As part of keeping you in our focus, our executive people update ensures you’re on top of the latest changes in legislation, case law and people trends.
Equal pay claims
The Asda equal pay case has reached the Supreme Court to determine the legal question of whether warehouse and shop-floor roles are comparable for equal pay purposes. The decision has potentially far reaching consequences meaning you could have to review pay across your business (even across very different roles), to ensure you’re not at risk of an equal pay claim and the possible cost of six years’ worth of underpayments.
Judgement is expected to be delivered in the Autumn and we’ll provide you with the practical detail as soon as we have them.
End to shielding restrictions
From 1st August, individuals who are at significant risk if they contract coronavirus will no longer need to shield. They will still need to observe strict social distancing by minimising contact with others outside their household or support bubble. Provided your workplace is COVID-secure, shielding employees can return to work now if they can’t work from home. From 1st August even if they’re able to work from home you are able to ask them to return to a COVID-secure work environment.
Compulsory face coverings
From 24 July, it will be compulsory to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets. Fines can be issued for up to £100 for those who fail to do so. The new rule will not apply to retail staff, children under 11 or those with certain disabilities. If you’re asking your customers to wear face coverings should you be asking your employees to take the same approach?
Furlough and notice periods
Following some recent confusion around what the Job Retention Scheme can, and can’t, be used for, the government has now updated their guidance wording to make it clear that “you can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory or contractual notice period”. If employees made redundant are serving notice on furlough, you can secure a contribution towards their notice pay from the Job Retention Scheme. That is not the case however for statutory redundancy payments which cannot be recovered through the Scheme.
Supporting domestic abuse victims
During the national lockdown, Refuge, the largest charity providing support to domestic abuse victims, reported a 50% increase in calls to their helpline. The Domestic Abuse Bill is set to be debated in the House of Lords. Training on how to facilitate difficult conversations, a policy in place to explain abuse and its different forms, signposting employees to help available, providing flexibility for time off to seek support, and access to Employee Assistance Programmes are all valuable ways in which you can support employees who may be suffering abuse.