We round up the latest employment news.
Right to work checks - Government extends deadline for physical checks
The government’s pushed back its deadline to reintroduce physical right to work checks from Monday 17 May to Monday 21
From that date, you must either check the applicant’s original documents or check the applicant’s right to work via the online service. The online service is only available to those people who hold a biometric residence permit or a residence card, or have been granted UK immigration status under the EU settlement scheme or points-based immigration system.
Get answers to your right to work checks questions. Right to work checks for EU workers
The Home Office has confirmed that employers only need European Economic Area (EEA) citizens to show them their passport or national ID card to obtain a statutory excuse against a civil penalty for illegal working until Wednesday 30 June 2021.
Any EEA citizen you employ from Thursday 1 July 2021 will need to demonstrate they have either applied for (or received) settled or pre-settled status, or has a visa to work in the UK under the new immigration rules.
Read the updated Home Office guidance . ACAS publish advice on long COVID
ACAS have recently published
advice for employers and employees on long COVID.
Anyone hoping for detailed guidance about how to manage employees suffering from a myriad of post viral symptoms will be disappointed. Instead, ACAS signposts some of the issues employers are likely to encounter once staff recover from the initial stages of the infection. It includes brief paragraphs on dealing with sickness absence, keeping in touch with staff and making adjustments to their work or hours.
It skirts around the issue of whether long COVID symptoms can be sufficient to meet the statutory definition of disability (
our view is that they can) and instead recommends that employers 'focus on reasonable adjustments rather than trying to work out if an employee's condition is a disability.' Queen's Speech: the implications for employment law (or not)
The Queen’s Speech said practically nothing of relevance to HR professionals.
The government’s said that it’ll introduce an Employment Bill when the ‘time is right,’ which may not be until 2022. This briefing looks at
seven employment law changes the government promised to implement after the 2019 general election, all of which remain outstanding. Workplace conflict costs UK employers £28.5 billion each year
The cost of conflict to UK organisations, pre-pandemic, was £28.5 billion, according to an
ACAS report. That’s the equivalent of more than £1,000 for each employee.
Close to 10 million people experienced conflict at work. Of these, over half suffer stress, anxiety or depression; just under 900,000 took time off work, nearly half a million resigned, and more than 300,000 employees were dismissed.
Written by academics, the report’s based on data compiled in 2018/19. The authors argue that anecdotal reports and research suggest that conflict was suppressed during the height of the pandemic. They anticipate that, as working life returns to some form of new normality in 2021, it’s likely that job insecurity, rapid change, and continuing economic pressures will lead to a re-surfacing of conflict between individuals.
The report recommends that organisations take the following steps to minimise workplace conflict:
Invest in early intervention and make sure that managers have the skills to start uncomfortable conversations
Intervene at the ‘critical time’ – in most cases that’s before you need to invoke formal procedures
Re-frame conflict by focusing on learning rather than blame.
New sticker scheme offered to UK businesses amid COVID-19
The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a new
‘ We Offer Testing to our Staff' scheme
This involves providing UK businesses with stickers to showcase their offer of free coronavirus testing for staff, as well as materials to promote the use of the NHS COVID-19 app to check in visitors and customers. Businesses participating in the scheme can now access digital materials, including stickers and posters, online via an ordering platform.
Low Pay Commission calls for government response to National Minimum Wage risk following COVID-19
The Low Pay Commission has published a report on
compliance and enforcement of the National Minimum Wage.
It argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has left workers on low salaries vulnerable and UK businesses under even greater pressure than before. It reports that more people are being underpaid and has asked the government to implement a 'proactive and strategic response to deal with this.'
New report hybrid working recommends government start consultation to protect worker rights
The House of Lords Select Committee on COVID-19 has published its report ‘
Beyond Digital: Planning for a Hybrid World’ The report outlines the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the use of digital technology and work.
The Committee sets out its recommendations and asks the government to consider strengthening employment rights to ensure that workers are protected. It identifies a number of issues of concern including:
A right to switch-off from work
Who should be responsible for meeting the costs of remote working
The use of workplace monitoring and surveillance
Specific rights for platform workers
Giving workers a right to access data regarding their performance.
Cabinet Office opens review into coronavirus certification
The Cabinet Office has announced it’s considering introducing
coronavirus status certificates as part of its strategy to help the country to re-open safely.
If they go ahead, they’ll use testing or vaccination data to confirm that people have a lower risk of transmitting the virus to others.
The government expects to complete its review prior to Step Four of its lockdown easing plan, currently projected to be 21 June 2021.
Updated guidance on pregnancy COVID-19 and vaccinations
The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists has updated its
guidance on coronavirus and pregnancy.
It indicates that pregnant women who catch COVID-19 are still considered to be at increased risk of becoming severely unwell compared to non-pregnant women, particularly in the third trimester.
It also states that employers must still carry out a risk assessment for pregnant employees, even if they have been vaccinated.
Paying enhanced adoption pay alongside lower shared parental pay is not direct discrimination
, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that where an employer pays adoption pay at an enhanced rate but pays shared parental pay to all employees (male or female) at a lower rate (eg at the statutory rate), that won’t amount to direct sex discrimination. Price v Powys County Council
This judgment will reassure those businesses who’ve been operating enhanced pay for those on adoption, but only providing a lower rate (eg the statutory rate) to any employee (male or female) taking shared parental leave.
Read more – May 2021
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