Merseyside football clubs lead the way in tackling low pay in sport

In the UK there are over 6 million people paid below a real ‘living wage’ – which effectively means that they are working but living in poverty. click here to read more…

Former local government worker prosecuted for sharing job applicants’ CVs with his partner

Kevin Bunsell was employed by Nuneaton and Bedworth District Council as head of building control in July 2017 when his partner applied for an administrative job there. click here to read more…

It’s official – Chocolate can increase workplace productivity!

With the time for giving Easter-eggs approaching, employers may be interested in the results of a study conducted by Bloom & Wild and London Metropolitan University. click here to read more…

Male and female business leaders found to be equally discriminating against female job applicants

New figures released by Worksome, the business to consultant matchmaking platform found there is no real difference between the attitudes of male and female business leaders when it comes to gender discrimination in the workplace. click here to read more…

National Gallery lecturers win claim for ‘worker’ status

A group of 27 art lecturers who lost their jobs at the National Gallery in October 2017 have won their legal fight to be recognised as workers, allowing them to claim certain employment benefits such as holiday pay. click here to read more…

Call for additional leave for parents with premature or sick babies

Currently, employees with a premature or sick baby are not legally entitled to any further leave in addition to their family leave allowances, so permitting this is left to the discretion of the employer. click here to read more…

Current criminal record check system “disproportionate” to applicants’ rights to privacy

The current criminal record checking process, which enables employers to receive certain disclosures from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before recruiting an employee in a particular position, has faced a number of legal challenges. click here to read more…

The implications of a no-deal Brexit for business travellers

Businesses whose staff travel to the EU should be making preparations for a no-deal Brexit, warns Dr Sybille Steiner, speaking to Personnel Today about what employers need to do to avoid difficulties travelling to Europe post Brexit. click here to read more…

 

 

Merseyside football clubs lead the way in tackling low pay in sport

In the UK there are over 6 million people paid below a real ‘living wage’ – which effectively means that they are working but living in poverty. Those who work in sports clubs and facilities – football, rugby, tennis and cricket – are disproportionately affected by low pay, according to a study by Citizens UK.  The research found that 42% of all employees working at sports clubs and facilities are paid below the real Living Wage. This compares with 20% of workers being paid under a real living wage nationally.

Citizens UK are, therefore, using the study to promote the importance of tackling low pay in sport and are urging others to follow the example of Liverpool and Everton football clubs, who are two out of only four Premier League Clubs who are already accredited Living Wage employers; the others being Chelsea and West Ham.

The living wage is set independently by the Living Wage Foundation and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers can choose to pay it on a voluntary basis, although there is no legal requirement to do so. The real Living Wage rates are higher than the national minimum wage because they are independently-calculated based on what people need to get by. The Foundation encourages all employers that can afford to do so to ensure their employees earn a wage that meets the costs of living, not just the government minimum.

For more information on the Living Wage you can visit: www.livingwage.org.uk/what-real-living-wage

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Former local government worker prosecuted for sharing job applicants’ CVs with his partner

Kevin Bunsell was employed by Nuneaton and Bedworth District Council as head of building control in July 2017 when his partner applied for an administrative job there.  He was prevented from involvement in the selection process because of his personal relationship.  However, he gained access to the local authority’s recruitment system and emailed details of nine shortlisted candidates to his own work email address and his partner’s Hotmail account, sharing names, addresses, telephone numbers and CVs for each candidate, as well as the contact details of their referees.

His partner had initially been successful in her application, but her employment was terminated once the data breach was discovered, as she had been appointed through an invalid recruitment process. Bunsell resigned when his actions were uncovered.

The Information Commissioner’s Office ICO) prosecuted Bunsell as forwarding the applications breached s55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. Appearing at Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court, he admitted the charge and was fined £660, on top of costs of £713.75 and a victim surcharge of £66.

Steve Eckersley, director of investigations at the ICO, said: “People who supply their personal information to an organisation in good faith, such as when applying for a job, have a legal right to expect it will be treated lawfully and ethically.

“Not respecting people’s legal right to privacy can have serious consequences, as this case demonstrates. Not only might you face a prosecution and fine, along with the attendant publicity, but you may also lose your job and severely damage your future career prospects.”

This case was dealt with under the Data Protection Act 1998 because the offence took place before the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018. Had it been prosecuted under GDPR, the consequences for Bunsell could have been far worse, as fines for such breaches are now unlimited.

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It’s official – Chocolate can increase workplace productivity!

With the time for giving Easter-eggs approaching, employers may be interested in the results of a study conducted by Bloom & Wild and London Metropolitan University, which reveals that receiving gifts can induce stress-reducing hormones, which increase staff productivity and efficiency, with gifts of chocolate found to have the biggest impact.

The research looked at levels of oxytocin, a hormone found in humans that is closely associated with social bonding and love and is usually more prevalent amongst individuals who are in a happy, loving relationship. A previous study conducted by the Social Market Foundation proved that employees who were happy had a 12% increase in productivity –so  the researchers decided to conduct an experiment to see if receiving gifts can induce this stress reducing hormone, hence boosting employee efficiency and morale at a chemical level.

The findings revealed that receiving gifts such as flowers or chocolate caused levels of oxytocin to rise significantly, perhaps proving that all employers need to do to increase employee productivity is buy them a thank you gift for all their hard work.

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Male and female business leaders found to be equally discriminating against female job applicants

New figures released by Worksome, the business to consultant matchmaking platform found there is no real difference between the attitudes of male and female business leaders when it comes to gender discrimination in the workplace. A quarter of male business leaders and 21% of female business leaders admit to rejecting female candidates for jobs who ‘appear’ to be of maternity age, even though they are the right person for the role.

The statistics further reveal the extent to which businesses are breaking employment law to discriminate against women. 44% of business leaders said they had passed up on female candidates who were not pregnant but were concerned they were likely to get pregnant in the future.

  • 23% said they rejected women even though they were the right candidate for the job
  • 21% said they had rejected female candidates because their business couldn’t handle the prospect of women coming in and out of maternity leave
  • An additional 8% admitted to openly asking female candidates if they plan to have any children in the future

Under current employment law, “It is against the law to treat someone less favourably than someone else because of a personal characteristic such as religion, sex, gender reassignment or age.” It is also illegal to ask candidates whether they “have children or plan to have children”.

Mathias Linnemann, CCO and co-founder of Worksome, said: “This research provides crucial insight into employer perspectives. We are disheartened to see that such outdated and inaccurate opinions are still held by business leaders in the UK. This behaviour is harmful to all women in the workforce: even those who may have no interest in ever having children are facing prejudice and discrimination due to their gender’.

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National Gallery lecturers win claim for ‘worker’ status

A group of 27 art lecturers who lost their jobs at the National Gallery in October 2017 have won their legal fight to be recognised as workers, allowing them to claim certain employment benefits such as holiday pay.

The group argued they were not given any paid holiday, sick pay, pensions or maternity and paternity pay, despite paying taxes through the organisation’s payroll as employees.  The gallery claimed they were freelancers and not entitled to any such rights. However, the lecturers had to conform to a strict set of rules and a “house style” when carrying out their work and were asked to contribute to initiatives within the education department.

The employment tribunal dismissed their claim for unfair dismissal, because they could not be classified as employees.  However, the ruling that they are ‘workers’ could pave the way for others in public sector organisations to challenge their employment status.

Rachel Collins, a lawyer at Stevens & Bolton says: “This case is ground-breaking as it establishes [a definition of] incorrect categorisation of employment status in the public sector. It could well be the first of many cases to do so.

“Up to this point, we have seen multiple challenges but limited to the private sector. The courts’ willingness to look beyond contractual documentation to make a finding of worker status has been established in recent high court cases, such as Pimlico Plumbers and Uber; however, yesterday’s judgment highlights that these issues are not isolated to the private sector and that it has a far wider ‘ripple’ effect.

“The ambiguity surrounding gig economy workers, as well as the courts’ increasing willingness to extend employment rights to those previously not considered to be eligible, has reared its head once again here. Its result: further uncertainty for employers when it comes to employment status,” she said.

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Call for additional leave for parents with premature or sick babies

Currently, employees with a premature or sick baby are not legally entitled to any further leave in addition to their family leave allowances, so permitting this is left to the discretion of the employer.

In research which surveyed over 700 parents who have been in this position, neo-natal charity, Bliss, found that whilst some employers were sympathetic and allowed for extended leave periods, others refused to. This led to 66% of fathers and partners questioned having to return to work whilst their baby was receiving neonatal care.  It is argued that, in such circumstances, where their baby is seriously ill, it is likely that parents will struggle to do their jobs, feel increased levels of stress and may take unplanned periods of time away, or as is the case with 1 in 10 of those surveyed, they may be forced to leave their jobs completely.

Not offering support in such situations could deprive an organisation of otherwise valued members of staff, as well as causing problems with overall staff morale. If a workforce does not feel they will be supported during difficult times in their lives, they are more likely to seek alternative employment. Although organisations do not currently have to provide extended leave to parents with premature or sick babies, they do have a legal duty to protect the health and wellbeing of their workers.  Employers should, therefore, consider whether further support can be offered, such as allowing for flexible working hours or enabling them to take a period of unpaid parental leave.

In these situations, organisations should also be ready to assist employees if they lose their child. Whilst the provision of paid parental bereavement leave is optional for now, it can help encourage the retention of the employee in an otherwise hugely difficult situation. From 2020, it will become a legal entitlement.

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Current criminal record check system “disproportionate” to applicants’ rights to privacy  

The current criminal record checking process, which enables employers to receive certain disclosures from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before recruiting an employee in a particular position, has faced a number of legal challenges; the main concern being that employment opportunities can be greatly hindered by the disclosure of a historic criminal conviction or charge. Although organisations are encouraged to make recruitment decisions based on the suitability of the individual, taking into account all the circumstances, there are those who are believed to use criminal record checks to easily filter through applicants.

The Supreme Court has now heard a challenge against the “multiple conviction rule” within the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the Police Act 1997. This rule means that a criminal record disclosure has to include details of all convictions where an individual has more than one conviction. The Supreme Court found this rule to be disproportionate, due to a failure to consider matters such as the type and number of offences, any similarities between offences, and any time periods separating offences. Although it was recognised that an organisation needs sufficient information to review an applicant’s propensity to offend, this blanket rule was not a necessary or proportionate method of achieving this.

A challenge against the disclosure of warnings provided to minors was also upheld. Although these warnings were aimed at deterring minors without having a negative impact on their future unless they re-offended, the disclosure of these on criminal record certificates meant that individuals were facing a potential detriment due to warnings for minor offences, such as shoplifting, received under the age of 18.

Following this judgment, the government will be required to review the current criminal record disclosure rules to ensure there is no breach to job applicants’ human rights.  Employers are advised to handle criminal record disclosures sensitively and appropriately. A blanket rule on requesting DBS checks should not be taken, with disclosures only being sought where required, or if appropriate for the job role in question. If a criminal conviction is revealed, the recruiting organisation is encouraged to discuss this with the job applicant, so that they can make an informed decision.

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 The implications of a no-deal Brexit for business travellers

Businesses whose staff travel to the EU should be making preparations for a no-deal Brexit, warns Dr Sybille Steiner, speaking to Personnel Today about what employers need to do to avoid difficulties travelling to Europe post Brexit.

1. Passports

British passports will continue to be valid until their expiry date, but if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, British passport holders will be treated as third-party nationals by the 26 countries in the Schengen area and will be subject to the Schengen borders code. This provides that passports must:

  • Have been issued within the past 10 years; and
  • Have at least six months’ validity remaining on the intended date of departure fromthe UK to countries in the Schengen area.

Business travellers, whose passports are due to expire within six months of 29 March 2019, need to renew their passports now to avoid being denied entry to the Schengen area countries.

UK passport holders will not be able to use the “fast track” queues for EU and EEA citizens either and may have to factor in extra time standing in queues before they can continue their journey.

2. Driving and insurance

Currently all UK drivers need to be able to drive in Europe is a valid UK driving licence, appropriate car insurance and any relevant equipment, such as warning triangles, reflective jackets and first aid kit etc.

If we leave without a deal, drivers taking their own car, or renting abroad are likely to need an International Driving Permit (IDP) and may need more than one if they travel to different EU countries. The UK issues three types of IDP to UK licence holders: the 1926 IDP, the 1949 IDP and the 1968 IDP.

From 28 March 2019, some countries will stop recognising the 1926 and 1949 IDPs and drivers may need a 1968 IDP to drive. This applies to most EU countries including Belgium, France, Germany and Portugal. However, drivers travelling to Spain, Cyprus, Iceland or Malta will need a 1949 IDP

With regard to insurance, in the event of a no deal, drivers of UK-registered vehicles will need to get a Green Card from their insurer to prove they have insurance cover when driving abroad.

If they have an accident, they are likely to have to bring a claim against the driver or their insurer in the country where the accident happened. This may involve bringing the claim in the local language.

3. Mobile phone roaming charges

Under EU law, all citizens have the right to surcharge-free roaming. This means that UK residents travelling in the EU don’t have to pay more for making calls, sending texts or using data than they are charged in the UK.

Mobile operators also have to apply a default financial limit for mobile data usage of €50 and notify travellers once their device reaches 80% and then 100% of the agreed data roaming limit.

If we leave without a deal, these protections will no longer apply and mobile operators can increase their roaming charges. According to the government, 3, EE, O2 and Vodafone have said they have no current plans to do so, but business travellers should check with their mobile operators.

4. Health insurance

Currently, UK travellers to the EU have the right to receive public healthcare free or at reduced cost in any EU country. They need to carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is available free of charge and covers pre-existing medical conditions as well as emergency care.

This means that individuals with chronic conditions, for example those who require daily dialysis, can travel knowing they will receive treatment on the same terms as the citizens of the country they are visiting.

The EHIC card may not be valid if we leave without a deal and the government has advised travellers to check what arrangements are in place in the country they are visiting. The government says it is “seeking arrangements” with countries on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after 29 March, but no agreements have been reached yet.

5. Visas
Currently, UK travellers don’t need a visa to travel to the EU and can move freely between EU countries with a valid passport.

After 29 March 2019, under reciprocal arrangements, UK citizens going to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) can travel without a visa.

However, this may change. From 2021, British passport holders wanting to work or stay in the EU for longer than three months are likely to have to apply in advance (and pay a fee) for the European Travel and Authorisation System.

British passport holders will have to fill out an online application and supply personal biometric data – for example name, gender, data of birth – passport or travel document information, EU member state of entry, background questions on an applicant’s health, criminal record as well as previous EU immigration history.

This information will be compared with a host of security databases before a decision is reached (although usually a decision will be madewithin minutes).

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This newsletter was curated by Nicole Squires, MA, Chartered MCIPD, an Executive Consultant at People Based Solutions.People Based Solutions is an HR support company that specialises in supporting small and medium sized businesses meet all of their HR commitments. If you want to know how People Based solutions can help you meet your HR and Employment Law obligations click here for your free HR Health Check. Alternatively, you can call us on 01925 425 857, send an e-mail to enquries@peoplebasedsolutions.co.uk or Click Here to visit our website.