Access to Work Adjustments Passport.' This will provide an 'indicative overview for employers of the possible support available from Access to Work, which will help build employer understanding of disability and adjustments.’ The DWP will pilot the passport this year, with a view to rolling it out more widely at a later date.
Read More - August 2021
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