CIPD publishes update on flexible and hybrid working practices

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has published a report and accompanying case studies which consider the implications, challenges and benefits of hybrid and flexible working for organisations and their employees. The report looks at the types of flexible working arrangements being offered and show how this relates to job satisfaction, productivity, work-life balance, health and wellbeing, staff retention and recruitment, inclusion and diversity. It also considers how organisations should address potential challenges and risks to ensure they make a success of flexible and hybrid working in the future.

EHRC guidance on single-sex spaces

The Equality and Human Rights Commission ("EHRC") published guidance in April 2022 to help organisations that operate, or are looking to operate, separate or single sex services (or are looking to provide services separately or differently to each sex). It also covers the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 relating to gender reassignment which allow providers of separate or single-sex services to exclude, modify or limit access to trans people.

The EHRC clarifies that service providers can legally limit services to a single sex, as long as certain conditions are met. In short, service providers need to be able to demonstrate that they meet one of the statutory conditions for separate or single-sex services, and that doing so is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim in the circumstances. This includes balancing the impact on everyone of limiting services to a single sex. Examples of legitimate aims given in the guidance include reasons of privacy, decency, to prevent trauma or to ensure health and safety.

Service providers are encouraged to have in place relevant policies and document (and be prepared to explain) their decision-making process. They are reminded that, when taking decisions, it is important to treat all individuals with dignity and respect. Some organisations have described the guidance as creating confusion and there is no doubt that this can be sensitive area that may give rise to legal, practical and PR/brand risks.

Queen's speech – Employment Bill not in sight

More than two years on from the Employment Bill having been announced, we still have no idea when or whether the proposals contained within it will become law. Reference to the Bill was notably absent from the Queen's Speech on 10 May. Flexible working rights were set to be strengthened, protections for women facing redundancy during or shortly after pregnancy, as well as there having proposals to create a single enforcement body for vulnerable workers, alongside a right for workers to request a more stable working pattern. Commentators, including the TUC, have suggested that these rights risk being ditched for good.

Online reporting for UK employee share plans and share awards by 6 July 2022

Out tax team reports on actions to take for the 2021/2022 tax year if your business offers UK employee share plans, growth shares or share awards. The "to do" list and possible penalties can be found here.