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Shared parental leave

 

A Scottish employment tribunal has determined the compensation arising out of a discriminatory shared parental pay policy. In the case, the employee, a father, argued that Network Rail’s policy on shared parental leave and pay directly discriminated against men on the basis that mothers were entitled to enhanced shared parental pay while fathers were entitled only to the statutory level of pay. However, by the time of the tribunal hearing, Network Rail no longer denied the claim, leaving the tribunal to focus only on compensation. The tribunal awarded the employee approximately £23,000 including £6,000 injury to feelings and £16,129 for future loss, being the difference between statutory shared parental pay and what the employee would have received had he been entitled to the enhanced level of pay.

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Care workers and NMW

Seventeen care workers have recently submitted a claim in the ET against council contractor Sevacare for its failure to pay the national minimum wage. Since 2010 Sevacare have contracted with local authorities to provide services to 9,600 people across England per week.

Workers of Sevacare contend that because they were not paid for travelling between clients, their pay amounted to £3.27 per hour falling short of the current minimum wage of £7.20 per hour. Sevacare insist that its workers were paid £550 per week which in total, amounts to £7.85 per hour and exceeds the national minimum wage.

The HMRC has announced an investigation into the working practices of the largest care providers.

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Employers fail to grasp recruitment laws

The results of a survey undertaken by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), suggests employers are ill-informed of the current law on recruitment. According to the report, less than half of employers checked employees had the right to work in the UK prior to hiring them, while 9% of employers believed that foreign workers were not entitled to the same wage as British ones.

In light of the survey, the EHRC has vowed to send a report to businesses reminding them of their legal recruitment responsibilities. This news came to light in the same week that a company faced criticism for advertising for a personal assistant with a “classic look, brown long hair with B-C cup”.

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Asda faces equal pay claim

In a recent decision, an employment tribunal decided that a group of female retail store employees could compare themselves to a group of male distribution depot employees for the purposes of an equal pay claim.

It has been reported that the sums in issue in these proceedings could exceed £100m and that Asda is now considering its options for appealing this preliminary point.

The fact that equal pay claims can take many years to resolve begs the question whether either equal pay law and/or the system for dealing with claims is fit for purpose in the first place. 

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Fake sick notes

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has urged employers to remain vigilant due to the ease at which fake doctors’ notes can be obtained online. It stated that technology has resulted in criminals being able to easily draft fake prescriptions, certifications and NHS sick notes which can be used to defraud employers.

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More companies move away from zero hours contracts

With a combined total of over 40,000 workers on zero hours contracts, Suffolk brewer Greene King, pub franchise JD Wetherspoon and cinema chain Everyman cinema are the latest companies to provide its workers with the opportunity to switch from zero hours contracts to permanent contracts.

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Hermes faces a possible HMRC investigation for paying couriers less than minimum wage

HMRC are considering whether to investigate the working practices of delivery company Hermes in light of the recent allegations made by self-employed couriers that they were not being paid the national living wage.

As self-employed couriers, Hermes are not required by law to pay its couriers the national living wage. However, in light of their working practices (which included the compulsion for couriers to work during times of sickness and bereavements) the government has urged HMRC to investigate the employment status of couriers. 

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Finance companies promise gender parity in senior roles by 2021

72 financial institutions including HSBC, RBS and Santander, have signed up to the Government’s Women in Finance Charter, which aims to increase the number of women in senior financial roles through the introduction of flexible working schemes and the equal distribution of high-profile work. The companies have pledged to reduce the gender pay gap within the industry by 2021. Of the 72 institutions, 60 have committed to having at least 30% of women in senior roles by 2021, while 13 of the 60 companies have committed to achieve gender parity by the year. 

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Government set to miss £9.00 an hour National Living Wage forecast

The Resolution Foundation thinktank has published a report that suggests the government will fall short of its £9.00 an hour 2020 National Living Wage target. According to the report, Brexit will prevent this rate from being met. Instead, the thinktank estimates that Brexit will result in low-skilled workers losing 40p an hour in the next four years. 

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Working practices at Asos warehouse questioned

On 3 September 2016, a report was issued that questioned the working practices of an Asos distribution centre. According to the report workers at the factory are subject to frequent work searches and prolonged surveillance which has resulted in workers refusing to take sick days, holidays or toilet breaks in the fear of being dismissed. The report further suggests that workers are not being paid for overtime and are docked wages for arriving late to work.

The employer has dismissed the claims. However, in light of the allegations, the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, has vowed to investigate the matter at a later date. 

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