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March 2017 Newsletter – Education sector

It’s March and in keeping with the spirit of Spring, we’re leaping forward into April to see what changes are in store for employers. We also step backwards to 2016 to recap on what is happening with Tribunal claims and statistics before reviewing the latest developments in respect of workplace dress codes following the news story of Nicola Thorp who was sent home for not wearing high heels.

Our case update this month focuses on flexible working arrangements and reorganisations, data protection and restrictions on non-compliance with subject access requests and discrimination on the basis of a perceived disability.

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

I am currently helping a number of our college clients who are all experiencing a similar problem – the long-term sick employee. It seems to me to be a problem that is particularly prevalent across the education sector and probably not unconnected with the enhanced sick pay regime available to most staff.  An enhanced sick pay scheme is a fantastic benefit and where serious illness strikes means that the employee does not have financial worries as well as health ones. However,  it is often the case that with an enhanced scheme there is often little incentive on the employee to try to return to work ‘before the sick pay runs out’ – particularly where the illness is stress-related.

With the right management and a robust Occupational Health practitioner on board, it is our experience, that many of these cases, can be moved along at a faster pace – either to get the staff member back to work (which is the ideal), or to a fair long-term absence dismissal. We are very happy to share our experiences in this area – please contact me to discuss.

Anne Marie Boyle
Senior Solicitor
email Anne-Marie or call 0117 325 0924


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