Australia: Casting a Wide Net – Proposed Labour Hire Licensing Scheme in Queensland

The Queensland Parliament is currently considering significant changes to the labour hire industry by way of the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 (Qld) (Bill). The Bill, which was introduced and read for the first time on 25 May 2017:  

  • introduces a licensing scheme for labour hire providers (Providers); and
  • creates various offences relating to that scheme.

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Filed under Employment status (including agency workers, casual workers, use of contractors and 'dispatch' arrangements), Jurisdiction: Australia

UK: Gender Pay Gap – The government’s reporting website so far

Employers currently engaged in preparing their gender pay gap reports may be interested to view the gender pay gap data uploaded onto the government website so far – at the time of writing, twelve employers have done so. Only the six required metrics are displayed along with the name of the director who has signed off the information, and it is possible to display the data (and download it onto an excel spreadsheet) filtered by sector, making comparison easy.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Germany, Jurisdiction: UK, Remuneration (including bonus and incentive plans), Workplace culture, diversity and discrimination (including bullying and harassment)

UK: Dress codes – Governmental report on female office dress codes

At the end of April the government published its response to the House of Commons Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee joint report on dress codes in the workplace. It rejected any recommendations that would require legislative change, favouring an approach based on more detailed guidance and awareness campaigns. New guidance covering high heels, make-up, manicures, hair, hosiery, opacity of workwear, skirt length and low-fronted or unbuttoned tops will be published in summer 2017.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Workplace culture, diversity and discrimination (including bullying and harassment)

UK: Legislation – Employment law reform proposals during the Summer 2017 General Election

The main parties' manifestos for the general election all contained numerous proposed employment law reforms, the Conservatives promising "the greatest expansion in workers' rights by any Conservative government in history" while Labour included a 20 point "plan for security and equality at work" proposing radical changes to the rights of individuals and strengthening the position of unions. The political uncertainty resulting from the outcome of the election means that it is now unclear which, if any, of these proposals will see the light of day.  However, it may be helpful to those planning HR strategy to note the key areas featuring in all the main party manifestos, as these can perhaps be seen as the most likely to see change at some point.  They include:

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Filed under Employment status (including agency workers, casual workers, use of contractors and 'dispatch' arrangements), Industrial/workplace relations, collective bargaining, works councils, Jurisdiction: UK, Termination of employment, Working hours (including holiday, sick leave, overtime, rest breaks), Workplace culture, diversity and discrimination (including bullying and harassment)

UK: Disciplinary hearings- nominal damages for refusal of an unsuitable companion

Employers will welcome a tribunal decision that damages for failure to allow a chosen companion at a disciplinary hearing should be nominal where the companion was within the permitted statutory categories but unsuitable for other reasons.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Termination of employment

UK: Unfair dismissal – poor attitude towards organisational change could justify gross misconduct dismissal

The Court of Appeal has upheld a tribunal ruling that deliberate resistance by a manager asked to implement organisational change was gross misconduct. Given her senior position, the manager's failure to cooperate with, support or lead a change, on the grounds she disagreed with it, along with unprofessional behaviour at a meeting, were fair reason to dismiss. (Adeshina v St George's University Hospitals)

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Termination of employment

UK: Salary – Supreme Court rules on calculation of daily pay rate

Employers should set out in the employment contract how the daily rate of pay of an employee on an annual salary is to be calculated for various purposes, particularly if the employee does not have fixed regular hours and the employer wishes to apply a rate other than 1/365.

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Filed under Industrial/workplace relations, collective bargaining, works councils, Jurisdiction: UK, Remuneration (including bonus and incentive plans)

UK: Redundancy – EAT rules on selecting for a reduced number of roles

The EAT's decision in Green v London Borough of Barking & Dagenham highlights the need for employers to ensure they adopt a fair process on a restructuring, even when the situation is one of deletion of several roles and selection for new roles (rather than a simple reduction in roles by the application of objective criteria).

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Redundancy

UK: Redundancy – EAT rules on approach to suitable alternatives

Employers considering withholding a statutory redundancy payment, on the ground that they have offered a suitable alternative job which has been refused, should encourage employees to disclose any reasons they have for rejecting the alternative offered prior to a final decision. The onus is on the employer to show that (i) the alternative was suitable (in terms of the individual's skills and experience and the terms and conditions of the job), and (ii) the refusal was unreasonable, taking into account the employee's personal circumstances.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Redundancy

UK: Whistleblowing – new rules for UK branches of foreign banks and insurers

The FCA and PRA have recently published new rules on whistleblowing procedures for UK branches of foreign banks and insurers, which will apply from 7 September 2017. UK branches will need to ensure their staff are informed of the option of reporting to the regulators, and given access to the internal whistleblowing arrangements of any UK group company. Staff handbooks or policies will also need to be updated. See our briefing here for further details.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Whistleblowing