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Employment Law Blog - September round up


United Kingdom

Our Employment Law Blog tracks all the key employment law developments.

Our Employment Law Blog tracks all the key employment law developments. You can subscribe directly to our Employment Law Blog, so all the latest employment law news, opinions and developments go straight to your inbox.

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To give you a flavour of the content on our Employment Law Blog, here is a selection of this month's posts.

Maternity leave and surrogacy just when we thought we had some clarity…

Europe eh?! We recently blogged about the case of C.D. v S.T., a referral from the Newcastle Employment Tribunal in which Advocate General Kokott gave her opinion that a woman who has a child through a surrogate mother has the right to maternity leave under the Pregnant Workers Directive where she takes the child into her care following birth; surrogacy is permitted in the Member State concerned and its national requirements are satisfied. This was followed by another surrogacy case referred by the Irish Equality Tribunal, Z v A Government Department and the Board of Management of a Community School, in which Advocate General Wahl gave his opinion that the Pregnant Workers Directive should not be interpreted as allowing a woman who has a child through a surrogate mother to have the right to maternity leave.

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Seminar: Tackling employee fraud – 9 October

Tackling employee fraud can be particularly complex for employers, involving significant risk management. Disciplinary investigations need to be instigated, often involving suspension, the police and/or particular regulators may need to be informed, and steps taken to recover the proceeds of the fraud, including potential court proceedings against the employee and others involved in the fraud, and in appropriate cases, obtaining a freezing order. Depending on the nature of the fraud, external investigators may need to be appointed to assist with tracing and recovering assets.

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Changes to the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirement

The Government’s view is that if a person wishes to make the UK their permanent home and to become a British citizen it is reasonable to expect them to show, amongst other things, that they are committed to learning English and have an understanding of British history, culture and traditions.

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The Niqab – The Elephant in the Courtroom

A judge has ruled that a Muslim woman, who had refused to remove her niqab in court, can stand trial wearing a full-face veil, but must remove it to give evidence.

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Holiday pay – nominal sum is not enough

The recent judicial trend to adopt a purposive approach to the interpretation of the Working Time Regulations 1998 so as to give effect to the Working Time Directive is gathering pace.

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Employment Tribunal statistics – early signs of a decrease in single claims

The Ministry of Justice has published its Quarterly Tribunal Statistics for the period April to June 2013.  The report also included Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal statistics for 2012/13.

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The zero hours consultation

It’s ironic how many hours are being spent talking about zero-hours contracts!  In Vince Cable's speech to the Liberal Democrat annual conference he wrestled some of the initiative away from Ed Miliband by stating that he: “will act against abusive practices in zero hours contracts, like exclusivity arrangements which prevent workers seeking alternatives, even when they are given no work.”

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Government appealing Woolies decision

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has been granted leave to appeal against the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal to delete the words “at one establishment” from the collective redundancy test, which resulted in protective awards being made to former employees of Woolworths and Ethel Austin who worked in stores employing less than 20 staff.

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Third Party Harassment Protection – Repealed

It has been confirmed that the provisions in the Equality Act 2010 which make employers liable for the harassment of their employees by third parties over whom they may not have direct control, such as customers and clients, will be repealed with effect from 1 October 2013.

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Immigration Rules – changes on the horizon

On 6 September 2013, Mark Harper (the Minister of State for Immigration) laid before Parliament a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules. 

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Public equality duty review published

The Government Equalities Office has published a review of the Public Sector Equality Duty.  This duty affects all public bodies and private bodies carrying out public functions. 

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TUPE Consultation

The Government has published its response to the consultation on proposed reforms of TUPE (the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006).  The main headlines are that both the service provision change test of when TUPE applies and the employee liability information requirement are to be retained.

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New employment status comes into force

From Monday 1 September 2013, employers will be able to offer existing employees and new recruits “employee shareholder” status.

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