Welcome to our first Newsletter of 2021. Sadly Lockdown 3.0 is not the start to the New Year we were all hoping for. Although we can’t offer any great solutions to the general gloom, we can at least help keep you up to date with HR/employment law news.
The Government has extended furlough again, this time until the end of April and, happily, will continue to fund 80% of wages. It has also given welcome clarification that employees with caring responsibilities can be furloughed; updated its guidance on working safely during the Coronavirus; and provided further guidance on employer’s Gender Pay Gap reporting responsibilities. We also update you on increases due to statutory rates in April.
In our first case update of 2021 we look at the EAT’s decisions on how far the law goes towards equal treatment for agency workers. We also consider the current absence of interim relief for employees bringing discrimination claims, which is probably unlawful.
The year has started with a flurry of furlough, gross misconduct, investigations, redundancy and exits advice. We’ve already won 2 employment tribunals on behalf of our clients, a pleasing start to the year, and we’re helping several businesses navigate the new business immigration rules which came into effect on 1 January.
At the time of writing, Anne-Marie is completing her accredited Workplace Mediation training. Mediation can significantly reduce the damage, costs and risks of workplace conflicts escalating. She would be keen to assist any organisation seeking to resolve a workplace issue. If you would like to discuss how she can help you, please get in touch:
The recent campaign ‘Brew Monday’ by the Samaritans caught our eye this month. Blue Monday is the third Monday in January and supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. This year, the number of adults suffering from depression has doubled thanks to the pandemic. The Samaritans want to encourage us to reach out to friends, family, colleagues for a virtual cuppa. We’ll drink to that!
Lastly, do tab down to our last Newsletter item where we bring you 5 good news stories from 2020 which you may have missed. We remain hopeful that 2021 will bring more of the same.
Here are all of the Government reforms and case updates we cover this month:
- Coronavirus (Covid-19): More furlough!
- Coronavirus (Covid-19): LOCKDOWN 3.0 – Government guidance
- Government reforms (1): Return of the Gender Pay Gap
- Government reforms (2): Increase in statutory rates
- Case update (1): Agency workers – Terms & conditions
- Case update (2): Discrimination – Interim relief
And finally, our nothing to do with employment law section
It’s often said that bad news sells. Well, we’ve had enough of bad news and we’re surely not alone. We’d like to share with you some of last year’s good news which may have got forgotten or simply passed you by. Lots of cause for celebration from these 5 items, we think:
- Germany is turning 62 disused military bases from the Cold War-era into wildlife sanctuaries, increasing by 25% Germany’s total area of protected wildlife. Germany has a great pedigree here; Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park was transformed from a former smelting works 30 years ago and now attracts c. 1 million visitors every year.
- Rome’s answer to overflowing waste bins was to create an initiative to allow metro travellers to swap empty plastic bottles for tickets. The City’s inhabitants get Euro 0.05 credit for each plastic bottle recycled. About 30 bottles gets you a free ride.
- Captain Sir Thomas Moore raised £33m for the NHS in 2020. RIP Captain Sir Tom.
- Kamal Singh from Delhi became the first Indian dancer to win a place at the prestigious English National Ballet. His achievement is all the more remarkable because he didn’t take his first ballet class until he was 17 (about 10 years after most professionals started lessons) and his family couldn’t afford to pay for lessons. However, Kamal’s exceptional talent was spotted and championed by his Argentinian dance teacher Fernando Aguilera. Crowdfunding did the rest.
- Marcus Rashford led a political campaign to combat child food poverty in the UK. His campaign forced the Government to U Turn on it’s refusal to fund free school meals. Rashford’s efforts and resilience saw over a million people sign a petition in favour of free school meals. As importantly, his work was the catalyst for dozens of communities and volunteers across the country to deliver food packages to families in need during school holidays.