New employment rights raise another red flag for employers

Who’s who on the payroll is an ongoing challenge for employers in the run up to new payslip requirements.   New payslip requirements are set to come into force, requiring itemised calculations for variable rates of pay and hours worked. Alongside, the requirement for payslips will be extended to include workers, not just employees.   The two amendments to the 1996 Employment Rights Act will come into force on April 6 2019.  From that date, employees and workers, including those under casual or zero hours contracts, must receive correctly detailed written, printed…

When ‘Banter’ crosses over into abuse

“It’s just banter, mate! Just banter!” If you work in any kind of environment, from an office to a building site, you’ll be familiar with the term ‘banter’. It’s that humorous back and forth we all use to make the day a little brighter, to have a joke and a laugh with our colleagues, and to generally brighten up what can be a mundane working environment. But is it ‘just banter’, or could it be something more sinister, and more harmful? Workplace banter has its place. However, the term ‘banter’…

Firefighter ruling sparks new heat for employers

The standby arrangements for Belgium’s volunteer firefighters are set to cause new headaches for employers with workers who are paid flat rates for time on-call or when sleeping in the workplace, with a judgement that will affect companies across the European Union. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that volunteer firefighter Rudy Matzak is a ‘worker’ and that within the meaning of the Working Time Directive his time on standby is ‘working’ time. Under that Directive, ‘working time’ refers to “any period during which the…

Voluntary Workers – Their rights and your responsibilities as an employer

A volunteer is anyone who carries out unpaid work for a charity, fundraising body or voluntary organisation. If you hire volunteers to work for your organisation, there are certain things you need to be aware of. If you happen to be a volunteer, it pays to know your rights, too. We’ve outlined some of the legalities to help you both stay on the right side of the law. Do voluntary workers have a contract? Although voluntary workers don’t have a contract of employment, most voluntary organisations provide volunteers with a…

Spotlight on equal pay

Equal pay is a legal obligation. In recent months it has hit the headlines, with the BBC notably coming under fire for inequality in pay between the sexes. And you can expect more front pages, as by 4 April 2018 (or 30 March for the public sector) all employers with 250 or more employees are required to report their gender pay gap and bonus data. Why has there been such an emphasis on equal pay recently? Well, because despite the fact that equal pay is a legal obligation, it’s still…

Making sure the work environment is safe

Winter has slammed into the UK with a vengeance this year, with record snowfalls and Arctic winds blasting the length of Britain. It can be difficult enough trying to get through hazardous weather conditions to reach work on time, but what if when you get there the office is only marginally warmer than the outside temperature? Here’s a quick guide to your employer’s obligations when it comes to creating and maintaining a safe working environment during cold weather. The legal requirements Despite what a lot of people think, there is…

Businesses face bigger penalties on data leaks

Businesses are on final countdown to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018, bringing with it a tighter rule and greater penalties for data processing, and the outcome of a landmark High Court case has made the preparation even more pressing. The case involved an online leak of payroll data by Andrew Skelton, a disgruntled ex-employee of supermarket chain Morrisons. Skelton received an eight year conviction for offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). However, over 5,000 current and…

Beat the workplace bullies

Nobody should ever have to start their working day worrying about being harassed, bullied, or intimidated in the workplace. We spend nearly a third of our lives at work, so it should always be a place where we feel safe. Not only does bullying in the workplace drive down productivity, but it can become so bad that it leads to conflict that destroys morale, triggers mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, and even forces good workers to find another position simply to get away from the problem. However, running…

Tribunal fees dropped after court ruling

A government beset by policy U-turns has faced yet another one recently, as the Supreme Court ruled that employment tribunal fees were ‘inconsistent with access to justice’, and therefore unlawful. Not only has this caused red faces at the Ministry, but it could hit the government’s coffers too – potentially up to £32million in repayments to workers intent on getting justice. The challenge to the charges for bringing an employment tribunal claim – £1,200 in many cases – was brought by trade union Unison. Their argument was that the fee…

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR): Are you ready?

After four years of wrangling, the EU's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is set to come into effect from May 28th 2018. That gives everyone affected less than a year to make sure they are ready for the changes, and that they comply to the letter of the law. Currently, the UK has the Data Protection Act 1998 in force. This however, will be suspended by the new regulations, with bigger fines for non-compliance, and giving people greater say over what information is retained by companies, and what they do…

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