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Hewett Legal E-Bulletin - Christmas Edition

In this Christmas edition of our Legal E-Bulletin, Sally Morris - Partner and Head of Employment at mfg Solicitors shares with us advice on issues including how to manage employees when snow and bad weather strikes; The joys of the Staff Christmas Party; Increases to maternity, paternity and other statutory payments as well as an update on some if the latest Employment Tribunal cases to hit the headlines.

Are you ready for Christmas and 2017?
Chances are you have prepared your business financially for Christmas and the New Year, but have you prepared yourself for any employment law changes?
In our last e-bulletin for 2016, we explain what is in the pipeline, consider the impact of recent employment law developments, and consider what you need to contemplate ahead of the Christmas holidays.
Employment Law updates
New statutory pay rates published

The Government has announced the statutory rates for maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay and sick pay from 2 April 2017.
The current weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay will rise from £139.58 to £140.89 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate.
The rate of statutory sick pay will also rise from £88.45 to £89.35.
Living Wage Foundation increases minimum wage by 20p
The Living Wage Foundation has announced a 20p increase in its pay rate, a 3.7% rise in wages for employees.
The voluntary pay rate, which is not associated with the Government’s mandatory National Living Wage has increased to £9.75 per hour in London, and £8.45 per hour across the rest of the country.

Significant decisions from the Employment Tribunal
Implications for London bus company Abellio for not allowing an employee to take a break
Abellio employed Mr Grange who worked 8 hours a day plus a ½ hour unpaid lunch break.
Mr Grange was subsequently promoted and continued to work 8 hours a day, but the company expressed its expectation that he was to work straight through for 8 hours, without the ½ hour break, but to leave earlier than he would have done before.
He subsequently brought a tribunal claim stating Abellio acted unlawfully in refusing him rest breaks under the Working Time Regulations.
Read our online blog for the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision.
Unfairly dismissed BT worker awarded £31,000
A former BT worker has been awarded £31,000 compensation after being unfairly dismissed from his job due to claims he was discriminatory towards another employee.
Read our online blog for more information.
Litigant in person ordered to pay ex-employer’s costs in tribunal proceedings
Miss Liddington was dismissed and brought numerous claims against her employer for whistleblowing and unfair dismissal.
This a strange case on its own peculiar facts, but it emphasises that being a litigant in person does not give a free pass when it comes to the risk of being ordered to pay costs. It also emphasises the need to obtain legal advice and representation if you are involved in tribunal proceedings.
For more information about the case, read our online blog.
Dismissals following a Final Written Warning
Mr Bandara was employed by the BBC as a Producer. He was disciplined for a number of matters, such as prioritising the 30th anniversary of Black July in Sri Lanka over the birth of Prince George.
The BBC brought disciplinary proceedings against Mr Bandara and was subsequently given a Final Written Warning.
Shortly afterwards, the BBC commenced further investigations into Mr Bandara which culminated in Mr Bandara’s dismissal.
To find out about the Tribunal’s outcome and how it can affect your business, read our online blog.

Christmas employment law implications

The Christmas Party – “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
Hosting a Christmas party is a great way to reward staff for their loyalty and performance over the preceding year as well as providing staff with the opportunity to bond. However, whether held during or outside of working hours, Christmas parties can often be a minefield for managers.
In the run up to Christmas we often get asked how a party can be hosted without fear of an employment law hangover. Perhaps not surprisingly the most common question we get asked after a party is how to handle misconduct that has allegedly taken place.
Our online article sets out advice on how to survive the festive period and ensure that everyone still has a jolly good time.
Employers and snow 
The recent frosty mornings reminds us that winter has finally arrived, and disruption due to the weather is highly likely over the next few months.
Now is a good time to remind yourself of your obligations in relation to employees and bad weather. The main concerns raised by employers concern employees unable to travel to work, school closures and work, health and safety implications, employers close business and employees abusing adverse weather.
For more information about bad weather, read our online blog.
Fair dismissal of employee who refused to work Christmas overtime
An employment tribunal held that a food company employee was fairly dismissed after she refused to work overtime in the run-up to Christmas.
For more information, read our online blog.
Employment at mfg Solicitors
The employment law team at mfg are specialists who have a significant amount of experience assisting clients with their employment and HR issues.
We offer a premium service to our clients, ensuring that our advice to businesses is commercial, practical and relevant to their individual requirements. If you have any employment or HR issues, particularly with Christmas approaching, we would be more than happy to have a chat with you to understand your needs and circumstances.
We are also able to undertake a complimentary review of your Contracts of Employment and Staff Handbook for the Company. The report would be prepared on a complimentary basis and will advise you of any recommendations that we feel are necessary to update the documents and ensure that they are legally compliant. We can also provide you with an estimate of costs if you would like us to undertake any recommendations to your documentation.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Sally Morris at or on 01905 610410.


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