Search Results for: discrimination

Flexible working bill gains royal assent, but doubts remain

Flexible working bill gains royal assent, but doubts remain

Employees across the UK will be given even more flexibility over where and when they work, according to the government, as the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill receives Royal Assent

Employees across the UK will be given even more flexibility over where and when they work, according to the government, as the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill receives Royal Assent. Originally a 2019 manifesto commitment to encourage flexible working, and now a private members bill from Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, the Act will require employers to consider and discuss any requests made by their employee – who will have the right to two requests a year – within two months of a request, down from three.

However some employment law experts have highlighted some of the Act’s limitations. “It is absolutely crucial to bear in mind that this is still only a right to request – not a right to receive flexible working’, warns Hina Belitz, Partner and employment law specialist at Excello Law. “In that sense, in order to assess its efficacy and whether it will truly make a difference to the day-to-day lives of employees struggling with flexibility issues, we need further information and consideration on whether this will actually lead more people to get the flexibility they need.”Will we just see employers get better at finding clever and ostensibly fair ways to refuse these things? Will we see an increase in discrimination or similar claims linked to supposedly unfair refusals of flexible working requests? Potentially, which may prove a strain on our already full to bursting employment tribunal system.”

CIPD research shows that 6 percent of employees changed jobs last year specifically due to a lack of flexible options and 12 percent left their profession altogether due to a lack of flexibility within the sector. This represents almost 2 and 4 million workers respectively.

Workers will benefit from the following new protections once the Act is in force:

  • New requirements for employers to consult with the employee before rejecting their flexible working request.
  • Permission to make two statutory requests in any 12-month period (rather than the current one request).
  • Reduced waiting times for decisions to be made(within which an employer administers the statutory request) from three months to two months.
  • The removal of existing requirements that the employee must explain what effect, if any, the change applied for would have on the employer and how that effect might be dealt with.

Alongside the measures in the Bill, millions of workers will be given the right to request flexible working from day one of a new job. This will bring an estimated 2.2 million more employees in scope of the entitlement following a change in regulations.

The Government is also today launching a call for evidence on non-statutory flexible working to improve on knowledge of the extent of flexibility in the labour market. The aim is to increase understanding of the role of informal flexible working in meeting the needs of both employers and employees.

In response to this legislation, Acas will be updating its statutory Code of Practice following a consultation, which was launched on 12 July. The aim of the Code is to provide employers, employees and representatives with a clear explanation of the law on the statutory right to request flexible working, alongside good practice advice on handling requests in a reasonable manner.

Flexible working should be the norm for as many people as possibe

Flexible working should be the norm for as many people as possibe

The UK government has announced that all workers will now gain the right to request flexible working as a day one right – as to after 6 months of employment in the previous legislation. This move is a very welcome one, yet not enough to make flexible working a norm for all workers. To ensure that workers are truly able to access flexible working arrangements, we need to tackle the flexibility stigma still rampant in the UK. More →

Workplaces are plagued by classism, report claims

Workplaces are plagued by classism, report claims

Toffs and Toughs famous photo that illustrate class divide and classismA new poll claims to highlight the need to tackle classism at work, with 57 percent of employees witnessing discrimination or a lack of inclusivity in the last year alone. A third of UK employees say classism is active in their workplace, according to the 2022 Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace Report from Wildgoose. The report is based on a survey of employees from 133 UK workplaces. It asked if their workplace is an inclusive environment, what areas of diversity their organisation could improve upon, and whether they have experienced discrimination or inequality in the workplace. More →

One in four pregnant women reluctant to share news with employers

One in four pregnant women reluctant to share news with employers

An exasperated woman at a desk rests her head on her laptop to show how women, including pregnant women,  can feel let down by outdated attitudes More than one in four (26 percent) pregnant women feel reluctant to share their pregnancy news due to fear of the stigma they may face from colleagues and managers, according to a new poll from Culture Shift. This jumped to almost half (46 percent) for those who had been in employment for less than six months when they fell pregnant. The survey conducted among mothers who worked while pregnant reveals more than one in five (21 percent) know someone who has faced maternity discrimination at work, while one in eight (12 percent) have experienced it themselves. More than one in ten (11 percent) say it was their manager who discriminated against them. More →

What effect will the Employment Bill have on hybrid working?

What effect will the Employment Bill have on hybrid working?

hybrid workingThe long-awaited Employment Bill may be published later this year. The draft Bill, first introduced in the Queen’s speech in 2019, was put on hold and repeatedly delayed due to the impact of COVID-19. There is some confusion around what the change to flexible working will entail should the Employment Bill come into force. In the Queen’s speech, as set out in the Conservative’s manifesto earlier that year, it was announced that the proposal was to make flexible working the default position unless an employer had a ‘good reason’ not to allow it. This proposal would have been a radical change in favour of employees as flexible working would become an automatic right – thereby weakening an employer’s ability to push back on hybrid working requests. More →

Is the growing number of working mums a cause for celebration or concern?

Is the growing number of working mums a cause for celebration or concern?

working mumsWorking mothers are a resilient group, accustomed to juggling work responsibilities and family time with aplomb. Such was the conclusion in a report from McKinsey last year. But the day-to-day challenges they face can severely test that resilience. The proportion of working mums in the UK has just matched the highest ever recorded figure. In the three months to June, 75 per cent of women with dependent children were in employment, according to the Office for National Statistics. By comparison, 93 per cent of fathers were in employment during the same period. More →

A safe and healthy working environment is now a human right

A safe and healthy working environment is now a human right

healthy working environmentA landmark decision was made recently in the long history of efforts to protect people from injury and illness at work. At a hybrid conference held by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, for those attending in person, delegates voted in favour of a resolution to make the principle of a safe and healthy work environment a human right. That’s correct; we managed to reach the third decade of the 21st century without a safe workplace being a fundamental right of us all. More →

MPs call for Menopause Ambassador role to help women in the workplace

MPs call for Menopause Ambassador role to help women in the workplace

menopauseLack of support from employers for women with symptoms of the menopause is pushing ‘highly skilled and experienced’ women out of work, claims a new report from the cross-party House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee. The authors call on the Government to act, amending the Equality Act to introduce menopause as a protected characteristic, and to include a duty for employers to provide reasonable adjustments for menopausal employees. The MPs also urge the Government to remove dual prescription charges for oestrogen and progesterone as part of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) nationwide, replacing it with a single charge for all women. 

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Hybrid working now part of life at majority of organisations, but will it last?

Hybrid working now part of life at majority of organisations, but will it last?

hybrid workingA new poll from the CIPD suggests that more than three-quarters of organisations have  now embraced hybrid working through a mix of formal and informal arrangements. However, employers are split over whether the move to new ways of working will last or if organisations will go back to pre-pandemic ways of working. In response, the CIPD is urging employers to seize the moment to develop and embed new ways of working that will ultimately benefit organisations and their people. More →

How to manage flexible working requests (including turning them down)

How to manage flexible working requests (including turning them down)

flexible working requestsIf an employee makes a flexible working request, then employers should have principles and procedures in place setting out how these requests should be dealt with. Avoiding disputes in the workplace generally means adhering to three principles: clarity, consistency, and fairness. So, here’s a brief (non-exhaustive) guide to handling flexible working requests. More →

How to prepare your business for the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act

How to prepare your business for the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act

German supply chain lawGlobal supply chains are incredibly complex, crossing multiple countries and borders. This complexity brings many challenges for businesses, including managing overseas suppliers, maintaining the flow of goods, and navigating currency fluctuations. One of the biggest challenges is the growing number of supply chain laws that companies need to understand and meet. More →

Flexible working can lead people to work longer and harder, according to new book

Flexible working can lead people to work longer and harder, according to new book

flexible working and long hoursFlexible working has become the norm for many workers since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but it can actually lead many to work longer and harder, with work encroaching on family life. A new book by Professor Heejung Chung from the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research explores how workers’ wellbeing and gender equality may in fact be jeopardised by flexible work, rather than providing a better work-life balance. More →