Employment Law Explained

Category Archives: Employment Policies

Sick as a Parrot

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What happens if you get sick while on annual leave?

This has been a thorny issue for some time.  If you’re away from the workplace having a well earned rest whilst enjoying our glorious summer weather (ahem) and you get struck down by illness, can you (effectively) take your holiday again when better?

 The answer is yes, after a recent preliminary ruling in the case of ANGED v FASGA by the European Court of Justice, concerning Article 7 (1) of Directive 2003/88/EC. Prior to this case it was already the law that you could take retake holiday if struck down by illness or an accident  before going on leave.  This case merely confirms that it does not matter when the employee becomes afflicted;

Beecroft and ERR …. (Part 1)

UK Employment law has been dominated by the issue of reform again, with the Beecroft report and then the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (ERR) being published shortly afterwards.  Vince Cable then shuffled back centre stage describing the Beecroft report as “bonkers”. In reply, Mr Beecroft, no doubt frothing at the mouth in frenzy, called Saint Vince a socialist. Aargh no! Not the “S” Word! Wash your mouth out Beecroft, let’s have none of that foul language here please.

I Turn, You Turn, We Intern

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What is an intern?  There is no legal definition that I’m aware of, but words like “skivvy”, exploitation, and, less pejoratively, work experience come to mind when discussing internships.

Although there are negative connotations, an internship can be a good way for a person post-graduation to overcome the hurdle of getting the first job without having any experience (and you can’t get that work experience without having a job). Graduate recruitment is as hard as it has ever been and anything that helps people get into work should be welcomed. But internships aren’t above criticism.  An internship usually involves working for no “proper” salary or getting paid expenses only.   However, an intern may be deemed to be a “worker” and thus be entitled to receive the minimum wage, and holiday pay. Some roles, such as students on a “sandwich” course doing a job lasting for less than  12 months during their first degree, or voluntary workers or apprenticeships are exempt from the NMW.

The ACAS Report on Workplaces and Social Networking

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ACAS recently published a research paper on the use of social media in the workplace, called “Workplaces and Social Networking: The implications for Employment Relations“, as well as some very useful guidelines on how to draft a social media policy.   It’s also about time that ACAS provided some guidance in what is becoming an increasingly difficult area.

Why Should Employers have a Social Media Policy?

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[This is the follow up piece to my article “Social Media in the Workplace” published on this blog last Saturday and, originally, in The Internet Newsletter for Lawyers/Law 2.0]

In my last article I wrote about the potential threats that face employers from the use by employees of social media and recommended that businesses have a social media policy.

To recap, the main threats to an employer from misuse of social media are;

  1. Reputational damage
  2. Breach of confidentiality
  3. Time wasting
  4. Liability to third parties
  5. Liability to other employees and to prospective employees.

Should the Government Cap Discrimination Awards?

The Independent reported yesterday that an “influential” group of City figures was urging the government to restrict compensation payments in discrimination cases to £50,000.  Currently such awards are unlimited in size, unlike in unfair dismissal cases where the compensatory award is (currently) capped at £68,400.  I have never understood the rationale behind one being restricted and not the other: why should unfair dismissal awards be capped and not those in discrimination cases? Or, conversely why shouldn’t unfair dismissal awards be uncapped?

It’s Snow Joke: My Boss Won’t Pay Me

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If you’re snowed in and can’t get to work, does your employer have to pay you?

Almost certainly not.  I did an interview for parentdish.co.uk on this very subject (click here).  Unless the employer is contractually obliged to pay (which would be unusual) if you can’t make it in to work because of the weather conditions, your employer doesn’t have to pay you.  The Lawyer today reported on one law firm taking a hard line on the issue.  As ever, much will depend on what the contract of employment says, but in my experience it is very unusual for contracts to say anything at all about this situation.

Employers Watch Out: It’s Office Party Time!

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There May be Trouble Ahead ...

Hooray! Christmas looms ever larger on the horizon and we even have some (slightly premature) snow to put us in the mood.  The annual season of eating, drinking, feeling sick and, yes, the Office Party, will soon be upon us. Employers could end up with a nasty hangover if they’re not careful.

I wonder if in these times of austerity there will be a temptation to party like it’s 1999? Maybe, and according to Personnel Today, employers could be placing themselves at risk by not putting in place a policy setting out what is acceptable behaviour at the Christmas party.

Has the Dust Settled on the Ash Cloud?

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It's the one in Iceland, I can't spell it either

Now that the drama of the election is over and the novelty of the Coalition government is fading and before the whole country shuts down for the World Cup, it’s time for a brief reminder of the event that brought Europe to a standstill, Kenyan flower growers to the brink of bankruptcy and led to people having extended holidays all over the world.  Yes: the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull  volcano (it’s only marginally easier to spell than to pronounce), which won’t quite go away (although The  Guardian reported on 23rd May that it may now be dormant) and which caused almost as much pain to news broadcasters as to those stranded in airport departure lounges.