Nova HR News
Shared Parental Leave
In 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled: there is no direct discrimination as a man on shared parental leave for childcare reasons is not in comparable circumstances to a birth mother on leave for health and safety purposes; men and women in the comparison pool were not placed at any particular disadvantage; the sex equality clause does not apply where there is special treatment relating to maternity. These decisions were upheld by the Supreme Court in February 2020.
Louise Keenan, associate at Clarks Legal, said: “This will be welcome news for employers as it means they do not need to amend their current policies to enhance shared parental leave to match that of maternity leave.”
Parental Bereavement Leave
The UK government has announced that April 2020 will see the implementation of new legislation providing two weeks of paid leave for working parents who suffer the loss of a child.
The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations, known as ‘Jacks Law’ in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother campaigned on the issue, will implement a right to at least two weeks’ leave if a working parent loses a child under the age of 18, or suffers a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. This policy will be applied irrespective of how long an individual has been employed by an organisation; parents employed in a job for six months or more will also be able to claim statutory pay for this period of leave.
The government has estimated that this new legislation will support approximately 10,000 parents each year.
Is Working From Home As Good As It Sounds?
Almost half (48%) of UK working parents say that working from home has actually increased their workload, according to research by Working Families and Bright Horizons.
The 2020 Modern Families Index, which surveyed more than 3,000 UK parents, also revealed that 44% check their emails or do other work in the evening; three-quarters (75%) of these do so because they feel like they have no choice in the matter. Almost a further three-fifths (58%) admitted to working extra, unpaid hours.
Almost half (47%) of working parents reported that technology has blurred the boundaries between work and home life, while only 25% said that technology has not affected their work-home boundaries.
The majority (72%) of parents who work outside of their contracted hours are more likely to report that they feel stressed, while 54% stated that this had led to arguments with their children, and 57% said it contributed to arguments with partners.
Denise Priest, director of employer partnerships at Bright Horizons, said: “The tide is slowly turning in favour of family-friendly workplaces. But many employers could do more to ensure they are retaining talent and minimising attrition. Stress and burnout are frequent dangers, especially as technology blurs the boundaries between home and work. Technology can be a wonderful enabler, but when it means employees don’t feel they can switch off in the evenings and weekends, inevitably family life suffers.”
Landmark Veganism Rule
In a major step forward in employment law, a tribunal has ruled that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief, meaning that an employee could rely upon veganism as one of the nine protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010.
We would suggest that all employers at this time ensure that they do not discriminate against employees for reasons of their beliefs. Employers also need to be aware that now veganism has been recognised as a philosophical belief, any abuse directed at an ethical vegan in the workplace might be deemed to be unlawful harassment, in the same way as a racist or sexist slur might be a discriminatory action.
All employers need to ensure they have full and comprehensive policies in relation to equal opportunities for employees. Businesses should also ensure they are fully training their staff in order to avoid any expensive and time-consuming tribunal claims,
Nova Search & Selection (Recruitment)
Expanding Our Client Base To Start-Ups
We are happy to announce that we are working closely with Start-up Companies, OceanSaver (www.ocean-saver.com), Manilife (www.mani-life.com), Shakeup Cosmetics (www.menwearshakeup.com) and ICBA/ARC, assisting them with their recruitment needs and HR advice, as required.
All of these companies are on their start-up journeys, and we are excited to be on that journey with each of them, supporting them every step of the way.
When we handle a recruitment assignment for Start-up companies, we appreciate the importance of this often being a first employee for the company, so we assist with providing templates for an Offer Letter, and Contract of Employment as part of our service. We don’t charge anything for this, as we understand that their time is limited, and this type of HR support is gratefully received.