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Hello!
Welcome to this months update.
We've been on our employment law update roadshow this month! There's plenty going on, so as a thank you to you our subscribers, we have recorded a short summary video of the top things to look out for this spring (video below!). I hope it's useful, but feel free to drop me a line with any questions or to book a bespoke update for your team.

This month we are also covering an interesting discrimination arising from disability case and we've got the latest on the pending sexual harassment legislation and the spring budget.

April was also Stress Awareness Month, and to support that we have put together a free Wellbeing at Work action plan that you can download below.

So...it's been a busy one! I hope you are looking forward to the upcoming Bank Holidays for a bit of R&R.

Enjoy the update and we'll see you in May.

Stephen
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New Case Law
We have recorded a short summary of the key cases included in our full spring 2023 employment law update. If you'd like to book a full update for your organisation, please contact us
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Communicating dismissal in ‘without prejudice’ correspondence 
You might think that it would be tricky for an employer to dismiss an employee without meaning to. A recent EAT decision highlights the importance of careful drafting when making offers of settlement to an employee.

How to judge whether misconduct ‘arises from a disability’
A recent EAT decision helps employers struggling with how to assess whether behaviour ‘arises in consequence of a disability’.  It makes it clear that distinctions can be drawn between behaviour arising from a disability and misconduct.

Less favourable treatment of part-time workers 
It is not easy to imagine that the grumblings of a group of judges about their pay and conditions could be of wider relevance to other employers, but the recent case of Ministry of Justice v Dodds is an exception.

A sensible limit on implied terms 
Credit Suisse have been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the last few weeks after financial woes led to a last-ditch merger with UBS. However, the Court of Appeal did deliver them some good news in the form of their judgment in the case of Benyatov v Credit Suisse (Securities) Europe Limited.

Mitigation of Loss in Unfair Dismissal cases 
Compensation for unfair dismissal normally includes loss of earnings flowing from the dismissal. When looking at this, Employment Tribunals will consider whether the employee has taken reasonable steps to mitigate their loss of earnings.

A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision provides a helpful reminder to employers of the test that Tribunals will apply.


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In the News

Spring 2023 Budget:
Get back to work! 
There was a definite theme running through the employment proposals announced in the Spring 2023 Budget: ‘Get back to work’!

Here's everything you need to know about the announcements.


Reflections on the 4 day working week trial 
Data from the UK’s large-scale 4 day working week trial was published in February 2023. The data emerged from a 6 month trial involving over 60 businesses of varying sizes across a wide-range of industries. Each business involved moved its employees to a 4 day working week whilst maintaining salaries at a 5 day level.

The headline results showed that 30% of the businesses who completed the trial intended to keep the arrangement permanently. There was some evidence that productivity and output increased. The trial had a positive impact on employee engagement. However, its impact varied widely from business to business. Participants in warehousing and manufacturing businesses struggled to keep up with demand. Customer-facing businesses (like call centres) also encountered issues with service levels with some needing to recruit additional headcount (at additional cost) to make sure that service levels did not drop.

The outcome of this trial indicates that, much like the shift to homeworking caused by the pandemic, a reduced working week is easier for some types of business to accommodate than others.


Proactively Preventing Harassment
The Government have announced plans for new sexual harassment legislation.

We have put together this quick reference guide for HR teams and employers which is designed to help you 'keep your finger on the pulse' of the legal changes afoot, as well as give you the tools and ideas to proactively prevent harassment in the workplace.


Rate increases 
The Government has announced the employment law rate changes that come into force in April 2023.

From 1 April 2023:
  • National Living Wage for workers aged 23 and over increased to £10.42 per hour
  • For workers aged 21-22 the rate increased to £10.18 per hour
  • For workers aged 18-20 the rate increased to £7.49 per hour
  • For workers aged 16-17 and those on apprenticeships the rate increased to £5.28 per hour

From 2 April 2023 Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay, Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay all rose to a maximum of £172.48 per week.

From 6 April 2023:
  • Statutory Sick Pay increases to £109.40 per week
  • A week’s pay for statutory redundancy pay (and basic award for unfair dismissal) purposes rises to a maximum of £643.

For Employment Tribunal claims for discrimination presented on or after 6 April 2023, the Vento bands which the ET uses to assess the level of compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination cases increase to:

  • a lower band of £1,100 to £11,200 (less serious cases);
  • a middle band of £11,200 to £33,700 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); and,
  • an upper band of £33,700 to £56,200 (the most serious cases), with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £56,200.
 
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Bonus Resources
Managing Stress in the Workplace: HR FAQ’s
April is Stress Awareness month, designed to bring to the fore the causes and cures for the modern day stress-epidemic.

Here are some of the common stress related questions we are asked by clients and the HR industry, and some practical steps you can take to help your employees suffering with stress.

Wellbeing at Work Action Plan
A free Wellbeing Action Plan to support conversations around positive mental health and wellbeing at work.

Employment Contracts: A Health Check
Employment contracts are the building blocks of the employment relationship. Often they aren't given the care or attention they deserve. Even if a full review of your contracts is a step too far, it is worth giving them a regular health check. Here are our tips for some key areas to focus on.

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