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August 2012 Updates

Annual leave: "relaxation and leisure" not
"recovering from illness"

In the recent case of ANGED v FASGA and others, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") provided some helpful advice for employers and employees to bear in mind over the holiday season.

The ECJ emphasised the difference between paid annual leave ("a period of relaxation and leisure") and sick leave ("recovering from an illness"). This means that if an employee becomes ill during their annual leave, they must notify their employer. The employer must then "refund" or reallocate the annual leave. It's important to note that only the specific days that the employee is ill should be reallocated, not the whole period of leave.

In light of this, employers should consider updating their policies and procedures of relevance. Please contact us if you would like further assistance with this.

Disability discrimination case struck out for failure to
provide medical evidence

The Employment Appeal Tribunal ("EAT") recently considered striking out the case of GCHQ v Bacchus because the Claimant had failed to attend a medical appointment, which had been requested by the other party and subsequently ordered by the Tribunal.

The Claimant, who argued that he had been subject to disability discrimination, also failed to provide a medical report from an expert of his own.

The EAT issued an Order to the Claimant, stating that he must attend the appointment or his claim would be struck out.

This case highlights the importance of parties adhering to Tribunal orders; otherwise their proceedings are in danger of meeting a rather abrupt end.

A "Good Practice Guide" to combat hard times

ACAS, alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has recently published a "Good Practice Guide" in order to assist employers in managing redundancy processes affecting pregnant women or employees on maternity leave. The guide includes an overview of the current law, advice on how best to manage the process and a useful checklist for employers to follow.

This is likely to be a helpful tool for employers reluctantly facing the prospect of beginning the redundancy process. You can view the guide on the ACAS website at: www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3834.

If you would like some further advice on this topic, please contact us.

The Government helps small and medium sized enterprises
offer more apprenticeships

The Government has recently announced new measures in order to help small and medium sized enterprises ("SMEs") offer more apprenticeship opportunities. They plan to do this by:

  • Working with people who advise SMEs, such as lawyers and accountants, in the hope of promoting the apprenticeships.
  • Providing better information and increased availability of training for apprentices, and investigating how to give SMEs more control over the training process.
  • Agreeing standards for the provision of training to SMEs and the consequences for not meeting them.
  • Improving the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers ("AGE") scheme by revising eligibility restrictions, making it simpler to use and expanding access to the funding.

UK employment rate on a promising rise

According to recent figures published by the Office for National Statistics ("ONS") the UK's employment rate is at its highest since mid-2009, with 71% of 16 to 64 year olds in work.

Furthermore, there has been a rise of 0.4% in employment during the three months to the end of June 2012, with 201,000 more people in jobs than in the previous quarter. The total number of people in employment in the UK is now just under 30 million.

However, despite the significant increase in employment which has occurred over the past quarter, there are still 50,000 more people unemployed this year than in 2011.

Email: info@stewartlaw.co.uk


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