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Employment Law Update

06 May 2015


The European Court of Justice has confirmed that employers aren’t under a duty to collectively consult in a redundancy process where ‘establishments’ have less than 20 employees.

The word ‘establishment’ refers to an individual workplace and not to the employer as a whole.  Woolworths was right to count each store as a separate ‘establishment’ and it did not need to collectively consult with staff who worked in a store with a headcount of less than 20.

Whether an individual workplace is an ‘establishment’ depends upon the facts and circumstances so full advice should always be taken.


A bus driver who was dismissed after testing positive in a saliva test for cocaine has been awarded an £84,000 pay out for unfair dismissal by an Employment Tribunal. The driver persuaded the tribunal that the positive drugs test resulted from him handling bank notes contaminated with cocaine, which were handed over by passengers. The employment tribunal was critical of the employer’s failure to investigate the explanations put forward by the driver and to take account of his own negative test results.


As of 5 April 2015:

  • The new system of shared parental leave became available to parents of children due to be born or placed for adoption on or after 5th April.   Mothers, fathers and adopters can now share leave within the first year.
  • Adopters no longer need 26 weeks’ service before being entitled to adoption leave. Joint adopters also have the right to attend adoption appointments together.
  • Employees can now take unpaid parental leave until their child’s 18th birthday.

New policies and procedures should be implemented.



The following increases will come into effect as of 1st October 2015:

  • The adult rate will increase to £6.70 per hour
  • The apprenticeship rate will increase to £3.30 per hour
  • The young workers rate will increase to £3.87 per hour
  • The youth development rate will increase to £5.30 per hour

If you have any concerns or would like to discuss anything employment-related, please contact Sarah Furness.

Email: Sarah.Furness@hay-kilner.co.uk
Call: 0191 232 8345