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Employment Law Journal: February 2014

A recent EAT case has revealed a gap in the protection for agency workers who work ‘indefinitely’ for the hirer, explains Sarah Ozanne

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (the regulations) came into force on 1 October 2011 and are designed to protect and grant rights to agency workers. Under the regulations, workers assigned to do temporary work for hirers through temporary work agencies are entitled to access to the hirer’s collective facilities and amenities and to information about its relevant job vacancies from day one of such assignment. In addition, after a 12-week qualifying period, agency workers are entitled to the same treatment in respect of basic employment conditions, including pay, duration of working time and annual leave, as equivalent workers recruited directly by the hirer.

Gary Freer considers a recent High Court ruling on whether a 12-month garden leave clause was reasonable

Those familiar with the short novel Candide by Voltaire – once a staple of A-level French courses – may remember that after many travels and experiences around the globe the eponymous hero, his relentless optimism dimmed by what he had seen and heard, concluded that the truly wise man should stay at home and cultivate his garden.

Employers need to take care over Sunday working despite a recent ruling that a Christian care worker did not have to be given the day off, warns Philippa O’Malley

The Court of Appeal has held that an employer was justified in requiring a Christian employee to work on Sundays, notwithstanding her belief that Sunday should be a day of rest. The main issue in Mba v London Borough of Merton [2013] was the relevance of how widely held the belief was to the proportionality of the discriminatory disadvantage suffered by the employee.

Tara Grossman and Nick Wright examine proposals to reform the UK’s workplace whistleblowing regime

In the wake of recent scandals in both the public and private sectors, the government is again looking at whether the UK’s statutory whistleblowing regime is fit for purpose. Building on the significant changes made to the regime in June 2013 (most notably the removal of the ‘good faith’ requirement and the introduction of the ‘public interest’ test), the reforms now being mooted can be divided into two categories:

Chris Wellham reviews the current position on annual leave and sickness absence in light of a series of European and domestic rulings

Over the past few years, there have been a number of judgments from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the interaction between holiday and sick leave. These cases have not always been compatible with UK law, which has created significant uncertainty for employers and practitioners, leading the government to propose legislative change.

Will Winch discusses recent rulings on how overtime and commission affect the calculation of annual leave payments

For employment lawyers, the idea of a holiday may be far from relaxing. Just as we begin to get used to the idea that the interaction between holidays and sick leave can be quite a complex area (see ‘Carry-over arguments carry on despite EAT decision’ by Chris Wellham, p12 of this issue), it turns out that calculating holiday pay may also prove more difficult than previously thought.

A recent case has highlighted the risks for employers of simply rubber stamping what their occupational health advisers tell them, reports Richard Barker

Employers managing employees on sickness absence often turn to their occupational health (OH) advisers for guidance on whether an employee comes within the legal definition of a disabled person. However, following the recent case of Gallop v Newport City Council [2013], employers need to be careful of unquestioningly relying on OH assessments of employees on long-term sickness absence.

Tom Flanagan highlights some of the dangers from the so-called shares for rights contracts

The introduction of controversial laws on 1 September 2013 that enabled workers to give up basic employee rights in exchange for shares in their company was, in my opinion, unnecessary and potentially damaging to the economy.