do you need to pay an employee who is held in custody?

The normal rule is that an employee who is ready and willing to work but is unable to do so by reason of sickness, injury or other unavoidable impediment will, if his contract continues and subject to its terms, still be entitled to pay.

In a recent case an employee, perhaps somewhat cheekily, argued that this meant he was entitled to pay for a period when he was prevented from coming to work because he had been remanded in custody


minimum wage update

The annual National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations which increase the National Minimum Wage from the 1 October each year have now been laid before Parliament in draft form. Following the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, they will provide for increases in the National Minimum Wage from 1st October 2011 as follows:


a sign of the times: much news about redundancies

Although sometimes used as a euphemism for dismissal, “redundancy” is nothing of the sort. It is a reason for dismissal, which may of course be fair or unfair dismissal. Three recent cases have shown that the Employment Appeal Tribunal will take a practical, pragmatic view of what is fair and unfair. The first two are concerned with selection of employees for redundancy dismissal and the third concerns consultation obligations.


health and safety: the return of “common sense”?

On the one hand, the Health and Safety Executive is becoming increasingly sensitive to suggestions that the way in which it enforces health and safety rules is excessively pernickety and can lead to red tape stifling initiative and supplanting common sense. It is currently conducting a high level campaign to bring proportionality into centre stage. Two recent examples are the public spat between the HSE and the tennis authorities and a recent HSE consultation on “proposals for replacement arrangements for adventure activities”.


Bribery Act 2010 now in force

The Bribery Act 2010 was passed just over a year ago, on 8 April 2010, as one of the final pieces of legislation enacted by the last Labour government.  The incoming Coalition government originally intended to bring the Act into force on 1 October 2010 but postponed this until April 2011 and then postponed it again while non-statutory Guidance was finalised.

The Act eventually came into force on 1 July 2011.


right to legal representation at a disciplinary hearing

Since September 2000 the basic rule has been that a worker (as defined) has the right to be accompanied by a fellow worker or trade union representative at an employer’s internal disciplinary or grievance hearing.  The companion does not have the right to answer questions on behalf of the worker but does have the right  to put the worker’s case, to sum up that case and to respond on the worker’s behalf to any views expressed at the hearing.


principles for uplifting compensation and calculating loss of earnings

The general purpose of damages and compensation in civil cases in UK law is (so far as money can do so) to put the winner of a case as nearly as possible in the position he would have been if he had not been wronged. Hence compensation is generally unlimited, although there are, of course, statutory limits in certain cases, such as the cap on the compensatory award that an employment tribunal can order in unfair dismissal cases (currently £68,400).

The Court of Appeal has recently given new guidance on how courts and tribunals should approach two particular issues which can arise in the calculation of compensation in employment cases


beware when dealing with CCTV images

It seems that the anomalies which can be found in modern life are expanding exponentially. Last weekend it was reported that “crime maps” on Government websites which identify the locations of local villains are going to be enhanced so that details of crimes, criminals and even photographs will be made available. Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner has taken action against Internet Eyes, a business with a website that rewards members for spotting shoplifters using CCTV footage.


the sad case of Baby P and Sharon Shoesmith

Newspaper coverage of the Court of Appeal’s ruling on 27 May in the Sharon Shoesmith case is sensationalist to say the least. The position is misrepresented by headlines such as “Sharon Shoesmith, who was vilified after the death of the toddler Baby P, won her appeal yesterday that she was ‘unfairly and unlawfully’ sacked” (the Independent on 28 May), “‘I’m over the moon’: Baby P scandal boss Sharon Shoesmith set for £1m payout after court rules she was unlawfully dismissed” (the Daily Mail 28 May); or “On Friday, the Court of Appeal ruled she was unfairly sacked, and a leading employment lawyer said she could receive as much as £1 million if the decision is not overturned” (the Guardian on 28 May).