Thu 27 Oct 2022

Employment Law Round Up - November 2022

Our monthly employment law round up.

Employers have a long way to go to support women going through menopause

A recent survey commissioned by ACAS has found that a third of employers felt they were either not that well equipped or not equipped at all to support women going through the menopause.  Another 21% said they did not know how well equipped they were.  When it came to confidence in managers having the necessary skills similar numbers were not very or not at all confident, with 17% not knowing.

On 12 October, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause published its report on the impacts of menopause and the case for policy reform.  Findings included that the current lack of guidance and legislation means many employers do not have the tools they need to ensure they can support menopausal women.  The report also found that menopause not being a protected characteristic and the fact that it is not currently possible to make claims based on combining protected characteristics (such as a sex and age discrimination claim) makes it easy for employers to overlook their obligations and difficult for those who face discrimination to obtain redress.

ICO opens consultation on draft guidance on monitoring at work

The Information Commissioner's Office ("ICO") has published its draft guidance on monitoring at work.  The draft guidance is subject to a consultation that will run until 11 January 2023.  This document is the first of the anticipated guidance on employment practices to be published.  It covers topics including the lawful basis for monitoring, transparency and fairness and accountability as well as specialist topics including covert monitoring.

Four day week may be a reality by 2032

A recent CIPD report on employer perspectives on the four-day week has shown that a third of respondents consider the four day week to be attainable for most workers within the next 10 years.  However, so far only a minority have moved to the four-day week without reducing pay, and only 1% of organisations surveyed plan to reduce hours without reducing pay in the next three years.  The majority of employers surveyed believed increased efficiency would be required for a four-day week with no reduction in pay, via either working smarter or boosting adoption of technology.  The CIPD have also published a report on Scottish employer perspectives on moving to a four day week.

New online service helping employers support disabled people

A new online service providing employers with the tools they need to encourage and empower disabled employees and those with health conditions has been launched.  Support with employee health and disability is aimed at smaller businesses and provides advice on how to manage staff with a disability or long-term health condition.

IR35 rule changes here to stay

In April 2021, changes were made to the rules on off payroll working which meant the organisation appointing a contractor through a personal service company became responsible for assessing whether IR35 applied.  This followed on from the same change being made in the public sector in 2017.  It was announced in the recent "mini budget" that this would be reversed in 2023.  However, following the appointment of Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor it was confirmed the reversal would not now happen - i.e. the organisation appointing the contractor will continue to be responsible for assessing whether IR35 applies. 

Bill imposing minimum service during transport strikes introduced to Parliament

The Transport Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill has been introduced to Parliament.  If passed, it will require a minimum level of service to be maintained in certain transport services during strikes.  It will also place an obligation on unions to take reasonable steps to ensure that those required to work to ensure the service requirement do not take part in the strike.  If unions fail to do so they will lose their immunity from liability for industrial action. It remains to be seen whether this eventually become law.

Only 25% of employees receive paid leave following pregnancy or baby loss

A new Survey Report published by the CIPD has found that just 25% of employees who have experienced pregnancy or baby loss received compassionate or other special leave from their employer, but 46% said such leave would have been beneficial.  Only 40% felt their manager showed understanding that it can be a challenging time.  In response the CIPD has confirmed it will publish practical guidance for employers to improve the support available to employees experiencing pregnancy loss (both male and female).  If eligibility criteria is met, employees may qualify for Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and Leave.

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