1. Furlogh extended until 31st March 2021.

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as the furlough scheme) has been extended until the end of March 2021, delaying the start of the Job Support Scheme. Under the furlough scheme extension, the government will pay up to 80% of an employee’s normal pay, capped at £2,500 and employers will be responsible for NICs and pension contributions. Employees can also work part-time under flexible-furlough and receive a furlough grant for any hours not worked. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-extends-furlough-to-march-and-increases-self-employed-support

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  2. ‘Real living wage’ rises to £9.50 an hour.

    Over 250,000 people who work for an employer who has voluntarily signed up to the “real living wage” are set for a pay boost of 20p to £9.50 an hour.

    This is not to be confused with the compulsory National Living Wage, which is currently £8.72 an hour for anyone over the age of 25.

    Real living wage employers in London will pay £10.85 an hour, a 10p rise.

    The increase is designed to help workers and families through the pandemic. https://www.livingwage.org.uk/what-real-living-wage

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  3. 6th April: Parental bereavement leave and pay.

    The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 gives all employed parents the right to 2 weeks’ paid leave if their child aged under 18 dies, or if they have a stillbirth at 24 weeks or later.

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  4. Changes to Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment.

    At present, the right to a written statement of terms and conditions of employment applies only to employees, not workers. The written statement must be given to employees with at least one month of continuous service within two months of their start date.

    As of 6 April 2020, however, the following changes apply:

    • The right to a written statement of terms and conditions of employment will become a day-one right for employees and workers.
    • The right to a written statement is extended to workers. This means that casual and zero hours workers will have the right to a written statement of terms and conditions.
    • Employers will be required to issue written statements conforming to the new requirements only in relation to employees and workers who start work with them on or after 6 April 2020. However, pre-existing employees who joined before that date will still be able to request a statement and the employer must provide one that complies with the new requirements, within one month.
    • Employers will be required to provide additional information, not currently required, as set out below.

    Information Employers Will Have to Provide in the Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment

    By the start of employment, employers must provide the following information:

    • the names of the employer and employee or worker;
    • the date of commencement of employment;
    • where the statement is being given to an employee (rather than a worker), the date when continuous employment began;
    • the scale or rate of remuneration or the method of calculation;
    • the intervals at which remuneration is paid;
    • terms relating to hours of work including any provisions relating to normal hours, with a new requirement to include:
      • days of the week when the worker is required to work;
      • whether or not working hours or days may be varied and how the variation will be determined;
    • terms relating to holiday and accrued holiday pay including any entitlement to bank holidays and accrued holiday pay on termination of employment, in sufficient detail to enable precise calculation of the sums;
    • terms relating to sickness/injury and sick pay;
    • terms relating to any other paid leave (i.e. enhanced maternity leave);
    • terms relating to any other benefits provided (i.e. not just sickness, pension and holiday benefits);
    • length of notice to be given by employer and employee/worker;
    • job title or brief job description;
    • expected length of temporary employment or date on which fixed-term contract ends;
    • any probationary period, including conditions and its duration;
    • place of work. If there is no place of work, this must be indicated, and the address of the employer included;
    • where the employee or worker is to work abroad for more than one month, the terms relating to working abroad; and
    • training that the worker must complete, including training for which the employer will not bear the cost.

    Information Employers Will be Able to Provide in Instalments

    Employers will be able to provide information on these employment terms in instalments:

    • pensions schemes;
    • collective agreements, if any;
    • training that the employer will provide; and
    • details of disciplinary and grievance rules and procedures.

    If the employer does not provide a written statement, or the statement is incorrect, the employee can apply to an employment tribunal. Compensation for a successful claim is two (or in some cases four) weeks’ pay, subject to the statutory weekly cap.

    The contents of this Post are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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  5. What is Appreciative Inquiry (AI) i ask myself?

    Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an approach to organisational development that moves beyond mere process to constitute a whole new philosophy of vision creation and organisational change. It begins with the premise that the creation of a vision of the organisational future will best be realised by asking a wide cross-section of employees to recall their greatest moments whilst working within the organisation. Through appreciating and analysing their most fulfilling and successful experiences, and retelling these as stories in their own words, all employees can potentially contribute to a collaborative vision of the future.

    The Underlying Theory

    AI is based around the following assumptions:

    • Collaborative working is vital for any organisation seeking to create sustainable change.
    • Each employee will ‘read’ the organisation in a unique way.
    • All of these readings are equally valid and must be captured.
    • Traditional ways of gathering employee opinions are rigid and outmoded.
    • Vision creation is the most powerful force available to an organisation.
    • Organisations evolve in the direction of the questions they ask of themselves.
    • When you articulate a vision, you have already started down the road to change.
    • The organisation will ‘grow’ towards a collective vision of its own future, just as a plant grows towards the sun.

    Telling Stories

    In this way, the power to speak about the organisation, to create its story, is the power to create and shape its very structure and operations. Where the power of discourse is held by some and not by others, where senior management get to enforce their perceptions from the top down, the organisation will be slow to make real change. AI works by empowering the entire organisation, at all levels, to contribute to the story of the organisation, and so to shape its future in a collaborative way. By understanding organisations as a collection of interpretations, AI smashes the singular stories of change, opens out the wealth of individual employee stories at the heart of the organisation, and uses these to re-engineer the organisation in a collaborative way.

    The Appreciative Interview

    An AI initiative, in any organisation, begins when the organisation figures out what it wants, and needs, to see more of in the future. This initial stage determines the ultimate success of the process. By contrast with other change processes that identify the negative in reviews of the organisation’s past, AI asks the organisation to identify that which has occurred in its past that it would like to see repeated in the future. This forms part of an appreciative interviewing process, ideally taking in as many levels and functional areas of the organisation as possible.

    Within this process, the interviewers, who may themselves be employees, ask all participants to recall a time during their career at the organisation in which they felt most fulfilled, content, successful and alive. They also ask them to instances from the past that they would like to repeat, or multiply, in the future. In this way a ‘positive core’ of stories is drawn from the past, creating a patchwork of experiences in which the organisation has functioned at its very best. This core is used to identify the themes that are held to be most valuable throughout the organisation. Once identified, these themes can contribute to a vision of the ideal future organisation, a vision which can then be planned towards in detail. This is the basic sequence of the AI approach.

    In this way, the appreciative process begins not by creating a groundless vision of the future, but by drawing from the strengths of its pasts and its people to create a viable improved future in which every employee can have some personal investment. This variety of stories is valuable precisely because it embraces the equal value of all interpretations of the past.

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  6. October 2018 – Abolition of childcare vouchers delayed.

    The government has delayed its scrapping of the workplace childcare voucher system, due to close on 5 April 2018, by six months, following a vote in Parliament. The abolition is among changes to be made as part of the rollout of universal credit.

    The employer-backed vouchers are to be replaced by a new system of tax-free childcare, entitling families to claim up to £2,000 per child.

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  7. Forthcoming employment law legislation 2018.

    April 2018 – Gender pay gaps – first reports

    Private and voluntary sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees will be required to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women in their workforce, based on a pay bill ‘snapshot’ date of 5 April 2017, under the Equality Act 2010 (gender pay gap information) Regulations. The first reports must be published by 4 April 2018.

    25 May 2018 – General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

    The government has confirmed it will be implementing the GDPR, which applies to all EU Member States, even though the UK is leaving the EU (well, that the ‘plan’). The new rules give individuals

    • Easier access to their ow data
    • A ‘right to be forgotten’
    • A right to know when their data has been hacked

    The ICO has a range of information and resources on the new rules, including a 12-step guide.

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