Our monthly employment law round up.
SIX FIGURE COMPENSATION AWARD FOLLOWING EMPLOYER'S REFUSAL OF FLEXIBLE WORKING APPLICATION
An estate agent has been awarded £184,000 in compensation following her employer's refusal of her flexible working request. The claim was one of sex discrimination - for which there is no cap on compensation - and arose when the request to reduce her 5 days a week 9am to 6pm job to 4 days a week finishing at 5pm was refused. The employee resigned and then struggled to find alternative employment. The award included wage loss, pension contribution, interest and an injury to feelings award of £13,500. A timely reminder for employers to consider flexible working requests properly.
DEADLINE FOR REPORTING GENDER PAY GAP INFORMATION
The deadline date for the 2020/21 year for organisations required to report on their gender pay gap is 5 October 2021. The 2020/21 reporting year had snapshot dates of 31 March 2020 or 5 April 2020 depending on whether the organisation was public sector or a larger private company or voluntary organisation. As at mid-September, less than half of the employers required to report by the 5 October deadline had done so.
NEW HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE LEVY TO BE INTRODUCED
A new levy is to be introduced across the UK with the money raised to be ringfenced for heath and social care. A 1.25% levy will be added to Class 1 Primary and Secondary NICs for employers and employees with effect from April 2022. There will also be a 1.25% increase in Class 4 NICs for the self-employed. The levy is to be applied to both the main and higher rates. From April 2023, the levy will be formally separated out and will also apply to those working above the state pension age, meaning NIC levels will then return to their 2021/22 levels. Dividend tax rates will also rise by 1.25% from April 2022.
EQUALITY ACT 2010 MAY BE CHANGED TO INCLUDE MENOPAUSE DISCRIMINATION
Early responses to the ongoing inquiry into menopause in the workplace have reportedly indicated that menopausal women do not feel they have adequate legal protection under the Equality Act 2010. This is evidenced by many bringing claims relating to menopause as disability discrimination claims. This has prompted the chair of the enquiry to indicate that recommending changes to the Equality Act 2010 - to strengthen protection for menopausal women - cannot be ruled out.
FOUR DAY WEEK
A new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research has found, not surprisingly, that 80% of Scottish workers think they would prefer a four-day working week, without pay being reduced. The theory is to be tested in at least one trial by the Scottish Government. Recommendations from the report include that any pilot must include a variety of workers and employers including low paid and part-time work.
NEW TOOLKIT TO HELP EMPLOYERS WITH GENDER PAY GAP PUBLISHED
The Equality and Human Rights Commission in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute have published a toolkit to help employers tackle their gender pay gap. It contains case studies, "how to" guides and recommends actions for employers.