Thu 04 Jul 2019

Employment law in the news - June 2019

In our regular slot we look at the key cases and other employment law issues that have made the news headlines over the past few weeks.

We start this month with news that we probably all knew - the mental health benefits of working one day a week are just as great as the benefits of working full time.  Unemployment is linked to poor mental health and just 8 hours a week is enough to see a benefit, and this benefit does not subsequently increase with longer working hours.  Another tick in the box of flexible working.

Flexible working is also something that has been offered to Metropolitan police officer recruits for the first time.  Recruits will be able to complete their training on a part time basis and then move immediately into a part time role.  It is thought to be the first force in the UK to be offering this option, which is aimed at breaking down barriers deterring women from joining.

Initiatives such as those being undertaken by the Met police could go someway to improving the UK's "family friendly"  ranking within Europe.  Researchers for Unicef ranked 31 countries in Europe on their length of paid family friendly leave and affordable quality childcare.  Only Cyprus, Greece and Switzerland were below the UK. 

Reassurance has been given by Amazon who have announced that they will always need human staff at their centres.  The company is talking about humans and machines working together, with machines being designed to extend human capability. This is against a background of the company deploying 200,000 robots at various locations.

The first raspberry picking robot has gone on trial in the UK.  Fruit picking is an area that has reportedly suffered from Brexit related shortages of seasonal workers, and the new robot will be able to pick more than 25,000 raspberries a day, outpacing human workers who only manage about 15,000 a day.

Appropriate attire for the office has hit the headlines again.  Thousands have signed a petition in Japan calling for the end of dress codes that require women to wear high heels in the workplace.  Similar campaigns have been successful - most notably in British Columbia in Canada who concluded high heel wearers face a risk of physical injury from slipping and falling as well as possible damage to feet, legs and back. 

Things may be looking up for workers with tattoos - Air New Zealand have dropped a ban on staff tattoos - not that surprising given the cultural link to tattoos for some New Zealanders with Maori heritage.  Closer to home and hot on the heels of their part time recruitment drive the Metropolitan Police are partially relaxing a ban on tattoos which will now be considered on a case by case basis. No doubt the extent to which other workplaces will open the door to people with tattoos will depend on factors such as the role and the size and style of tattoos, but it seems ruling out well qualified candidates because of body art may be starting to become a thing of the past.

And finally, new research has shown that the number of people still in work aged over 70 has doubled in the last decade. While there is a concern that for some it is a consequence of pensioner poverty, research has also highlighted the health and social benefits of working later in life.

Make an Enquiry

From our offices we serve the whole of Scotland, as well as clients around the world with interests in Scotland. Please complete the form below, and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

Morton Fraser MacRoberts LLP will use the information you provide to contact you about your inquiry. The information is confidential. For more information on our privacy practices please see our Privacy Notice