Our monthly employment law round up.
Government response to menopause in the workplace report
The UK Government has published its response to the 2021 independent report on Menopause and the Workplace. As health is devolved, where the response refers to health services it applies to England only. The 2021 independent report made 10 recommendations. Amongst other steps, a Women's Health Ambassador for England has been appointed and will have a seat on the Menopause Taskforce, as will the Minister for Employment. The report also confirms that the Equality Act 2010 will not be amended to include menopause as a protected characteristic, or to implement combined discrimination.
Heatwave triggers request for maximum workplace temperature
The recent heatwave prompted unions to call on the UK Government to set a maximum workplace temperature. The TUC sought a requirement to stop work indoors at 30 degrees, while the GMB wanted the maximum indoor temperature to be 25 degrees. There are currently no legal limits on workplace temperatures.
ACAS publish new guidance on asking and answering questions about discrimination at work
New guidance has been published by ACAS to assist individuals who believe they have been discriminated against at work to ask questions of their employer in an attempt to resolve the situation. The guidance sets out the type of information that should be sent to the employer along with examples of questions that employees or workers may wish to ask. The same document also provides guidance for employers on how they should answer questions about a discrimination complaint.
UK Government backing Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill
The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill is another private members bill which is being backed by the UK Government. The Bill applies to parents of premature or sick babies who are admitted to hospital within the first 28 days of their lives, and who need to remain in hospital or another agreed care setting for at least 7 full days. Both parents will be entitled to take up to 12 weeks' leave. This is a distinct entitlement from maternity leave and/or paternity leave.
UK Government backs "Tipping Bill"
The UK Government has backed a private members bill that will ensure all tips go to workers. The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill will make it unlawful for businesses to hold back tips. A new statutory Code of Practice is to be developed to provide advice on fair distribution of tips and workers will also have a new right to request information about their employer's tipping practices.
Draft regulations extending ban on exclusivity clauses introduced
Following the announcement that the ban on exclusivity clauses will be extended to employment contracts of workers earning less that the lower earnings limit (currently £123 per week), draft regulations have been laid before Parliament. The Exclusivity Terms for Zero Hours Workers (Unenforceability and Redress) Regulations 2022 will make any contractual term prohibiting a worker from doing work or performing services under another contract (i.e for another employer), or which prohibits a worker from doing so without their employer's consent, unenforceable. Employees who breach an exclusivity clause will be protected from unfair dismissal (with no qualifying service requirement), while workers will be protected from detriment.
Survey shows 99% of fathers believe paternity rights are inadequate
A survey of parents entitled to paternity leave indicates that 80% of respondents believed that their employer didn't provide enough support for fathers in the workplace. Nearly half of respondents said they had or would consider changing jobs to access better paternity leave and pay. 10% were unable to afford to take statutory paternity leave, while another 32% who took ten days leave or less said they struggled financially as a result. Pregnantthenscrewed are lobbying the UK Government to offer all new parents a minimum of six weeks paid leave at 90% of their salary.
ACAS publish advice for employers on hybrid working
ACAS have published the results of a YouGov survey showing 60% of employers have seen an increase in hybrid working and 52% have seen an increase in staff working from home full-time compared to before the pandemic. Accompanying these statistics is advice from ACAS about these ways of working. This covers issues such as rules on maximum numbers of days that can be worked from home; how to ensure remote workers are not excluded either socially or from training or team building opportunities; ensuring employees can work safely at home and how to manage the work life balance in the home environment. More ACAS advice on home and hybrid working is available here.