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News & Blog

Employment Law Newsletter – October 2011

Welcome to October’s edition of our employment law newsletter, keeping you up to date with forthcoming changes to legislation and case developments.

AGENCY WORKERS REGULATIONS

The Agency workers regulations came into force on 1st October 2011. For further guidance please click here to see our previous update.

NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES FOR OCTOBER 2011

From 1st October 2011, the minimum wage rates will increase as follows:

  • The standard (adult) rate (workers aged 21 and over) will rise to £6.08 per hour (from £5.93).
  • The development rate (workers aged between 18 and 20) will rise to £4.98 per hour (from £4.92).
  • The young workers rate (workers aged under 18 but above the compulsory school age who are not apprentices) will rise to £3.68 per hour (from £3.64).
  • The rate for certain apprentices (those under 19 years of age or those aged 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship) will rise to £2.60 per hour (from £2.50). All other apprentices will continue to receive the national minimum wage at the appropriate age rate.
  • The accommodation offset will rise to £4.73 per day from £4.61.

CASE DEVELOPMENTS IN SEPTEMBER

 

Highlights of recent court and tribunal decisions include the following:

Giving a reference when there are outstanding allegations

In Jackson v Liverpool City Council [2011], the Court of Appeal has held that a former employer had not been in breach of its duty of care when it provided a reference which referred to performance allegations against the former employee that had arisen after he had left but made it clear that they had not been investigated. Although the employee did not get the job as a result, the employer was not negligent as the reference was true, accurate and fair.

Employee unfairly dismissed for working in second job while on sick leave

In Perry v Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust the EAT has held that an employee on sick leave was unfairly dismissed for misconduct when she carried on with a second part-time job, for which she was still medically fit, without obtaining permission (as required by her contract) from the first employer.

Reasonable adjustments must help employee return to work

The EAT has held that it was not a reasonable adjustment for an employer to have to offer an employee who was on long term sick leave a career break. Neither was it a reasonable adjustment to require the employer to put forward a proposal for rehabilitative non-productive work that the employee could put to her GP in order to get signed back to work.

The case also confirms guidance given in an earlier EAT case that the reasonable adjustments duty only covers “substantive” adjustments rather than “procedural” steps such as consultations, investigations and trial periods, which do not in themselves alleviate the disadvantage.

Employee unfairly dismissed for making derogatory Facebook comments

An employment tribunal has held that the dismissal of an employee, for making derogatory comments about her workplace on Facebook, was not reasonable in all the circumstances and was therefore unfair. The comments were “relatively minor” and there was nothing to suggest that the employer’s relationship with a key client had been harmed or jeopardised as a result. The employer had failed to take into account the employee’s exemplary employment record and mitigating circumstances.

If you require any further clarification in relation to the above developments, or if you need any other assistance then please do not hesitate to contact our team of specialist employment solicitors on 0161 832 3304:

Shiva Shadi              Partner

Anna Bunting            Partner

Claire Smith             Associate Solicitor

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