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Law firm says staff can work from home but will have to take a 20% pay cut

According to legal sector news website RollOnFriday, which first reported the new policy, management at law firm Stephenson Harwood have decided to let staff work from home full-time but those who opt to go fully remote will have their pay cut by 20%. The option is included in the firm's new hybrid and remote working policy, which came into force at the start of May. Stephenson Harwood has also offered its employees the option of a hybrid model, working up to two days remotely for the same salary.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton 10 May 2022

Pandemic has made four-day working week viable for businesses

A new report from Henley Business School titled The four-day week: The pandemic and the evolution of flexible-working, explores the benefits of working fewer days to both organisations and workers, including improved quality of work (64%), the ability to attract and retain the right talent (68%), and employees feeling less stressed at work (78%).

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton 9 May 2022

Amusement arcade worker wins unfair dismissal claim after not being told she was fired for four months

In Una Sault v Empire Amusements & Cheeky Monkey's Soft Play Centre Ms Sault, an amusement arcade worker, spent four months believing that she still had a job while on sick leave for mental health problems. Ms Sault claimed that her employment was terminated only when this decision was communicated to her verbally by Miss Rachel Greason, the Café Manager, during a conversation on 4 July 2020. Her employer’s case is that the termination date was 15 March 2020, the date when it asserts that a letter of dismissal was hand delivered to her home address informing her of the summary termination of her employment. Ms Sault denied receiving that letter.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton 6 May 2022

House of Commons employee with musculoskeletal condition wins disability discrimination claim after other staff used her hot desk

In the case of Ms A Baker v House of Commons Commission Alison Baker worked at the House of Commons from 1991. In 2005 she started to experience musculoskeletal symptoms and the Parliamentary Health and Wellbeing Service team recommended equipment for her to use at work. This equipment included an orthopaedic chair, specialist keyboard, mouse, number pad and reading/writing slope. Ms Baker’s orthopaedic chair was able to swivel, to reduce the need for her to twist her back or neck.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton 5 May 2022

CIPD research shows growing number of employers report increased productivity from hybrid working

The number of employers who report that an increase in homeworking has increased their organisation’s productivity or efficiency has jumped significantly over the last year, according to new research from the CIPD. When asked in December 2020, a third (33%) of employers said homeworking had increased their organisation’s productivity or efficiency. However, when asked about increased home/hybrid working in October/November 2021, over two-fifths (41%) said these new ways of working had increased this.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton 4 May 2022

Employment tribunal proceedings could be recorded

The Law Gazette reports that employment tribunal hearings conducted remotely would be recorded and transcripts made available under plans being considered by senior judges. Last month, more than 300 doctors, journalists and whistleblowers wrote to Sir Keith Lindblom, the senior president of tribunals and the heads of the employment tribunals in England, Wales and Scotland, voicing concern over the lack of recordings. Unlike in most other jurisdictions, no official recording or transcripts are made of proceedings in the employment tribunal, which campaigners say creates unfairness, especially to unrepresented litigants.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton 3 May 2022


Firm fined by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after employee loses finger in machinery accident

The HSE has fined a North West company that manufactures soft furnishings after an employee sustained serious hand injuries whilst working on an automatic duvet rolling machine. Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that on 13 November 2018, two employees of Azura Soft Furnishings (UK) Limited had been instructed to sew and pack duvets by the company’s managing director, Mr Tariq Majid. The machine was being trialled by the company.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton 29 April 2022

Teacher loses unfair dismissal claim after forgetting about pupil she had sent out of class

In the case of Mrs S Smith v Cognita Schools Limited Suzanne Smith was a teacher based at St. Clare’s School in Porthcawl, an independent school owned and run by Cognita Schools Limited. In December 2020, she ordered a pupil out of her class for removing his covid mask to have a drink of water - just 38 seconds after the lesson began.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton 28 April 2022