The right to flexible working is to be extended to all those with 26 weeks’ service on 30 June 2014 according to current reports.
This change in the law brought about by the Children and Families Bill will also include an abolition of statutory procedures for dealing with the requests. Employers will be required to deal with the requests in a “reasonable” manner and notify employees of a final decision within three months....
ACAS has published a draft statutory Code of Practice to explain the meaning of “reasonable” in this context and provide clarity for businesses.
The Code provides the following advice to employers once they receive a request:
Currently only employees with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) or who are carers have the right to request a flexible work pattern.
It is thought that by extending this right to all employees, it may answer the calls for a better work/life balance and may even improve absence rates, however time will tell whether more employees take up this offer and whether businesses could cope with the demand.
Annual leave is a hot topic and employers need to know of the changes and new rules that case law has brought with it.
Further information will be available towards the end of the year, however employers should ensure that they are aware of the changes that have taken place so far. This includes commission being included in the calculation for holiday pay and that the Working Time Directive does not require the carrying over of the 1.6 weeks’ additional leave when absent due to sickness.
Read the full article on our blog and ensure that you keep checking the news items for up to date amendments to this area of employment law.
Annual leave has been a hot topic over the past couple of years with numerous cases being tested through the courts. The following are recent key cases that have helped to change the landscape surrounding annual leave:
Williams & Others v British Airways plc – This case concerns the Aviation Directive rather than the Working Time Directive but the principles are to apply to both. The latest decision in this case further to the Supreme Court referring a number of questions to the ECJ was that there was an entitlement to normal remuneration during statutory annual leave which is remuneration intrinsically linked to the performance of tasks which a worker is contractually required to perform....
Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd & Others – The Advocate General gave opinion on how the holiday pay of workers earning a basic salary and commission should be calculated. Further to the decision in the British Airways case, it was stated that remuneration during leave periods should be commensurate with pay during comparable periods of work earned over a representative period.
The latest development in this case is only given as opinion that commission should be included. As this is opinion, it is vague as to how it should be viewed or calculated, therefore we will have to wait until the end of the year for clarity on the subject but employers should bear this change in mind.
Neal v Freightliner Ltd – A Judge ruled that overtime pay must be included when calculating holiday pay under the Working Time Regulations. The Judge decided that wording should be included to exclude sections of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which state that the week’s pay provisions do not include periods of overtime. This case is not binding because it is a first instance case, however employers should consider taking paid overtime into account when calculating holiday pay.
Sood Enterprises Ltd v Healy – The EAT confirmed that the Working Time Directive does not require the carrying over of the 1.6 weeks’ additional leave where a worker is prevented from taking holiday due to long term sickness absence. A relevant agreement needs to be in place to provide for the remaining 1.6 weeks’ leave to be carried over.
Further information on this legal area should be available towards the end of this year, however Opsium believe that further case law could turn the whole subject of annual leave and pay on its head and that employers should be ready for it.
Health related issues have a massive impact on the economy with nearly 1 million workers absent from work for a month per year. The government has responded with an initiative to encourage workers back to work by introducing a new state funded health assessment and case management. It is hoped that the initiative will reduce ill-health costs by as much as £70million per year. To find out more please read our article here.
Nearly 1 million workers are absent from work for a month per year and around 300,000 people a year fall out of work and into the welfare system for longer because of health related issues. This has a massive financial impact on the economy and those individually affected.
It is generally thought that the longer a person is absent from work through sickness, the harder it is to get back to work, therefore the Government has responded with an initiative to get sick employees back to work faster.
The Health and Work Assessment and Advisory Service is due to be launched this Spring. It will introduce a new state funded health assessment of employees who have been off sick for more than one month and case manage employees with complex health issues to facilitate their return to work.
Under the new initiative, workers on long term sickness absence (which is classed as four weeks or more) could be referred for specialist support. Specialists will be on hand to support employees with non-compulsory medical assessments and suggestions for courses of treatment to speed their recovery.
It is hoped that the initiative will reduce ill-health costs for employers by as much as £70m a year, however it has received some criticism. The TUC’s head of health and safety notes that the service should be about providing support to workers to enable them to get better, rather than back to work. There was a cautionary note stating that the scheme could force employees back to work before they were well enough, which moves into the realms of presenteeism, which is in itself an economic problem.
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