ACAS guide on mediation - ACAS has published a new guide on mediation as an effective way to avoid employment tribunals. http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2103 

Equality Public Services Agreement - The Government has published a summary document in which it sets out its key priorities for 2008-2011 and how it intends to deliver the Equality Public Services Agreement. Priorities include reducing the gender pay gap, improving choice and control for disabled people, reducing workplace discrimination and improving understanding of and ability to measure fair treatment in the delivery of public services. http://www.equalities.gov.uk/ publications/7877-TSO-PSA_Delivery_Plan.pdf

Health & Safety Executive updates Working Time Regulations guidance – this guidance takes account of various amendments to the Regulations including provisions relating to mobile workers and doctors in training. http://news.hse.gov.uk/2008/09/10/working-time-regulations-guidance/

BERR consultation on proposals to amend the European Works Council Directive – BERR seeks responses by 6 October 2008 on proposed amendments to the European Works Council Directive which aim to improve the extent to which employees are informed and consulted about company restructuring. The Commission's proposals include revisions to the definitions of 'information' and 'consultation' which aim to strengthen these rights. Views are sought on how EWCs relate to other employee information and consultation bodies. The European Commission hopes that political agreement on the revised directive will be reached by December 2008.

Tax: guidance on the practical effect of the Demibourne case. Tax paid by an individual through self-assessment may be set off against the employer's liability for PAYE income tax where the individual is subsequently found to be an employee. From 6 April 2008 new regulations (Income Tax (PAYE) (Amendment) Regulations 2008) extended the circumstances in which HMRC may make a direction to transfer an outstanding PAYE liability from an employer to an employee. HMRC has now issued guidance on the practical effect of this change which includes worked examples, information on VAT, interest and penalties:http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/employers/demibourne-case.pdf. Companies should ensure that consultants or other workers who provide services to the company undertake appropriate self-assessment of tax (or fall within one of the specified exemptions in the regulations) to ensure that sums paid can be set-off against any future PAYE liability of the employer should the individual subsequently be found to be an employee.

Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) launches an Agency Work Commission – this body aims to make "practical recommendations to Government" on the proposed Temporary Workers Directive, which has its second reading in the European Parliament next month. The Directive aims to give agency workers the same basic employment rights as permanent employees, but allows member states to set a qualifying period for this by agreement with social partners. http://www.rec.uk.com/press/news/378