Employment Law Update December 2022.

One of the benefits for being a member of My People Partner is that you receive an in-depth Employment Law Update at the start of every month.   In this issue we look back over some 2022 highlights

Flexible and Hybrid working

The number of employment tribunal decisions relating to flexible working increased 52% to reach a record high of 193 during 2021, according to research by employment law firm GQ Littler.  The report found that the rise in the number of claims for flexible working may have been driven by employees resisting attempts by employers to bring them back into the office.

ACAS published advice to employers about hybrid working after a survey they conducted found 60% of employers have seen it increase compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.  This advice to employers includes:

  • Hybrid working policies should explain how hybrid working can be requested, detail how job roles are assessed and how decisions will be made.
  • Remote staff should have equitable access to opportunities such as team building, training, and social activities as those in the workplace.
  • Transparency and fairness are important when deciding whether to approve staff requests for hybrid working. Other forms of flexible working may be considered as alternatives.

New research has found that a third of employers believe a four-day week will be attainable within a decade, but two thirds think it is only possible if organisations become more efficient through “smarter” working and embracing new technology. (Practical Law Employment. Oct 2022.)

A study has found that greater flexible working could open employment opportunities for 1.3 million people in the UK who have caring responsibilities, disabilities and those living in rural areas.   The research People Management – Flexible working could help more people into work (cebr.com) from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, commissioned by LinkedIn, found that adapting work conditions to make employment more inclusive and breaking down barriers that shut many out of work could add a potential £40bn to UK GDP. It found that by offering flexible working opportunities, an additional 600,000 people with disabilities, 284,000 with dependent children, 306,000 with adult caring responsibilities and 104,000 from rural locations could access the workplace.

Leave for employees

Bereavement guidance – ACAS has published new bereavement guidance for leave and pay when someone dies. To help employers deal with employees suffering a bereavement and understand the rights they may have to time off and pay when they are bereaved.

The guidance covers bereavements that may be experienced by an employee following the death of a dependant, a child, stillbirth, miscarriage, or a colleague, as well as deaths outside of these categories. It explains the statutory rights that a bereaved employee may be entitled to, including dependant’s leave, parental bereavement leave, maternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave and paternity leave. Where there is no legal right to time off and the employer does not offer compassionate leave, the guidance recommends that employers consider the use of annual leave, sick leave, or unpaid leave to support bereaved employees.

Carer’s Leave – On 21 October 2022, the government announced that it was backing the Carer’s Leave Bill, a Private Members’ Bill.  The Bill will introduce a new and flexible entitlement of one week’s unpaid leave per year for employees who are providing or arranging care. It will be available to eligible employees from the first day of their employment. They will be able to take the leave flexibly to suit their caring responsibilities and will not need to provide evidence of how the leave is used or who it will be used for which, it is hoped, should ensure a smooth process. Employees taking their carer’s leave entitlement will be subject to the same employment protections that are associated with other forms of family-related leave, meaning they will be protected from dismissal or any detriment because of having taken time off. 

Members of the My People Partner programme also received information relating to:

  • Eight steps to workplace equality
  • Pay gaps in the workplace
  • Suspension
  • Employers should treat long COVID as a disability, EHRC suggests.
  • Government working to prevent unscrupulous practices in employment of staff
  • Case Law
    • Long Covid

To discuss any of the information within this document or to find out more about My People Partner, contact us at KCA

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