Newsletter: January 2023

Welcome all to the January edition of the AdviserPlus newsletter.

In this month’s newsletter we will highlight some of the key legislative developments that are expected to take effect, or to have a lot of movement, within 2023. The trend at the moment is around creating a better work-life balance for employees and ensuring that employees are treated fairly in unexpected situations.

The legislation we will look at includes The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, and the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill.
We will also explore some recent case law, which is likely to have a lasting impact on reviewing redundancy selection where an employee is benefitting from private medical care through their employer. We will also look at Mr S Karim vs The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, a case of indirect discrimination around hearing loss.

Finally, there are some important key dates coming up in February that would be interesting and beneficial for businesses to explore, including Race Equality Week.

Legislative Developments

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill

A piece of legislation that is going through review in parliament is The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill. This would introduce new pay and leave entitlements for parents who have responsibility for caring for children who are receiving neonatal care.

In practice, this would apply to parents of babies who are admitted into hospital up to the age of 28 days and who have a continuous stay in the hospital of 7 days or more. The bill would entitle the parents to each take up to 12 weeks of paid leave – this would be on top of other paid leave such as maternity or paternity. The pay is likely to be set at a statutory limit, and it would be for companies to decide whether they would want to enhance this in any way. The idea of the bill is to firstly ensure that parents are given the appropriate time off to care for their children whilst receiving treatment but can also be added onto the end of a maternity or paternity leave period to acknowledge that the leave had been impacted by the child’s admission to hospital. There is currently no launch date for the legislation as of the most recent parliamentary update on 6th January 2023 – the bill is due to have its third reading on 3rd February 2023.

Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill

This piece of legislation is progressing through the House of Commons currently, and focuses on the allocation of tips in places such as restaurants and pubs. This bill would obligate an employer to ensure that tips, gratuities, and service charges paid by customers are allocated to the workers. Currently, cash tips legally belong to the employees, but there is no law on tips paid by debit card or credit card. This means that the employer could choose to keep these payments rather than distributing them throughout the workers. The government has suggested that around 80% of tips are now paid in this manner so it has become prudent for a ruling to be made as to whether they should be treated in the same manner as cash tips.

Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill

This bill is now in the report stage at the House of Commons and intends to extend protection for those who are at risk of redundancy. This will extend the protection to employees from the point they make their employer aware of their pregnancy, until six months after they return from maternity leave. Similar rights would also apply to parents who are returning from adoption or shared parental leave.

Recent Case Law

Widow of a dismissed cancer patient receives £1.7 million pay-out

Please be aware that there are sensitive details in this case.

Following the loss of private health insurance after Mr Mark Richards was made redundant, his widow was awarded £1.7 million after an employment tribunal ruled in their favour. The California based company Brocade (who had been taken over by Broadcom) was found to have unfairly dismissed Mr Richards via a redundancy process whilst he had renal cancer. The tribunal found that Mr Richards had attempted to remain in work for as long as possible whilst receiving medical treatment through the private health insurance, as he was unable to access treatment in a timely manner via the NHS. After the dismissal, which the tribunal found to be unfair and unreasonable, Mr Richards was unable to secure private health care and passed away after being unable to access the relevant treatment. Employers should consider the knock-on effects that redundancy can have on employee benefits such as private medical healthcare, and the way in which decisions are made when making people redundant – ensuring that all possible options are explored before dismissal.

Metropolitan police discriminated against an employee with hearing loss

A tribunal has found that the Metropolitan police did not put enough reasonable adjustments in place to support a trainee police constable with hearing loss, which eventually led to their dismissal. Mr Karim agreed to an Occupational Health referral, with the medical professionals finding him fully fit for operational duties and later also recommended adjustments be put in place such as good quality hearing aids. Whilst the Metropolitan police did look at options, the tribunal deemed not enough consideration was given to them, with evidence that the people involved had not been given any training in disability awareness. Mr Karim’s probation was extended numerous times before he was dismissed for underperforming, with the tribunal finding that Mr Karim had spent such a portion of time away from operational duties that he was placed at a substantial disadvantage when it came to performance evaluation. This case is another example of ensuring that a business has done what it reasonably can to support an employee with a disability, and that adequate training has been given to anyone supporting these decision-making processes.

Some key dates for your diaries.

  • Time to Talk Day – 2nd February
  • World Cancer Day – 4th February
  • Race Equality Week – 6th -12th February
  • World Day of Social Justice – 20th February
  • Eating Disorder Awareness Week – 27th February-5th March

Note: The above guidance was correct at the time of writing this article on 31/01/23. This does not constitute legal advice and is for information purposes only.
If you have any questions regarding the content of this newsletter or would like more information to support your business with the changes, please get in touch.

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