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Home / News and Insights / News / And finally a look forward to what’s happening in employment news for December 2017

Acas has published guidance for employers on how to support parents of premature or sick babies. This includes advice on the employee’s responsibilities, how to support parents following the birth, and returning to work. Recommendations include ensuring that employees are made aware of their statutory entitlements; handling communications with employees and their colleagues sensitively, and being flexible regarding requests for time off to be with the baby or for hospital appointments.

The Government has published details of provisions to be included in the Finance Bill 2018 which will abolish foreign service relief on termination payments for employees who have spent all or part of their service overseas, although the relief will still apply to seafarers. Currently foreign service relief allows qualifying employees who are UK resident in the tax year in which their employment is terminated to be completely or partially exempted from income tax on their termination payment. This exemption will no longer apply to employees whose contract is terminated on or after 6 April 2018.

The European Commission has announced that it intends to present legislative proposals to modernise the requirements for written employment contracts by the end of 2017, with the aim of ensuring legal clarity so that all workers are aware of their rights and therefore better able to enforce them. The current EU Written Statement Directive will be broadened to include new forms of employment such as on-demand and platform workers, and other atypical arrangements.

Building on the devolution of powers introduced in the Wales Act 2017, the First Minister for Wales has announced that a new Commission on Justice in Wales has been established to review the justice system and policing. At present, Wales has its own separate legislature, but does not have its own legal jurisdiction. The new Commission will therefore identify options to develop a distinct Welsh justice system in order to better represent Welsh needs.

The Office for National Statistics has published data covering the period April to June 2017 which indicates that the number of workers employed on zero hours contracts in their main job was 883,000, representing 2.8% of all those in employment. This is 20,000 lower than the number for April to June 2016. Around 6% of businesses make use of zero hours contracts, with administrative and support services, wholesale and retail being the main users. Workers on zero hours contracts are more likely to be young, female or in full-time education than those on other forms of employment contracts.

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