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The Employment Team brings you an update

02 Oct 2018

Minimum Wage:
The Court of Appeal has now held that carers who sleep at a client’s home are not entitled to the minimum wage while they are asleep This decision, which overturns a previous Employment Appeal Tribunal decision, is good news for many employers. It was decided by the Court of Appeal that workers under this sort of arrangement will only be entitled to have sleep-in hours counted for minimum wage purposes where they are required to be awake for the purpose of working.

The rules surrounding the Minimum Wage are highly technical and the government has been increasing efforts to ensure compliance. For example during the year 2017/2018 the government identified a record £15.6 million of underpayments and 678 employers were identified in the government’s “naming and shaming” scheme. Please do not hesitate to contact us if advice is needed in this area.

Parental Leave:
Earlier this year the Women and Equalities Committee published a report which called on the government to make a number of improvements to fathers’ rights at work. The government has now responded and has not ruled out the recommendation of an additional 12-week paternal leave entitlement (which would replace the current shared parental leave system) nor the recommendation that “paternity” should be a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

The Government also anticipates introducing a right to 2 weeks’ bereavement leave for those employees who have lost a child. We are awaiting further details of how much remuneration will be payable during the leave.

In the meantime, in response to calls for all companies with over 250 employees to be required to publicly provide details of their parental leave and pay policies (alongside gender pay gap data), 10 large companies have voluntarily agreed to publish these details on their websites.

Sarah Hall

Tribunal Claims:
Tribunal statistics for the last quarter (April to June 2018) show that:

• the number of single claims lodged increased by 165% compared with the same quarter last year;
• there have been 12,400 fee refund payments made since the fee refund scheme was introduced, however 80% of tribunal refunds remain unpaid since Tribunal fees were abolished in July 2017.
• disability discrimination cases had the largest average award.

TUPE:
The European Court of Justice has recently decided that a 5 month break in activities did not necessarily prevent TUPE from applying. Each case is fact specific and the purpose, nature and length of the break will be relevant in determining whether or not TUPE applies. In this particular case a 5 month gap between the termination of a contract for a Spanish music school and the resuming of activities by a different contractor (using the same premises, instruments and resources, but with different staff) was not in itself sufficient to avoid a TUPE transfer

Some Good News!:
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that sickness absence is currently at the lowest rate since records began. Employees have taken an average of 4.1 days off in 2017, compared to 7.1 in 1993, the year records began.

For more information on any of the above, please contact our Employment Team, or call 0191 232 8345.