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Anna Byford

Anna Byford

Senior Associate
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The government’s hotly anticipated response to the Taylor Review into Modern Working Practices was released today and has been received with a general air of disappointment. The c.80 page document makes 53 recommendations, none of which...
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The Department for Work and Pensions has announced reforms to the pensions auto-enrolment regime, following a review of the existing system and the needs of individuals not currently benefitting from auto-enrolment. Under the current auto-enrolment...
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BBC’s China Editor, Carrie Gracie, resigned last night in response to what she called ‘unlawful pay discrimination’. In a letter to the BBC audience, which Ms Gracie published last night, she accused the BBC of breaking equality...
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Iceland continues to lead the way when it comes to gender pay equality. Under new legislation which came into effect on Monday 1 st January 2018, companies with more than 25 employees will need the government to certify their equal pay policies....
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The employment implications of this year’s Autumn budget are fairly light, however the government made it clear that it intends to enter into consultation next year which has the potential to impact the private sector’s approach to engaging...
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“Thank you for your email. I am out of the office through [date]. For anything urgent re Thrive Global please email [name and email]. Otherwise, please email me again when I return as this email will be deleted.” This is an out of...
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The Royal Mail has become the latest employer to sign up to the TUC’s voluntary ‘Dying to Work Charter’. Fifty other employers including Santander, EON, Legal and General and the Co-op have already signed the charter, which now...
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The British Chamber of Commerce interviewed 1,400 businesses across the UK as part of its annual workforce survey, the results of which were published today. 4 in 5 businesses reported that the cost of business had risen as a result of employment initiatives...
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A bill was introduced to the House of Commons this week which, if passed, will entitle parents who lose a child to statutory paid leave and allow them to grieve away from the workplace. No such right exists under the current law. The Employment Rights Act...
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Not necessarily but a recent employee happiness survey by recruitment firm Robert Half in collaboration with wellness expert Nick Marks explored the relative happiness levels of employees in different countries and found that workers in the US were the...
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The man leading the hotly anticipated Taylor Review into modern workplace practices, Matthew Taylor, has given some early indications of his views. Speaking to the Work and Pensions Select Committee on Wednesday, Mr Taylor said a new category of worker...
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Just one week after we reported on the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget to increase National Insurance levels for self-employed people, Philip Hammond has this morning dropped the planned tax rise. Following considerable criticism from...
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A number of compensation limits will increase from 6 April 2017 under the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2017. The key changes include: The upper compensation limit that Employment Tribunals can award for...
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There has been both good and bad news reported on the gender pay gap this morning. The think-tank, Resolution Foundation, compared the typical hourly pay between generations of men and women over the course of their careers. In its report published today,...
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Executive pay has come under scrutiny again today. On Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning the business secretary Greg Clark referred to the steep rise in executive pay by comparison to the average pay of remaining staff and the fact that executive...
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The Chancellor announced in his Autumn Statement today that tax advantages linked to Employee Shareholder Status will be abolished, in response to evidence those advantages are primarily being used for tax-planning purposes by high-earning individuals The...
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As part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today, it was announced that tax savings on salary sacrifice schemes will be stopped, with the exception of salary sacrifice arrangements regarding pensions, childcare, ultra-low emission cars and cycling to...
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The government has published its response to its July 2015 consultation on simplifying the tax and National Insurance treatment of termination payments , together with draft legislation which will change the way termination payments are taxed in the future...
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Two reports hit the headlines this week, painting a disheartening picture of working environments in the UK – particularly for women. On Wednesday the TUC published a survey in collaboration with the Everyday Sexism Project, in which over 50% of the...
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Further to our blog last Friday, Owen Smith has now officially published his workplace manifesto , setting out his pledges to improve workers’ rights in Britain. His sweeping plans seek to make some wholesale changes to the landscape of...
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A clause in Deliveroo’s contracts with its deliverers was exposed this week, which is designed to prevent its self-employed staff from bringing employment-related claims in the courts. The wording in question allegedly reads: “You further...
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Owen Smith gave a speech on Wednesday in which he promised ‘fair employment’ as a key pledge in his bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the labour party. Speaking from Orgreave, Yorkshire, once the site of a high profile confrontation...
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“ Regulation already in place will stay for the moment, but the flood of new regulation from Europe will be halted ”. The words of our new Secretary of State for Exiting the EU , David Davis, on his blog for the Conservative Home website...
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Acas published a report highlighting the tendency of company management to stereotype the merits (or otherwise) of different age groups. According to Acas , too many employers subscribe to the “ truism ” that “ younger...
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As the dust settles after the EU referendum decision announced on 24 June, we asked HR professionals who attended our seminar on 14 July how their employees and the market they operate in have reacted in the Brexit aftermath: More than 70% of respondents...
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Once you start noticing something for the first time, you spot it everywhere. In preparation for our next HR Forum on 29 June on tackling mental health issues in the workplace, I have noticed several reports all corroborating the fact that so many of our...
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A temporary receptionist working for outsourcing company Portico, claims that she was sent home without pay from a job at PwC last December when she refused to wear 2-4 inch heels in breach of Portico’s appearance guidelines. Ms Thorp said that she...
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Employers could be on the hook for employee fraud and money-laundering The Prime Minister has today unveiled plans to introduce new criminal offences for employers who fail to properly police their employees in relation to fraud and money-laundering...
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Following lengthy litigation, Unite Union reached a settlement with eight of the UK’s largest construction firms to compensate 265 workers who were named on a secret recruitment vetting system. The settlement figure reached today is understood to...
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The Trade Union Bill received royal assent on Wednesday to become the Trade Union Act 2016. With it comes: A required ballot turnout of at least 50% in order to commence lawful industrial action. An...
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“ This is one of the worst statistics we have ever looked at ” said Radio 4’s ‘More or Less’ producer Charlotte McDonald last week. ‘More or Less’, which investigates headline statistics, picked up on the highly...
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Starting one year ago today, parents of babies born or placed for adoption have been able to elect to share one year’s leave to care for the child (subject to various criteria being met and notices being served). Previously, fathers were able to...
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Just before Easter, the House of Lords Select Committee published the results of its review into how effective the Equality Act 2010 (the “EqA” ) is in helping disabled people in the UK ( ...
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Yes, according to today’s Equality and Human Rights Commission report . The report, which reviewed appointment practices at the FTSE 350 between 2012 – 2014, states that whilst progress at some of the UK’s biggest companies makes...
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George Osborne presented the government’s 2016 budget today. As part of a bundle of tax measures, it was announced that employers will be obliged to pay National Insurance contributions on termination payments above £30,000 from April 2018. The...
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Avid readers of our blog may remember our post back in January following the EAT hearing of a claim relating to childcare vouchers and discrimination.The EAT has now handed down its judgment… The EAT found that there was no discrimination where an...
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In the Mohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc case, the Supreme Court has held that the unprovoked and violent actions of a Morrisons’ employee against a customer were sufficiently connected to his employment with the...
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The EAT has upheld the original Tribunal ruling in the Lock v British Gas case, which held that British Gas should include commission in the calculation of Mr Lock’s holiday pay. The EAT decision follows a series of recent cases regarding holiday pay...
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Our latest survey at our HR Forum this month provided some interesting insights into HR Managers’ views when it comes to a couple of key changes affecting employers in the coming couple of years. Shared parental leave and grandparental leave You...
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The Government has today confirmed that gender pay gap reporting will be coming into force later this year, with employers required to report their first set of gender pay gap figures annually from 30 April 2017 – although they will have a further 12...
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Today is National Sickie Day, the day on which employees are most likely to call in sick from work. It is estimated that this day alone could cost businesses in the UK over £34 million and that 100 million days per year are lost to sick leave, a...
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The EAT last week heard an appeal against the lawfulness of suspending membership of childcare vouchers while the employee member is on maternity leave. The Appellant argued that her access to childcare vouchers should not be removed as a result of her...
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…is now the new name for the simplified fee remission scheme, which helps low income individuals with their court and tribunal fees. HMTCS has made changes designed to streamline the old remission scheme, which came into effect as of 28 October....
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115 companies, including Monsoon Accessorize, have become the latest employers named and shamed by the government for failing to pay their workers the national minimum wage. Monsoon Accessorize will have to reimburse 1,438 short-changed workers (a bill of...
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Individuals in the city are to be empowered to encourage more whistleblowing in banks and insurance firms. Dogged by banking scandals and a reputation for bad behaviour, big financial firms are to become subject to new rules on 7 September 2016 issued by the...
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Lidl is going to pay its staff more than the living wage from 1 October this year, at a cost of £9 million to the business. Over 9,000 Lidl staff will see their minimum wage increase from £7.30 to £8.20 per hour (outside London) and...
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I came across some interesting/alarming/encouraging (take your pick) statistics about our use of social media today. According to We Are Social’s ‘Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015’ report, 59% of the UK population have active social media...
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The government’s Enterprise Bill was published on 17 September and includes the following key employment related proposals: a cap of £95,000 on public sector exit payments; and an...
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In February 2011, Dame Carol Black, the government's national Director for Health and Work, and David Frost CBE, the Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce, were appointed to undertake a new review of sickness absence. Their resulting report...
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Last Wednesday the Citizens Advice Bureau published a report on “bogus self-employment”, by which it means individuals who are told that they are self-employed (contractors and freelancers) when the legal tests regarding employment status...
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It was fair to dismiss an employee because of comments he made on Facebook about conduct while he was on ‘standby’ (not working), even though that conduct took place years earlier, the EAT has held in British Waterways Board v Smith . Mr...
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The current front runner (depending on which paper you read) in the labour leadership race published a blueprint for his women’s manifesto this week, which also happens to touch on a number of employment law/HR goals. In the document, “ Working...
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New restrictions on industrial action ballots are being proposed. This is not unexpected, the proposal having been part of the Conservative manifesto to “restore confidence” in trade unions. The Bill itself hasn’t been published yet but a...
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Over 83,000 cases later and statistics have been released showing the impact of Early Conciliation (“ EC ”) in its first year. Of those cases, three out of four employees and employers agreed to engage in EC. In the 9 months between April 2014...
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Acas, as well as many other organisations and commentators, are concerned that the UK’s productivity levels lag behind our competitors. Acas for its part published a new report on Wednesday titled “ Building productivity in the UK ”, which...
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The rise of returnships was the focus of Women’s Hour on 8 April (at 7:53 minutes). The process is designed to allow professionals to enter into internships after a career break and thereby re-enter working life. Unsurprisingly, the uptake tends to...
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What happens to bills that are still in progress when a parliamentary session ends? A number of employment law changes were passed just before parliament dissolved on 26 March, however they remain ‘inactivate’. I am thinking of the Small...
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Yesterday, Labour published its work manifesto . Headline pledges include to: abolish the current employment tribunal fees system; create a quicker and cheaper tribunal system overall; ban zero-hours...
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Opinion Matters published its survey into attitudes towards SPL last month. The survey, commissioned by BIS, canvassed the opinion of 2,138 adults across the UK and shows a subtle change in attitude to previous findings. Interestingly: ...
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Jason Fried’s TEDx talk titled “why work doesn’t happen at work” offers an interesting perspective on the office environment. Companies spend millions ensuring that their working environment encourages the best and most...
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A gender pay gap undoubtedly exists in the UK (see our January post on the ONS’s findings here ).The most recent industry report commenting on gender inequality in the workplace comes from Tech Partnership, which published a report this...
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Seventy companies failing to pay their workers the national minimum wage (NMW) were published by the government on 24 February. Together, those companies owed workers over £157,000. The government began its policy of naming and shaming NMW offenders...
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E-cigarettes are a relatively new phenomenon but one such e-cigarette has recently formed the basis of a constructive dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal. Accent Catering applied its disciplinary policy to an employee seen using an e-cigarette in...
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With less than four months to go until the general election, David Cameron outlined a number of conservative promises to create a “Britain of full employment” during a recent speech in Ipswich. These included tripling the number of start-up loans...
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Sports Direct has agreed to a number of legally binding changes to its zero hours policies. After settling a case brought by a former zero-hours worker, Sports Direct will have to make clear in its job adverts, contracts and staff rooms that its zero hours...
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Susan Colantuono’s TEDx talk tackles the much publicised statistics about women in the workplace and asks not why we have so few female leaders in business but why so many women are stuck in middle management and what needs to be done to take them to...
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It’s no secret that HR is becoming increasingly outsourced and technology focused. Whilst this has many advantages, Kara Walsh, the SVP - Chief HR Officer for middle, central and eastern Europe at SAP, has voiced her concerns in an interview with HR...
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In the midst of news that Employment Tribunal claims are still falling following the introduction of Tribunal fees last year (see Virginia’s blog post on 11 September), Labour have announced that it plans to scrap the current system altogether if the...
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Startling news on equal pay made headlines today as it was reported that women will have to wait another 60 years for equal pay if the gender pay gap continues to close at its current rate. If the predictions are correct, then it will take a century...
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The World Health Organisation ranks obesity into three classes according to body mass index (BMI). A person with a BMI of over 40 is considered morbidly obese. The Advocate General was asked to give his opinion on an EU case involving a child-minder with a...
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On Wednesday the government responded to its call for evidence on whistleblowing and the message is a stern one. The response showed that whistleblowers feel exposed and unprotected once a disclosure has been made. Understandably, once a whistleblower has...
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In ten days’ time all employees with 26 weeks’ service will have the legal right to request flexible working. Whilst there are likely to be teething problems and the proposed new system is far from seamless, it is hoped that the new regime will...
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To date, most reports about the bring your own device (“BYOD”) ethos have predicted that the majority of employees would choose to use their own tablets, phones, computers etc. However Tech Republic has reported on recent findings from the...
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According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills CEO Michael Davis, companies are not using the right tools to reach young people. Speaking at the Westminster Employment Forum event on preparing young people for work on Wednesday, Davis said that a...
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Interesting new TED talk from Simon Sinek last week on what makes good leaders and how this impacts our working environments. According to Sinek, there’s nothing that we can do about “the ups and downs of the economy, the uncertainty of the...
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For everyone waiting to dash out of work and make the most of the bank holiday weekend, you may well have a point. According to the International Trade Union Confederation's Global Rights Index published this week, which ranks countries on how well they...
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If we weren’t sure before, we are now. Zero hours contracts are going to stay under the political spotlight. With 1.4million zero hours contracts in use in the UK, I can see why. First Ed Miliband unveiled plans to the shadow cabinet on 25...
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I watched an interesting webcast yesterday hosted by HR Magazine about the changing employer/employee dynamic. Gen Y (those born in the 1980s and 1990s) tends to divide opinion, some feel they are selfie-posting, social media-crazed and disloyal, whereas...
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It's an oldie but a goodie: Really interesting TED talk from Dan Pink examining the puzzle of what really motivates people, and surprisingly money isn’t top of the list! Not everybody agrees with Dan but I think his ideas are really interesting...
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How much encouragement can we take from the news regarding the number of women on boards of FTSE 100 companies? The figures released yesterday show that women now make up 20.7% of board positions of FTSE 100 companies, up from only 17.3% in April 2013....
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