August 2017 Newsletter – Education Sector

It’s August and holiday season! However, the “summer slowdown” doesn’t mean that HR/Employment law news has stopped and maybe the following is good for some sun lounger (or rainy day) reading?! For those of you who are still reading we update you on potential new legal rights for parents to take bereavement leave on the loss of their child and the extension of time for the consultation on caste discrimination.

Our case update this month focuses on 1) disability discrimination and whether advantageous treatment can be unfavourable treatment as it could have been even more advantageous 2) whether a week’s pay should include employer pension contributions for calculation of compensation for claims under the Employment Rights Act 1996 and 3) confirmation that voluntary overtime, and other voluntary elements, can qualify as “normal remuneration” for the purposes of calculating holiday pay for the first four weeks of holiday provided by EU law.

What we’ve been doing in the Education sector recently…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that in August the sun shines and the work slows down. Right? “No point trying to arrange anything in August, there’s no-one around”. Well I’m never sure who these lucky people are who have long, lazy, work-free summers but if we at MLL HQ or our College HR colleagues were planning on having one, the Supreme Court had other ideas…

On 26 June 2017 the ruling that we had all been holding our breath for came in – the Supreme Court declared that Employment Tribunal fees were unlawful, sending a seismic shock across the HR and employment law world. And so it began. To say we were inundated with calls from current and soon-to-be clients regarding the claim forms that had begun to appear on their desks is no understatement. Organisations from across all sectors and industries are already feeling the impact of their employees now being able to pursue avenues of justice that since 2013 have not been available to them, except now they are 4 years unhappier than they might have been!

Tribunal fees were, at least in part, introduced with a view to reducing the numbers of spurious and/or vexatious claims and whether or not this was achieved is very much debateable. What is already becoming clear is that claims are now being made from employees and ex employees with relatively modest losses (in the low thousands of pounds). These sort of claims were not really being made while the Tribunal fees were in place. Fortunately, we’re adept at handling claims and as a Barrister-led firm we are ready and able to assist.

If you would like to talk through how your business might be affected or how you can minimise the risk or mitigate the impact of current or future claims then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Victoria Thorne
Practice Manager
email Victoria or call 0117 325 0922