Annual uprating of compensation
The order uprating the upper limit on
various employment tribunal awards is now available. The
Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) (No. 2) Order 2002
(SI 2002/2927) takes effect on 1 February 2003 and will
bring the following changes into effect:
- the maximum on a week's pay for statutory
purposes, for example calculating the basic award for
unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay, will rise
from £250 to £260
- the limit on the compensatory award
for unfair dismissal will rise from £52,600 to £53,500
- the minimum basic award for certain
automatically unfair dismissals, including trade union
membership, health and safety and public interest disclosure,
will rise from £3,400 to £3,500
- the limit on amount of guarantee payment
payable to an employee in respect of any day will rise
from £17.00 to £17.30
- the minimum amount of compensation
that the EAT may award in relation to unlawful exclusion
from a trade union will rise from £5,600 to £5,700
The increases apply where the event giving
rise to the entitlement to compensation or other payments
occurred on or after 1st February 2003.
In accordance with the statutory formula
set out in S.34 Employment Relations Act 1999, the increases
made by this Order reflect the increase in the index from
September 2001 to September 2002.
The Statutory Instrument giving rise
to these changes may be found here http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2002/20022927.htm.
Confusion over TUPE and Profit
The case of MITIE Managed Services
Limited v French & Others (2002) has highlighted
the problem of transferring workers who had a contractual
right to participate in a company's profit sharing scheme.
In this case Mrs French lost her rights
to participate in her original employers profit sharing
scheme after her post was transferred to another employer.
Although the original Employment Tribunal
concluded that there was a contractual entitlement to
the scheme, the EAT dismissed this decision on the grounds
that the new employers had no control over, or the ability
to buy into the shares of the original employee's company.
This decision has now been appealed to the Court of Appeal
for further clarification.
Delay in Corporate Manslaughter
A new law introducing a corporate manslaughter
charge against employers for fatal work accidents has
been postponed following eleventh hour consultation. Employers
were concerned with crown immunity and the legal process
following an accident; under current wording, directors
could be dismissed before the case gets to court. However,
involuntary manslaughter legislation would have made it
easier to hold individual directors responsible for fatal
workplace incidents. The omission of this legislation
from the Queens Speech will mean that it will be delayed
until at least 2004.
Christian advertisement was objectively justified.
The recent EAT decision in Gallant v
Church of Scotland Board of Social Responsibility highlighted
that church organisations can have an objective justification
for including religious commitments within the wording
of a job advertisement.
In this case Mr Gallant, who is Jewish,
complained that he was being racially discriminated against
for a post in which the advert stated applicants needed
'a live church connection and a Christian commitment'.
This claim was rejected by the original tribunal and further
upheld by the EAT on the grounds that since the advertiser
was part of a Christian church and its aim was to provide
care according to a Christian ethos, this was a legitimate
objective. The EAT concluded that Human Rights Act points
raised on appeal, related to issues over which the tribunal
had no jurisdiction.
Working parents will, from 6th
April 2003, have a new right to apply for flexible working.
It is estimated that around 3.8 million parents will be
covered. The eligibility criteria includes having 6 months
service, parental responsibility for a child aged under
6, or for a disabled child aged under 18 and the application
must be for the purpose of caring for the child.
However, although there will be statutory
procedures for handling such a request, the employer has
eight statutory reasons for which a request can be denied.
This includes if the shift to flexible working will burden
the business with additional cost.
Although employees can complain to an ET,
it can only review the procedures applied by the employer
and not their decision to deny flexible working.
Health & Safety
Britons want more health and safety, not less
Safety is not getting enough attention
in Britain, but you might end up branded a troublemaker
if you say so, a new survey suggests. HSE says the first
ever health and safety module within the British Social
Attitudes Survey shows half of those questioned (49 per
cent) believe not enough attention is paid to health and
safety at work in Britain, with 42 per cent saying that
the amount of attention paid was about right and only 4
per cent saying it was too much.
More than one in eight (13 per cent) believed
that they would be seen as a troublemaker if they reported
a health and safety problem at work. Health and Safety Commissioner
Maureen Rooney, also a member the TUC General Council, said:
'The people who say Britain is a nanny state are out of
touch. People in Britain want their health and safety protected
by the HSE and by their trade unions. That means clearer
responsibilities for employers, clearer rights for workers
and safety reps, and tough action against people who break
We need more money for the HSE, more support
for safety reps and new laws on corporate killing.'
1 in 5 Bullied at Work
According to new research by Mercer Human
Resource Consulting, more than 1 in 5 employees have been
bullied at work in the past year. If this figure was applied
across the UK it would amount to 1.5 million workers. The
research also highlights that 24% of middle managers and
17% of senior managers said they had been bullied in the
past year. This raises concern that those managers who are
victims of bullying may be more likely to bully the staff
that they manage.
Equal Pay Gap Widens
The gap between men and women's wages has
widened for the first time since 1997.
According to the New Earnings Survey, women
who work full time earn just 81.2% of the average full time
male wage. They also show that part time female staff earn
the male full time average hourly wage,
compared to 58.7% in 2001.
Since 1999, there have been 1,910 inspections
regarding employers who fail to pay the minimum wage. This
has resulted in over £660,000 in wage arrears being recovered
for low paid workers in Scotland.
No new recruits for 50% of final salary pensions
More than half of all final salary pension
schemes are now closed to all members of staff, according
to research by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA).
The research found that employer contributions into final
salary schemes have increased by 14% in the past year while
contributions into occupational money purchase schemes are
not increasing to offset deteriorating investment returns.
A Scottish company has turned its staff
social room into a playground, complete with giant chess
board, golf course and PlayStation terminals.
Malcolm Bushell, who owns Ingenico Fortronic,
believes the playground will make his 170 staff work harder.
They can play golf on the six-hole putting green, or test
out a giant Scalextrix set, or just relax in the garden
with soothing fountains.
The facilities are part of a £1m investment
at the company which designs and develops electronic payment
terminals. However there could be some concerns about
the playground initiative.
Staff could develop some unhealthy rivalries
on the PlayStation and games of kiss chase could lead
to some messy employment tribunal claims.