February 2013

The Grass Can Be Greener after Redundancy

Guest Post


The redundancy threat has got employees trembling at their desks. In the UK, after three years of recession, job security feels like a distant dream. The 24/7, ‘living to work’ culture has become worse, meaning that we labour harder for less pay, and sacrifice our family life for career progression. This is neither sane, nor healthy, but someone’s got to bring home the bacon.

If you’ve been made redundant, you’re probably experiencing a smorgasbord of emotion, from anxiety to depression. On the one hand, you’re concerned that you won’t be able to pay the bills, and on the other, you’re feeling like you’ve been thrown on the rubbish heap. Right now, there’s one resounding question in your mind: why me?

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Mix and Match Maternity and Paternity Leave

Guest Post


Earlier this month, the government announced a new bill, hoping to change the way new mothers and fathers can take time off from work after a birth. The Children and Families Bill was published on the 5th February 2013, and promises a big shake up of special needs help, adoption and parental leave laws.

Calling the old rules “old fashioned and rigid,” the Bill will allow new parents to “mix and match” how they care for their new born child for the first year of life, enabling them to work alternate months for the first twelve.

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Time to Blow the Whistle on PIDA?


Woman with whistle

The Public Interest Disclosure Act of 1998 (“PIDA”) is never far from the news, or the desks of most employment lawyers these days.  It’s a complex piece of legislation that is disliked by both Claimant and Respondent alike. Now, according to The Guardian, the Government has decided to “investigate whether PIDA is failing to protect those who speak out from being victimised, harassed and even sacked by their employers.” A consultation into the way the Act works will follow.

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The Importance of Written Employment Contracts


The relationship between employee and employer is underpinned by a contract, however in many cases the contract is not always necessarily a written one.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 requires workers to provide written particulars of employment to the employee within two months from the start of employment. This is known as a Section 1 Statement.  It is not a contract of employment. It will state the core terms of employment and include job title, place of employment, frequency of pay, provisions relating to the number of hours, holiday entitlement, sickness, pension and length of notice.

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Government’s Jobseekers Scheme Ruled Unlawful

caitreilly download

The main employment law news yesterday was the story about Cait Reilly winning her case in the Court of Appeal against the decision to make her work in Poundland for nothing, apart from the right to continue receiving Jobseekers Allowance.  The facts have been well trailed so I won’t refer to them here, save to say that this wasn’t really an employment law case or an employment law issue. Instead it was a political story about how the Government failed to properly implement a controversial scheme.

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Something for the Weekend?




In last week’s Solicitors’ Journal there was an interesting article on a proposed amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which may make it significantly harder for employees to succeed with personal injury claims against their employer. A subscription is needed to read the whole article.

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Disgruntled employees beware!



Quick quiz

If you’re unhappy at work because you don’t receive a pay rise do you;

            (a) Have a quiet word with your boss

            (b) File a grievance

            (c) Sue them

            (d) Resign

            (e) Spend three years spraying Cilit Bang into your employer’s servers causing £32,000  worth of damage and repeated computer failures?

If (e) seems like the ideal option, let me caution you against it. The Daily Telegraph reported on how one Edward Sobolewski who worked at an Oxford market research firm, poured the cleaning fluid into the computers, or sprayed it through the grills, over a three year period and was eventually caught when the company installed CCTV.

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Should I Involve the Press?


One issue that clients often raise is whether they should involve the media when they get into dispute with their (former) employer. My usual response is that it is not helpful to do so.  The media has its own agenda and what might seem like a good way of heaping pressure on an employer, can backfire. There’s always more than one side to every story and while it might be gratifying to see the Press door-stepping your former boss, I doubt it is as pleasant when it’s your own doorbell they’re pushing.

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