Employment Law Update – September 2022

The evolution and status of zero hours contracts

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development has published a report on zero hours contracts. 3.3% of employees reported that they were on zero hours contracts and 18% of employers made some use of zero hours contracts. Overall, zero hours contract workers were satisfied with their jobs and reported better wellbeing and work-life balance than other workers. There were however still issues reported in relation to lower hourly pay rates, one-sided flexibility and confusion over hours of work. 

DWP and the LSE initiative

The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a new initiative which is intended to help 2000 adults with learning disabilities and autism get into work. The DWP has pledged £7.6m to the Local Supported Employment initiative which will be used over the next three years. The grant will be used to support 24 local authorities in England and Wales. Each local authority area will help support between 60 and 140 adults enter and remain in the workforce.


Paid special leave and pre-conditions

The Fire Service in Scotland operated a special leave policy which had been agreed with the trade unions. The plan for applicants to use TOIL in the first instance and only when that was exhausted could a request for reasonable time off be made to deal with dependants and unforeseen matters or emergencies. In recent times the Fire Service needed to manage the effects of the pandemic in a workforce comprised of key workers. The Service has 8000 staff of whom 86% are male. The help with the effects of shielding and home schooling, the Service extended eligibility for special leave but required applicants to exhaust TOIL and annual leave before being able to apply. The Fire Brigades Union claimed that the revision to the policy was discriminatory because of sex and disability. The Union argued that those with disabilities and females had no choice about eligibility to work (by illness or childcare responsibilities) and were deprived of the right to be paid for TOIL and lost the right to elect when they could take annual leave. The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the new policy was not discriminatory. The pre-conditions to obtaining the benefit of paid special leave were not discriminatory. Those pre-conditions and the benefit itself could not be artificially separated. The conditions in terms of TOIL and annual leave did not detract from the clearly favourable policy of paid leave on an indefinite basis.

The information contained in the above article was correct at the time of publication. To ensure you are kept up to date with changes to employment law matters, click here to sign up to our dedicated employment database.

Learn more about Rebecca

All the articles above are written by our Partner & Head of Employment Rebecca Dennis. Rebecca’s professional background is unique in that she worked for more than 20 years as a barrister providing legal advice, drafting and advocacy for her clients and more recently provided specialist trouble-shooting services on employment law and employee relations at a leading international HR outsourcing company.

What Rebecca doesn’t know about Employment Law really isn’t worth knowing.

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