30
May

Holiday entitlement

Almost all full-time workers in the UK are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ (or 28 days) paid holiday per year. This is known as their statutory leave entitlement or annual leave. Legally, employers can include bank holidays in this total although not all employers do this. Employers are also free to provide additional non statutory holiday entitlement.

An employee’s actual statutory entitlement depends on how many days you work per week but all employees including part-time, agency or casual workers are entitled to holiday. There is no statutory entitlement to holidays for the self-employed and there are special rules for those in the armed forces, police and civil protection services.

Part-time workers are entitled to a pro-rata entitlement. For example, 5.6 days holiday per year if they work one day a week. Employees who work irregular days or hours or that are in the first year of a new job can use HMRC’s holiday entitlement calculator to work out how many days they are entitled to.
   
HMRC is clear that workers have the right to:

  • get paid for leave;
  • build up holiday entitlement during maternity, paternity and adoption leave;
  • build up holiday entitlement while off work sick;
  • request holiday at the same time as sick leave.

Any employee that has a problem with their holiday pay should try and resolve the issue with their employer. If this does not work, there are a number of ways to resolve the dispute including contacting ACAS or taking the employer to an employment tribunal.

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30
May

Off-payroll working

The rules for individuals providing services to the public sector via an intermediary such as a personal service company (PSC) changed from April 2017. The new rules shift the responsibility for deciding whether the intermediaries’ legislation applies, known as IR35, from the intermediary itself to the public sector receiving the service. The public sector organisation receiving the services is ultimately held responsible for paying taxes and penalties where an error has occurred. HMRC estimates that they have raised an additional

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21
May

New guidance published for employers on setting dress codes and sex discrimination

Following a joint report ("High heels and workplace dress codes") published by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee and Petitions Committee in January 2017, the Government Equalities Office has finally published promised new guidance on “Dress codes and sex discrimination – what you need to know”.

The new guidance is aimed at employers who set dress codes and employees and job applicants who may have to abide by them. It advises employers that while dress codes can be a legitimate part of their terms and conditions of employment and dress policies for men and women do not have to be identical, the standards imposed should be equivalent or similar. It also warns that gender specific prescriptive requirements, such as requirements for women to wear high heels, make up, skirts, manicured nails, certain hairstyles or specific types of hosiery, are likely to be unlawful. In addition, it states that dress codes must not be a source of harassment by work colleagues or customers, for example expecting women to dress in a provocative manner or to wear revealing clothing. According to the guidance, a dress code that requires all employees to dress smartly would be lawful, provided the definition of “smart” is reasonable, such as a two-piece suit with low-heeled shoes for both sexes.

Although the guidance is specifically aimed at preventing sex discrimination and harassment, it also covers making reasonable adjustments to dress codes for disabled employees and allowing transgender employees to follow a dress code in a way which they feel matches their gender identity and it urges employers to be flexible and not set dress codes which prohibit religious symbols that do not interfere with an employee’s work.

The guidance is non-statutory, meaning it is not provided for in legislation and need not be taken into account by employment tribunals. It is simply aimed at assisting with employers’ and employees’ understanding of the law.

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