Can unused statutory annual holiday be carried forward to the next holiday year?

Workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ statutory holiday each year. This is made up of an entitlement to four weeks under reg.13 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833) and an additional 1.6 weeks under reg.13A. The four-week holiday entitlement under reg.13 (which derives from EU law) may not be carried forward into the next holiday year (although see below for different rules that apply as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis). The position with the additional 1.6 weeks’ holiday under reg.13A is different. Regulation 13A allows for…

If an employee resigns after disciplinary proceedings have started should the employer continue the procedure?

If the employee resigns with immediate effect, their employment will terminate. There is little point in continuing a disciplinary procedure in respect of an employee who is no longer employed, as no disciplinary sanction can be imposed against a former employee. However, the disciplinary information collated should still be retained for a period of up to one year after the employee’s resignation, because it may be needed as evidence should the employee subsequently try to claim constructive dismissal or unlawful discrimination in relation to the conduct of the disciplinary proceedings.…

Can an employee take annual leave while on long-term sickness absence?

An employee who is on long-term sickness absence may wish to book a period of annual leave in order to receive full pay for that period, for example if they have exhausted all entitlement to sick pay, or is receiving only statutory sick pay. The law does not prevent employees from taking annual leave while on sickness absence. It would usually be in an employer’s interests to agree to an employee’s request to take annual leave, to avoid them accruing significant amounts of leave while on sickness absence. If it…

Is long COVID a disability under the Equality Act 2010?

It is possible that long COVID could meet the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010, but this would depend on the circumstances in each case, and the impact that the condition has on the individual. Under the Act, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on an individual’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. A person does not need a formal diagnosis of a particular condition to fall within the definition, but they must be able…

Should we fight or settle a claim against us?

The cost to employers of defending an employment tribunal claim was highlighted when Times Higher Education reported that a university had spent more than £200,000 defending an unfair dismissal claim that could, it said, have been settled for much less. The case in question was Quigley v University of St Andrews EATS/0025/05 – a constructive dismissal claim that went as far as the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The case raises the question for employers: is it better to settle or to fight? And how much should they be prepared to spend…

March’s TOP 5 HR Questions

1.What should the employer do if an employee is reluctant to return to work as the coronavirus restrictions are lifted? Employers should recognise that many people will naturally be nervous about attending work and increasing their risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19). If an employee is reluctant to return to the workplace, the employer should explore their reasons and try to address any specific concerns they have, taking their individual circumstances into account. The Governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have continued to encourage employers to support employees to work…

What steps should an employer take where an employee is off sick for over a week but has not submitted a doctor’s certificate?

Most employers allow employees to self-certify their absence for the first seven days of sickness and require a doctor’s certificate now known as a fit note, only for longer absences. If an employee is absent without a fit note, where they been sick for more than seven days, the employer may be entitled to withhold either contractual sick pay or statutory sick pay (SSP), although there were temporary measures in place only until the 26th January 2022, due to the Covid Pandemic. On 17 December 2021, the Government introduced regulations…

Can an employer withdraw a job offer on receipt of a poor reference?

Yes, provided that the job offer is conditional on receipt of satisfactory references, the employer can withdraw the offer if it receives a poor reference, without this amounting to a breach of contract. Make sure that your offer letter includes the statement that your offer of employment is conditional upon the receipt of satisfactory references or any other requirements you may have such as the right to work in the UK, a satisfactory pre-employment health questionnaire, or a clean driving licence. An employer that receives a poor reference may wish…

January’s TOP 5 HR Questions

1.Can employers ask employees if they have had a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination? An employer that intends to ask employees if they have been vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) must be clear about its reasons for doing so. To comply with its data protection obligations, the company must ensure that it has a legal basis for processing such information and that it complies with the conditions for processing special category data (which means information relating to employees’ health) under the UK GDPR. The Information Commissioner’s Office has published guidance for organisations on…

What are the key HR topics that we should be focussing on as a business in 2022?

Understatement of the year award incoming, but 2020 and 2021 changed the way we work forever. But like most things in life, it’s how you deal with change that counts, and 2022 is certainly the year that your business will need to make its people a top priority if you want to avoid the mass resignations that are predicted. So, what are the key HR/People trends for 2022 going to be and how can you prepare for them?  If you want to get ahead of the curve, here’s the top…