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Have I got News for You…

20th October 2016

  • Thousands of British holiday makers, relaxing in the knowledge that they are receiving commission as part of their normal holiday pay may have been unaware of the turmoil that could have awaited them in this week’s Court of Appeal judgement in the case of British Gas Trading Ltd v Lock. Luckily for our holidaymakers, the Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, and concluded that that the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) can be interpreted compatibly with the EU Working Time Directive. This technically dull, yet important decision, confirms that British holiday makers can continue to unwind and enjoy their holiday as their pay continues to include results-based commission that they would have earned if they were not on holiday.

    *Note to employer - this holiday pay calculation only affects the first four weeks of WTR holiday pay each year (or the pro rata equivalent for a part-timer); it does not affect any contractual holiday pay over and above 20 days.
  • Employers can learn lessons from the recent fine of £1.6m levied against the British production company responsible for the health and safety breaches in which Harrison Ford felt the force of the hydraulic door on his leg during the filming of "Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens” in 2014. Mr Ford sustained a broken leg and related injuries despite the production company having carried out a risk assessment. The Court took a highly critical view of the lack of communication at the site, citing it to be the “most serious” health and safety breach contributing to the incident. Note to all employers - not only must a risk assessment be carried out, but it must be appropriately actioned and communicated to all relevant parties.
  • A father who won his sex discrimination case against Network Rail has been awarded over £26,000 compensation, by a Scottish employment tribunal. The company’s shared parental leave policy which offered enhanced shared parental pay to mothers but only statutory shared parental pay to fathers, was unsurprising held to be discriminatory. The more significant issue (which remains untested) is whether it would be discriminatory for an employer to offer enhanced maternity pay but not to offer enhanced shared parental pay. The Government’s Technical Guidance takes the view that this would not discriminatory and there is no statutory requirement to do so. There are a number of claims currently going through the tribunals on this issue and so at some point in the future we will have a more definitive answer.

The contents of this newsletter are intended as guidance for readers. It can be no substitute for specific advice. Consequently we cannot accept responsibility for this information, errors or matters affected by subsequent changes in the law, or the content of any website referred to in this newsletter. © Mundays LLP 2016.

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