Our monthly employment law round up.
Largest trial of 4 day working week begins in UK
A four day working week trial being undertaken by 70 companies and around 3,300 workers has begun in the UK. The workers will receive 100% of wages but work only 80% of their usual hours. They must though commit to 100% productivity. The trial is being monitored by academics and Oxford and Cambridge Universities as well as Boston College.
75% of ethnic minority women experience racism at work
A report by the Runnymeade Trust and Fawcett Society has found that 75% of the 3,000 women from ethnic minority backgrounds surveyed for the report have experienced one or more forms of racism at work. 61% had made changes, such as to their language, hair or name, in order to "fit in" compared to 44% of white women.
Latest employment tribunal statistics show decrease in claims
The most recently published quarterly statistics show a decrease in both single and multiple claim receipts in Q4 2021/22 (Jan to Mar 2022) compared to Q4 2020/21. This is perhaps something of a surprise given Q4 2020/21 coincided with the second lockdown. However, single claim receipts decreased by 11% while multiple claim receipts reduced by 40%.
Ethical veganism not philosophical belief when it includes an obligation to break the law
Although ethical veganism has previously been found to be a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010, a similar case has failed to meet the tests set out in Grainger Plc v Nicholson. In Free Miles v The Royal Veterinary College the claimants belief included trespassing on private property and acting in contravention of the law in order to relieve animal suffering. The belief in unlawful actions could not be worthy of respect in a democratic society so could not amount to a philosophical belief worthy of protection under the Equality Act 2010.
Fit notes to be signed by "healthcare professionals"
From 1 July 2022, healthcare professionals - defined as including registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists as well as GPs - will be able to sign statements of fitness for work. It is hoped that the change will reduce GP workloads enabling them to see other patients more quickly.
UK charities call for "menstrual leave"
Following the approval by Spanish politicians of a draft bill allowing three days off a month for women suffering from severe period pain, charities including Endometriosis UK and Bloody Good Period have called for a similar leave in the UK. It remains to be seen if the law will be passed in Spain but other countries including Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Zambia offer menstrual leave albeit it is not always paid or in addition to sick leave.
Increase in menopause related tribunal claims
Analysis by Menopause Experts Group has found that the number of tribunal cases mentioning the menopause is on the increase. The Group is pushing for employers to provide training for their workforce in the symptoms, signs and side-effects of menopause, and to have a menopause policy or code of conduct.
First digital right to work check providers certified
In a previous update we highlighted that the Right to Work rules were being amended to allow employers to accept electronic checks carried out by approved providers. This will be beneficial for businesses with remote workers as it will remove the need to perform in person checks where the individual attends an office with their original passport or proof of their right to work. Electronic checks have technically been possible since 6 April 2022, but there were no approved providers until June 2022. The Home Office have now approved 3 providers for these electronic checks:
- Yoti and Post Office Easy ID
- Hooyu Limited
- Trust ID Limited
Further details of the providers can be found on the Home Office website, and businesses can continue to accept electronic copies of documents as proof of right to work under the COVID concessions until 30 September 2022. Any business with remote workers that are likely to need to rely on checks by the approved providers are encouraged to make contact with them now to begin to put the required processes in place. Should you have any questions about the new right to work rules, or your own existing processes, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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