On 20 December 2018 the Filipino President Duterte signed off on the Telecommuting Act, Republic Act No. 11165 (the Act), which has been informally dubbed the “working from home act”. The Act allows private sector employees to work flexibly from home or any place outside the office with an internet connection, in an effort to increase employee productivity, performance, job satisfaction, and to resolve issues of long commutes to office workplaces.
Tag: flexible work
The deadline for the second year’s gender pay gap reports has now passed, with roughly the same number of employers as last year’s total meeting the deadline (and almost half of them doing so in the last week). Just over half of private companies have reported gaps that are higher or no lower than last year’s, which is unsurprising given that, even if employers have taken measures to narrow the gap, these are likely to take time to show results. However, commentators have used the lack of progress to urge the Government to make mandatory the publication of action plans to narrow the gap, a call that to date has been resisted by the Government (see here).
There is plenty of guidance available for employers looking for ways to try and improve their figures for next year. In addition to recommendations from the EHRC and a parliamentary select committee (see here), the Government Equalities Office recently published two sets of guidance, Eight ways to understand your gender pay gap and Four steps to developing a gender pay gap action plan, along with an action note and infographic summarising the evidence based actions employers can take to support women to progress, to help to close the gender pay gap and increase gender equality in the workplace. The Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group have also launched How to recruit women for the 21st Century (see here for further details) which, among other recommendations, calls on the government to commission or publish new guidance for employers on positive action.
Employers are not currently required to report on the ethnicity pay gap; a Government consultation on introducing such a duty closed at the end of January 2019 and its response is awaited. In the meantime, a number of large employers have signed up to a pledge to report voluntarily, organised by Involve, which has published a Framework for Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting to assist employers – available here.
Several important employment law reforms have come into force recently or will come into force shortly, both at the EU and French level. Below are some of the changes to expect for 2019:
With the second deadline for gender pay gap reports a month away, more guidance has been published (in addition to that covered here). The Government Equalities Office has published two sets of guidance, Eight ways to understand your gender pay gap and Four steps to developing a gender pay gap action plan, to help employers close their gender pay gaps. The first proposes a set of questions focussing on potential gender imbalance in recruitment, promotion or retention, starting salaries/other particular aspects of pay, or performance rating. It also suggests that employers ask whether there is sufficient support for part-time employees to progress, and whether both men and women with caring responsibilities are supported, stating that employers may wish to enhance pay for shared parental leave to encourage men to take it and to advertise all jobs as flexible by default. The second guide highlights the need for buy-in from senior people and the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders in developing an action plan, and emphasises the need for specific, time-bound targets and a named individual to drive the plan forward.
The Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group has also launched How to recruit women for the 21st Century, a new toolkit to support female progression in the workplace. Suggestions include the introduction of name-blind and context-blind applications, avoiding asking applicants about their current salary, and adopting a flexible working culture to improve the pipeline. It also calls on the government to commission or publish new guidance for employers on positive action.
The Labour Party has pointed to more flexible work as essential to close the gender pay gap, to facilitate working women and also encourage caring responsibilities to be spread more equally across the genders. Dawn Butler has stated that Labour would give employees the right to work flexibly from day one of a job (currently the right to request flexible work is available after 26 weeks) and create a presumption that work can be done flexibly which it would be for employers to rebut.
The Government has published the following new resources for employers:
- a standard form for employees to use when making a flexible working application under the amended statutory right to request flexible working that came into force on 30 June 2014
- short guidance for employers on the new shared parental leave regime coming into force for babies due from April 2015
- updated employers' guides on right to work checks and illegal working civil penalties
- DWP guidance for employers to assist with recruiting and supporting disabled people at work.
Please contact us if you would like a copy of our HSF client briefing on the new shared parental leave regime.
- The Court of Appeal has confirmed that neither EU nor UK law impose on an employer a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disablity to accommodate an employee’s need to care for a disabled dependent. The duty is owed only to disabled employees, not employees who are associated with someone with a disability. (Hainsworth v Ministry of Defence)
This ruling is relevant to requests to work flexibly. Of course employers receiving such requests need to avoid direct discrimination on grounds of association with a disabled person, and indeed other forms of direct discrimination. In some circumstances refusal might amount to indirect sex discrimination, and there will also be employee relations considerations. Our briefing on the new flexible work regime discusses these issues (see above).
- The EAT has ruled that employers are not under any duty to disabled employees to make reasonable adjustments by modifying trigger periods for warnings under a sickness absence policy. (Griffiths v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) Although this decision is helpful to employers, it should be treated with caution as it conflicts with another EAT ruling (HMRC v Whiteley). The EAT here appeared to conclude that there was no disadvantage because the policy was applied equally to non-disabled employees, failing to recognise the disadvantage arising from the higher level of absence associated with disability.
Employers will need to update their flexible work and family-related leave policies over the next few months, following the Children and Families Act 2014 receiving Royal Assent on 13 March 2014. Continue reading
Employer and trade union organisations in industries applying the SYNTEC collective bargaining agreement (including in particular a number of consultancy businesses and professional service firms in France) have now reached agreement on an amendment to the national collective bargaining agreement to permit the continued use of forfait jours arrangements. The agreement was signed on 1 April 2014. Continue reading