117: And finally a look forward to what’s happening in employment news for September 2018
Acas has published two new guides for employers on overtime and suspensions. The guidance on overtime explains the different types of overtime and stresses the importance of including details of overtime requirements in contracts of employment. It also includes advice on the law relating to overtime pay and the limits on how much overtime can be worked. The guidance on suspensions covers the various circumstances in which suspension should be considered, whilst emphasising that it should not be used as a disciplinary sanction; the right to pay during suspension; and the various alternatives to suspension, such as a new role, changed hours, or working from home or under temporary supervision.
Under section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, employees are entitled to unpaid time off work in order to undertake various civic duties. The Time Off for Public Duties Order 2018 will extend the range of posts for which employers must allow time off to include four groups of volunteers in the criminal justice system: independent prison monitors in Scotland; lay observers who monitor conditions for prisoners under escort and in police custody; independent monitors in immigration and detention centres; and visiting committees who monitor conditions at immigration facilities in ports and airports. These changes will take effect from 1 October 2018.
The Trade Union (Facility Time Publication Requirements) Regulations 2017, which came into force on 1 April 2017, require specified public sector employers to report annually on paid facility time provided to trade union officials for union duties and activities. The report must include the number of employees who are relevant union officials; the percentage of the pay bill spent on facility time; and the time spent on paid trade union ‘activities’ (for which there is no statutory right to payment) as a percentage of total paid facility time. Information must be published on the centralised Government website by 31 July each year. On 2 June 2018, the Government published supporting guidance on the Regulations. This includes an explanation of the scope of the Regulations and facility time; how to calculate and present the required data; and the publication process.
The Government has published its response to the report of the Women and Equalities Committee on fathers and the workplace which was published in March 2018. The Committee’s report recommended that fathers be given improved rights to paternity leave and pay, shared paternal leave and flexible working. The response rejects most of the recommendations, at least for the time being. For example, the Government stated that it was unlikely to follow the Committee’s proposal to provide employed fathers with two weeks’ paternity leave as a day one right, or a right to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments. However, the Government will use the results of the 2018 Maternity and Paternity Rights Survey to reconsider paternity leave and pay, and whether paternity should be a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The Government also noted that a taskforce has been set up to examine whether all new jobs should be advertised as flexible by default, in advance of an evaluation of the right to request flexible working in 2019.