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Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Employment Law Journal: February 2015

Gemma Parker examines the findings of a recent survey into the likely uptake of flexible leave for mothers and fathers during the first year of their child’s life

Shared parental leave (SPL) is a completely new type of family leave that will be available to parents of babies due or children placed for adoption from 5 April 2015. As has been widely publicised, for the first time eligible parents will have the opportunity to take leave in the first year of their child’s life in a fully flexible way. Working parents will be able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of statutory pay, which they can take either at the same time or independently of one another. This flexibility presents an opportunity for employers as well as a number of practical challenges.

The government’s attempt to limit claims for unpaid holiday could be undermined by a new ruling, warns Louise Mason

In the wake of the ruling in Bear Scotland v Fulton [2014], the government has introduced legislation limiting a worker’s ability to claim for underpaid backdated holiday pay.

Mark Kaye considers a recent EAT decision on the right of women on maternity leave to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy

Women on maternity leave have special protection in a redundancy situation by virtue of Reg 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 (the regulations). Effectively, they receive priority over all other employees in relation to suitable alternative vacancies. If such an employee is not offered a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists, her dismissal will be automatically unfair.

Employers must provide employees with substantial consideration in exchange for signing up to new contract terms if they are to be effective, explains Stefan Martin

A recent High Court decision is an important reminder that even if an employee signs up to restrictions, they will not be binding unless the employer gives some form of consideration in return.

A recent case highlights the importance of following proper procedures when amending employees’ contracts, writes Michael Ryley

The operational and financial pressures that businesses face frequently require them to be flexible in the way they deploy and remunerate their workforces. How easily they can achieve that flexibility will depend on factors such as workers’ employment status, the inherent flexibility of current employment terms and the threat of industrial action around plans for change.

Olswang

Is it lawful for an employer to dismiss someone because they pose a risk to its reputation or brand? Melanie Lane, Stephanie Pitman and Tamsin Blow report

The reputation of a business is one of its most important assets. It is the basis for building and, crucially, maintaining relationships with customers, suppliers, investors, employees and public authorities.

Alexandra Mizzi analyses the ECJ’s decision on whether an obese childminder could bring a discrimination claim

Just before the festive season began its annual assault on the nation’s waistlines, it was unsurprising that the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) decision in FOA v Kommunernes Landsforening (2014),on whether a severely obese worker could bring a discrimination claim, received much media attention. Despite the controversy, the decision does not establish any radical new principle in UK employment law. It may, however, have some interesting practical implications.

Pamela Morris and Jo Joyce discuss the issues raised by the use of wearable technology in the workplace

Production of Google Glass was halted last month. Privacy concerns may have played a part in the decision, although the company has said it remains committed to developing a new version of its controversial smart glasses. Meanwhile, the use of other forms of wearable technology is rapidly expanding, which together with smart phones, could allow people’s personal data to be misused.