Employment Law

Holiday Pay: Could your business be at risk?

Managing leave for your staff is one thing, but have you also considered if you are paying workers correctly when they are on holiday? The rights surrounding annual leave and holiday pay have been in a state of flux for some years.

Recap: the law
In brief, the right to annual leave and associated pay is set out in the Working Time Directive, which derives from Europe. The UK implemented the Directive into the Working Time Regulations 1998 (“WTR”) which provide employees and/or workers with 5.6 weeks entitlement per year,

Dealing with mental health at work

Mental health awareness week was highlighted by the media in May. Poor mental health can affect every one of us to varying degrees and duration. The Department of Health considers that one in four of us will experience mental ill health at some point in our lives. Whilst dealing with mental health can be a sensitive area, it is important that as business owners, we do not shy away from dealing with it when it affects the people we work with.

Case law update: Pimlico Plumbers

Some of you keen gig economy followers may recall the case of Smith v Pimlico Plumbers which has been running through the courts for some years. On 20 March 2019 an employment tribunal decided that Mr Smith is not entitled to claim unpaid holiday pay to the tune of £74,000.

To recap the background to this case; Mr Smith was engaged as a ‘self employed’ plumber at Pimlico Plumbers for a number of years, before the engagement was terminated by Pimlico.

Action points for 2019

It is traditionally the time where we all like to make resolutions to make ourselves better people by the end of the year. What about your business? As business owners we should consider what arrangements we currently have in place and how we could make them (even) better over the year as well as what challenges our businesses might face over the next 12 months. Here are 4 key areas which should be reviewed this edition:

  1. Review your contracts of employment
    It is important to check that all of your employees have a signed contract of employment.

Employment law: defining harassment

Is calling someone a “fat, ginger pikey” harassment under the Equality Act 2010? No concluded the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a somewhat surprising decision.

In the case of Evans v Xactly, Mr Evans brought claims of discrimination and harassment on the grounds of his race and disability against his previous employer on the grounds that he had been called a “fat, ginger pikey” whilst at work. Mr Evans was employed as a sales representative at Xactly but was dismissed in under 12 months for failure to achieve his targets.

Key developments over the summer

Sleeping on the job
In the recent case of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake; Shannon v Rampersad the Court of Appeal considered whether care workers, who were contractually required to provide sleep in shifts as part of their work were entitled the national minimum wage (“NMW”) for these shifts.

The care workers were paid a fixed sum for the sleepover shift; Mrs Tomlinson-Blake was paid additional sums if called on during the night for more than an hour,

Legal challenge regarding ‘worker’ status

June saw two important decisions relating to the much litigated topic of employment status. Whilst both cases are very fact specific, they provide a timely summary of the issues that need to be assessed in determining whether your contractors are genuinely self employed or not.

Why is employment status important?
Under UK law we have 3 types of working relationships: employee, worker and self employed. There has been a great deal of litigation recently in this area.