Two new sets of guidance have been published by ACAS in the last month. The first is guidance on Non-disclosure agreements ("NDAs") which is aimed at both employers and workers and aims to help them understand what NDAs are and how to prevent their misuse.
The second is advice on handling coronavirus at work. The guidance covers sick leave, staff in quarantine and considerations for businesses that may need to temporarily shut down, as well as basics such as thorough hand washing and using tissues when sneezing and coughing.
Following the employment tribunal decision in January which held that ethical veganism was a philosophical belief worthy of protection under the Equality Act, the Vegan Society has published guidance for employers on supporting vegans in the workplace. Whilst not all vegans will meet the test for protection under the Act, the guide does include sensible advice on considerate treatment of vegans.
Not a consultation, but the House of Lords launched their own inquiry into IR35 at the start of February. The inquiry called for submissions of written evidence by 25 February, and when published will focus on the experience of the new rules in the public sector as well as the impact of the new rules in the private sector and the effectiveness of the Check Employment Status for Tax tool.
Concurrent with the launch of the Good Work Plan in December 2018, the UK Government also launched a consultation seeking views on whether certain rules in the National Minimum Wage legislation relating to salary sacrifice schemes and salaried hours work were inadvertently penalising employers. The UK Government has now published its response to that consultation which confirm three substantive changes will be made to the NMW rules relating to salaried hours workers. These are:-
- Allowing salaried hours workers to be paid in additional equal instalments such as fortnightly or four-weekly;
- Providing employers with the discretion to choose a calculation year for their workers; and
- Allowing employers to make premium payments to their salaried hours workers in respect of basic hours, and to allow salaried hours workers' contracts to specify these premium pay arrangements. These payments will not form part of the workers remuneration for calculating NMW pay.
The UK Government also intends to improve NMW guidance, waive financial penalties for certain breaches of rules relating to salary sacrifice and pay deductions and resume the NMW Naming Scheme. They will also visit selected new small businesses to educate them on NMW right from the start and provide more support via a helpline for employers who operate deduction or salary sacrifice schemes.