Weekly Review of Developments 20/5/2022Posted in : Weekly Review of Developments on 20 May 2022
It's #InternationalHRDay! Check out the great FREE video we're gifting to you and the EXCLUSIVE eLearning discount in honour of the day!
This week's top 5:
- Police officer had Dolly Parton song whistled at him over his working hours
- Are Male Managers Blocking Gender Equality Efforts?
- 31st Fair Employment Monitoring Report Published
- Half of Older Women Will Need to Work Beyond Retirement Age
- CIPD's Labour Market Outlook: Spring 2022
And in other news we're hosting a NEW WEBINAR starting in June! Grab your lunch and join Ryan Calvert, Manager of HR Recruitment for UK and Ireland, as he discusses the key trends emerging in HR recruitment. Ryan serves up some digestible golden nuggets of information and guidance that will leave you feeling satiated and refreshed!
- Case Law Reviews
- International HR Day
- Half of Older Women Will Need to Work Beyond Retirement Age
- Government Evidence on Enforcement and Compliance of the NMW, 2021
- 31st Fair Employment Monitoring Report Published
- Are Male Managers Blocking Gender Equality Efforts?
- Reactions to Proposed Legislation on the NI Protocol
- Just in Case You Missed It...
- HR Developments
- Employment News in the Media
- South of the Border
- Friends of Legal Island
- Free Webinars This Month
- Weekend Weather and Thought-Provoking Video
Foat v Department for Work and Pensions  Case No: 2301877/2019
Issues Covered: Reasonable Adjustments; Mediation; Unfair Dismissal
The claimant commenced employment with the respondent in May 1999 as an administrative officer. He was then promoted to Executive Officer. The issue leading to this case was that the claimant has had a history of mental health problems since 2008. This includes anxiety and depression that has been quite severe at times.
This case involved a myriad of issues which were too voluminous to fully explore in this review. The interesting point that does arise is that the failure to offer workplace mediation led to it being disability discrimination considering it was seen as a reasonable adjustment. As an accredited mediator, I can see the benefits that arise from mediation especially within the workplace. Where such an option is available it must be taken into account in dealing with the disputes that may arise especially where there are quite complex inter-personal issues as arose in this case.
This case review was written by Jason Elliott BL. NI Tribunal decisions are available on the OITFET website:
If you have any queries or wish to comment on the reports please feel free to contact Jason at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Elliott was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2013 and is the Associate Head of School of Law at Ulster University. As a practising barrister, he has developed a largely civil practice representing individuals, companies and public bodies in litigation. This covers a wide range of areas including personal injuries, wills and employment law. In terms of employment law, he has represented both applicants and respondents in the Industrial Tribunal. At Ulster University, Jason lectures extensively on the civil areas of practise such as Equity and Trusts and delivers employment law lectures for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Remember: Our case law reviews are now held in our case law section on our fully-searchable employment law hub website:
Today (20th May 2022) marks #InternationalHRDay which recognises the work that HR professionals do in making a positive contribution for individuals and organisations. The theme for 2022 is about HR Reshaping the Future. In celebration of this we are delighted to offer our customers access to this fantastic recording from our recent HR Symposium in which Trayc Keevans, Global FDI Director of Morgan McKinly, global professional services recruitment consultancy.
In this riveting session Trayc analyses the reasons why people are moving employers and what it is they are seeking. In this way, Trayc argues, you can attract the best of this massive outwardly mobile talent pool and help shape workforce planning for the future.
In addition, to acknowledge the huge contribution our customers at Legal Island make to their organisations we are offering a massive 50% discount off our HR Toolkit e-learning programme. HR professionals are currently facing more challenges than at any other time in history. A global health crisis, a move to hybrid and remote ways of working, and an economic downturn are just a few of the issues keeping HR professionals busy. Legal Island has created an HR Toolkit that aims to provide comprehensive training to assist HR professionals in Northern Ireland, in supporting line managers and employees throughout the employee journey. The suite of courses will offer practical advice to assist you in updating your processes and procedures and help you understand your legal obligations.
To avail of this special offer please contact email@example.com quoting IntlHRDayoffer.
Half of women approaching retirement age believe they will have to continue working into their retirement, a poll has found, with the majority blaming career breaks for the shortfall.
The survey of 1,300 women over the age of 45, conducted by Working Wise, found 52 per cent did not believe their pensions would be enough for them to be financially independent in their retirement.
Nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of respondents said their reduced pension payments were likely to be a result of going part time or taking a career break earlier on in their working lives, with two-thirds (64 per cent) saying that at some point they chose to stop paying into their pension altogether because they either went part time or took time off work.
More from People Management:
While on the subject of workers, the CIPD has recently reported that there are.....
One Million More Disabled People in Work Than Five Years Ago
The government has met a target to get one million more disabled people into work by 2027 years ahead of schedule, although campaigners warn more needs be done to close the disability employment gap.
The latest labour market figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the number of disabled people in employment had increased by 1.3 million since 2017, when the 10-year target was set.
Between January and March this year, there were 4.8 million disabled people in employment, an increase of 460,000 on the previous year, while the disability employment gap – the difference in the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people – was 28.2 percentage points in the first quarter of 2022.
More from People Management:
This report looks at the government’s evidence and analysis on the enforcement of the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage. The evidence helps monitor, evaluate and review minimum wage enforcement and compliance. It also contains our response to the 2021 Low Pay Commission recommendations.
The evidence covers:
- estimated non-compliance with the minimum wage
- routes to HMRC enforcement
- enforcement and compliance operations
- enforcement and compliance statistics
Report and stats:
The 31st Fair Employment Monitoring Report has been published by the Equality Commission. Chief Commissioner, Geraldine McGahey, said: “Over the last three decades, Fair Employment legislation and monitoring have been fundamental to driving change and ensuring fair participation in our workplaces. Employers have clearly recognised their duties and responsibilities under the Fair Employment law.
“Northern Ireland and its workplaces are much more diverse places than ever before. The inequalities many people face are different now and we need to take account of new challenges.”
“Our experiences show that if something is not measured, it is unlikely to be changed. The Commission believes it is time for monitoring requirements to be extended to include nationality and ethnic origin. The new Assembly must take learnings from implementing the Fair Employment Monitoring Regulations over the past 30 years and apply them in today’s context.”
This year’s report shows that the total monitored workforce was 566,495, an increase of 1,669 (0.3%) over the previous year, despite the return rate for monitoring forms being somewhat affected by the pandemic.
Overall, 246,544 (44.3%) were Protestant, 244,516 (43.9%) Roman Catholic, and 65,435 (11.8%) were Non-Determined. The Non-Determined share increased by 0.8 percentage points (pp) from 2019 (11.0%).
When Non-Determined category not included, in 2020, Protestants [50.2%] continued to comprise the majority of the workforce. The Roman Catholic share of the monitored workforce increased by [0.3pp] to [49.8%].
Roman Catholics comprised more than half of job applicants [53.5%]. In 2020, the Roman Catholic share of applicants to the monitored workforce had increased by [8.7] from [44.8%] in 2001.
Roman Catholics represented [53.3%] of appointees to the monitored workforce in 2020. This continues a broad trend of increasing Roman Catholic appointees to the monitored workforce during the period 2001-2020. Overall, their share has increased by [8.5%] from [44.8%] in 2001.
For the sixth consecutive year, Roman Catholics [52.1%] comprised a greater share of leavers from the monitored workforce.
In 2020, women accounted for more than half (53.0%) of all monitored employees in Northern Ireland.
Ms McGahey concluded: “As always, we are very grateful to employers for putting in the work on their monitoring returns, especially in 2020, which was an unprecedented situation for us all.”
“Fair employment practices in our workplaces ultimately benefit us all. It’s often only once we’ve left school and gone to work that we meet and work with people who are from different backgrounds to ourselves.
By employers continuing to drive good practice and by continuing to monitor and evidence progress, Northern Ireland’s employers are doing society a significant service.”
Male managers are blocking efforts by businesses to improve gender equality, a study has suggested.
A poll of 1,149 UK managers, conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), found a third of male managers believed too much effort was being dedicated to improving gender balance in the workplace.
Just 13 per cent of female managers felt the same, while almost half (47 per cent) of female managers felt that too little effort was devoted to achieving gender balance.
More from People Management:
The Prime Minister set out his reasons for legislative change on the Protocol this week. See report on BBC:
Of course, from an employment law point of view, the Protocol is important because under the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement, the UK Government has committed, in Article 2 (1) (‘Article 2’) of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol, to ensuring that certain equality and human rights in Northern Ireland will continue to be protected after Brexit. Set out below is information on that commitment, the right of individuals to challenge an alleged breach of the UK Government’s commitment and how the Equality Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission can assist individuals who wish to make such a challenge.
It's fair to say that few organisations are in favour of breaking international law and the uncertainty that will bring.
NIC-ICTU said that, "The resolution to the current political impasse around the protocol cannot be a hard border on the island of Ireland."
The CBI said that, "Firms are already reeling from the rising cost of doing business. The last thing they want is further uncertainty in trading arrangements amid global supply chain challenges."
Although the Government's pledge was a good start, in the view of the DUP:
Seamus McGranaghan of O'Reilly Stewart answers your burning questions in the latest from 'Seamus says':
Are Employers Required to Make Provisions for Employees Breastfeeding at Work?
Probationary Dismissal - What is the Procedure?
How Should Employers Approach the Issue of Employees Returning to the Office?
D&I Summit 2022 - Top 10 Hot Takes
Sorry we missed you at the D&I Summit. We had over 700 registrants and the feedback so far has been absolutely incredible. Because you weren't able to attend the Summit live, our chairman Barry Phillips BEM, created a short 'Hot Takes' video to help highlight the key takeaways.
CIPD's Labour Market Outlook: Spring 2022
Recruitment intentions are above pre-pandemic levels and appear to be on an upward trajectory. Almost three-quarters (74%) of employers say they are planning to take on new staff in the next three months. But, as expected, recruitment difficulties remain, with 45% saying they have hard-to-fill vacancies.
The most popular response to hiring difficulties has been to raise pay (44%). But employers may be reaching a limit on how much further they can go on pay: only 27% anticipate raising pay in future to address hard-to-fill vacancies. Encouragingly, employers are also looking to other means to tackle staffing challenges: 39% have focused on upskilling more existing staff and 38% have advertised more jobs as flexible. These are vital factors in improving job quality and will be increasingly important for employers as they wrestle with recruitment as well as retention.
The CIPD's survey is, to a large extent, supported by the latest employment figures from the Office for National Statistics...
ONS Labour Market Overview, UK: May 2022
The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for January to March 2022 show that over the quarter there was a decrease in the unemployment rate, while the employment and inactivity rates increased.
The UK employment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter to 75.7% but is still below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels. The increase in the employment rate was driven by the movement of people aged 16 to 64 years from unemployment to employment. However, there was also a record-high movement of people from economic inactivity into employment. Total job-to-job moves also increased to a record high of 994,000, driven by resignations rather than dismissals, during the January to March 2022 period.
The most timely estimate of payrolled employees for April 2022 shows a monthly increase, up 121,000 on the revised March 2022, to a record 29.5 million.
Total actual weekly hours worked increased by 14.8 million hours to 1.04 billion hours in January to March 2022, compared with the previous quarter. However, this is still 10.7 million below pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. Average actually weekly hours worked are similar to averages before the coronavirus pandemic, with the average hours worked by part-time workers at a record high (16.8 hours per week). Consequently, the shortfall in total hours is down to the reduced numbers in employment.
The unemployment rate for January to March 2022 decreased by 0.3 percentage points on the quarter to 3.7%. For the first time since records began, there are fewer unemployed people than job vacancies.
The economic inactivity rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 21.4% in January to March 2022. Recent increases in economic inactivity have been driven by those aged 50 to 64 years.
The number of job vacancies in February to April 2022 rose to a new record of 1,295,000. However, the rate of growth in vacancies continued to slow down.
Growth in employees' average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.0% and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 4.2% in January to March 2022. In real terms (adjusted for inflation), growth in total pay was 1.4% and regular pay fell on the year at negative 1.2%; strong bonus payments have kept recent real total pay growth positive. Previous months' strong growth rates were affected upwards by base and compositional effects. These initial temporary factors have worked their way out. However, we are now comparing the latest period with a period where certain sectors had increasing numbers of employees on furlough because of the winter 2020 to 2021 lockdown. Therefore, a small amount of base effect will be present for these sectors. This will not be to the degree we saw when comparing periods at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
And, as the BBC succinctly put it, it all means that there are more job vacancies than unemployed people in the UK for the first time since records began:
However, given that inflation is now at 9% and businesses are struggling to meet pay demands, uncertainty will continue for some time:
A police officer sued Merseyside Police after a colleague whistled 'Dolly Parton' songs at him over his working hours. PC Stephen Knox has lost a sexual harassment claim after a colleague at Speke police station covered his desk in Dolly Parton photographs because he only worked from 9am to 5pm. PC Knox, a father-of-four, worked nine to five hours so he could care for his children and for his elderly mother. More from the Liverpool Echo:
A shop assistant was constructively unfairly dismissed after her manager told her to bring her daughter into work because she could not find childcare, a tribunal has found. The South London tribunal heard that Ms J Keating, who was the sole carer for her eight-year-old child, was put at a disadvantage when she was asked to start working weekends because she could not afford childcare and did not have anyone who could look after them. Judge Khalil concluded that while her employer, WH Smith Retail Holdings, had a legitimate need to schedule weekday workers to work on the weekend, there was “no consideration or exploration of any other less discriminatory way” of achieving this, which amounted to indirect sex discrimination. More from the Daily Mail:
EasyJet is to offer new and existing cabin crew a £1,000 bonus at the end of the summer holiday season, as airlines battle to retain and recruit staff. The airline said the payments would acknowledge crews' contributions to what it expects to be a busy summer, with travel at near pre-Covid levels. It was revealed last month that British Airways is offering the same amount to new joiners as a "golden hello". More from the BBC:
Investment bank Goldman Sachs has said its senior staff will be allowed to take as much holiday as they want. There will be no cap on paid leave under the bank's new "flexible vacation" plans which are designed to promote "rest and recharge". Junior bankers, however, will still only be entitled to a fixed amount of holiday. More from the BBC:
A Translink bus strike due to begin on Tuesday of this week has been suspended. All bus services, including Translink, Ulsterbus, Metro, Goldline and Glider services had been due to be cancelled from 17-23 May. But on Monday afternoon, GMB said it had called off the strike after Translink put forward a revised pay deal. More from the BBC:
Ex-Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has been ordered to pay more than £430,000 to a former employee who he sexually assaulted and harassed. In July last year an employment tribunal upheld the claims by 'Ms A' and it has now released the judgement on how much compensation she is entitled to. The total sum to be paid to the woman is £434,435.39, which includes £171,251.51 for loss of earnings and pension, £44,000 for injury to feelings and £27,000 damages for personal injury. Mr Hill, the former Labour MP, must also undertake training about sexual harassment in the workplace. More from Teesside Live:
This section is brought to you by Ciara Fulton, Partner at Lewis Silkin (N.I.) LLP. Ciara is dual-qualified and practices law throughout the island of Ireland. Contact Ciara on firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Calculate the Gender Pay Gap Metrics in Ireland: Guidance Note and FAQs
The Irish government has published guidance on how to calculate the gender pay gap metrics:
It is suggested that organisations approach the calculation of their gender pay gap metrics in the following manner:
- Choose the snapshot date in June 2022.
- The reporting deadline is 6 months after that date, in December 2022.
- The reporting period is the 12-month period immediately preceding and including the snapshot date.
EXAMPLE: The organisation chooses Friday 24 June 2022 as its snapshot date. Its reporting deadline is 24 December 2022. Its reporting period is 25 June 2021 to 24 June 2022.
The post indicates that these guidelines are only intended to provide guidance. The Regulations will provide the legal basis for reporting. We hope to see the Regulations this month.
The Irish government has also published FAQs...
Gender Pay Gap Information Reporting: Your questions answered (Employers)
Síobhra Rush, Partner, Lewis Silkin has written an article on these development for Legal Island:
Sick Leave Bill 2022: Report and Final Stages
The above Bill was debated in Dáil Éireann this week and much of the discussion centred on penalties against employers who do not provide sick pay entitlement to sick employees. In particular, queries from TDs produced these responses from Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD. First of all an explanation around the number of days being proposed:
"The statutory entitlement to sick pay will be phased in as part of a four-year plan. The initial entitlement would be to three paid sick leave days per year once the Bill is enacted and commenced. This will, effectively, fill the gap in coverage caused by the illness benefit waiting days. Closing the gap of current waiting days before being able to access illness benefit will help to reduce the number of sick employees presenting for work. It is important to point out that illness benefit kicks in on day four and runs up to one year and, in some cases, for two years."
In relation to removing or reducing the continuous service qualification period of 13 weeks:
"I am sympathetic to the point the Deputies are making. Deputy Bruton from my party spoke in favour of this change earlier as well. In particular, when we are saying that it has to be certified, there is an argument for saying that the right should kick in at an earlier stage. At the same time, I am sensitive to the fact that there are employers who take people on seasonally, perhaps for just a short period of three to five or six weeks over the summer. If they found that they spent half of that time paying somebody to be out sick and paying the person's replacement, that would put an undue burden on them particularly for those types of summer jobs and very short-term jobs. That is why we have gone with the view that the person should accrue at least some service. I am not minded to accept the amendments, but I understand the Deputies' motivation. It might be something we change in the future."
In relation to any future reduction to the number of sick days being paid:
"Section 6 provides that the first ministerial order made under the Bill will not reduce the number of statutory sick leave days. Subsection (2)(a)(i) provides that no ministerial order will reduce the number of statutory sick leave days below three. This means that once the Bill is enacted and commenced, the number of statutory sick leave days can never go below three. The effect of the amendment would be that the number of sick leave days provided could never be reduced. I have set out the four-year plan and there are currently no plans to reduce the number of sick leave days provided for under the Bill. I have been very clear about our intention to move to ten days over time."
In relation to the rate of sick pay:
"I have been clear in my medium-term plan, which is to set the rate at 70% of pay, capped at €110 per day. That figure will obviously rise now as incomes are rising. That makes sure employers know what their obligations will be. It is the principle we applied when we designed the pandemic unemployment payment, which was for roughly 70% income replacement up to a capped figure. A minimum rate entitlement will also be set to ensure all workers will receive a reasonable level of compensation. That will be similar to illness benefit. The principle behind us not making it 100%, although that would be possible under the legislation, is that the costs should be shared, approximately 70% by the employer and approximately 30% by the employee, and then by the State through illness benefit, which is funded by employers and employees as well. I need to bear in mind the very high costs that can arise for some employers, not just covering the 70% cost of somebody being out sick but also the 100% cost of the person they have to replace, and perhaps the premium they have to pay for him or her on top of that. This can therefore be a very high cost for an employer, especially if he or she has to pay to replace a member of staff."
There was much debate on penalties facing employers should they fail to pay statutory sick pay - and penalties have been reduced:
"These amendments amend the maximum penalty the Workplace Relations Commission or Labour Court may award if an employer breaches obligations under the Bill. That now moves from 20 weeks' remuneration to four weeks' remuneration. This will bring the penalty more into line with the protections afforded to other types of leave, where the level of penalty is approximately in line with the duration of the leave concerned... These things amount to a judgment call. My original view was the same as the Deputies in that it should be 20 weeks' remuneration but having taken advice, in particular legal advice, and heard the views of many others, we had to try to make sure the penalty was proportionate to the offence... To be clear, it is not that the legal advice is that the provision is not constitutional or we could not do it. It is that when we are drafting legislation, we should try to make sure that penalties are proportionate to the offence. That is a basic principle of justice. A more severe offence has a bigger penalty. As things stand, it is two weeks' entitlement and two weeks' penalty in respect of paternity leave. What we originally proposed for sick pay was ten days' entitlement and 20 weeks' penalty, which appeared disproportionate. We are now proposing that if somebody is not given ten days' sick pay, he or she will have to get the ten days and the penalty would be up to 20 days or four weeks. The penalty, if you like, is double the offence. If we decide to go beyond ten days, we could go up from four weeks, but it will be four weeks from day one."
20 High Quality Training Places on PwC Professional Services Assured Skills Academy
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has welcomed the sixth PwC Professional Services Assured Skills Academy offering the opportunity for 20 individuals to kick start a career in professional services.
This exciting opportunity is open to people with a 2:2 degree in any discipline, as well those with a Level 5 qualification (HND or Foundation Degree) who have some experience in an office, banking or professional environment. Successful Academy participants will be part of Operate, PwC’s operational delivery business providing future-focused solutions to challenging operational issues.
Funded by the Department for the Economy, this PwC Professional Services Assured Skills Academy will see participants receive eight weeks industry-relevant pre-employment training delivered by Belfast Met.
Applications for the PwC Professional Services Academy are open now and will close on 5 June 2002.
Minister Lyons also announced the third Assured Skills Academy with ASOS in Belfast:
And FinTrU also has Legal Assured Skills Academy opportunities in Belfast and the North West:
Lunch and Learn with MCS Group - Emerging Trends in HR Roles
Grab your lunch and join Rolanda Markey, Learning and Development Team at Legal Island and Ryan Calvert, Manager of HR Recruitment for UK and Ireland, as they discuss the key trends emerging in HR recruitment. Ryan serves up some digestible golden nuggets of information and guidance that will leave you feeling satiated and refreshed!
Join us at 1pm on the 14th June 2022 and send any questions you may have in advance to email@example.com.
Employment Law at 11 - With O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors
The First Friday of every month (11:00am - 11:45am)
Register for the next webinar in the series, during which Christine Quinn from Legal Island will discuss your employment-related questions with Seamus McGranaghan from the employment team at O'Reilly Stewart solicitors.
Join Christine and Seamus and up to 500 participants as they discuss your employment law queries live in our webinar series, “Employment Law at 11”.
Tell your HR colleagues and register individually or get your HR team around the computer and use the webinars as monthly group learning opportunities. Ask any questions (on employment law) and hear the answers live or catch up later when we upload both a recording and transcript of the discussion.
NOTE: – send questions in live during the webinars or drop a line in advance to Katie@legal-island.com. Anonymity assured.
Check out previous discussions:
Saturday will be rather cloudy, with light showers likely to drift in from the west throughout the day. Sunday looks to be another mainly cloudy day with outbreaks of showery rain, although some sunshine is possible later in the day. Maximum daytime temperatures of 16°C.
Go to the BBCNI for local information:
This week's thought-provoking video is "The radical act of choosing common ground". To achieve lasting change sometimes requires the hard, even radical, choice of partnering with people you'd least expect. Justice reform advocate Nisha Anand shares her story of working with her ideological opposite to make history and save lives -- and urges us all to widen our circles in order to make progress with purpose
And don't forget the A&L Goodbody 'Back to Basics' series of videos on the Legal-Island website if you want a quick check of NI employment rights. As well as a short video from the team, there's a transcript for reference purposes.
Enjoy the weekend.
The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.