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Legal Updates: Legal Updates 2021

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National Living Wage to increase next year by 6.6%, to £9.50 an hour

The government has announced in the 2021 Budget that the National Living Wage will increase to £9.50 from April 2022. Ministers have accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation for a 6.6% increase from £8.91, which applies to workers aged 23 and over. For those aged 21 to 22, the minimum will increase from £8.36 to £9.18.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 2 November 2021

Justice Justice

Differing decisions in two separate claims relating to Employer’s Justified Retirement Age policy upheld by EAT

In the case of Pitcher v Chancellor Masters And Scholars Of The University Of Oxford the EAT considered joined appeals relating to the application of the Employer Justified Retirement Age policy (“EJRA”) operated by the University of Oxford (“the University”) and, in the case of Professor Pitcher, St John’s College (“the College”).

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 1 November 2021

EAT rules that a constructive dismissal can constitute an act of discriminatory harassment

In the case of Ms M Driscoll v Varela, Ms Driscoll was employed as an executive assistant by V & P Global Ltd, a legal recruitment consultancy. She worked closely with Mr Varela, the founder and chief executive of the consultancy. Ms Driscoll asserts that, on various occasions in the course of her employment, Mr Varela made comments which constituted harassment related to sex, race or disability, contrary to section 26 of the Equality Act; that she was victimised by him, after her employment had ended; and that the consultancy was in breach of its duty to provide written particulars of employment.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 29 October 2021

CIPD releases new in-depth report urging immigration reforms to tackle labour shortage

According to the CIPD, which launched a new in-depth report ‘Addressing skills and labour shortages post-Brexit’ based on a survey of more than 2000 employers and focus groups with employers in low-paying sectors, short-term interventions on immigration policy are required to tackle the immediate labour crisis. It finds that most labour and skills shortages currently facing the UK pre-date the pandemic and are therefore unlikely to be resolved by the gradual return to pre-pandemic norms.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 28 October 2021

Timpson boss announces that all staff can claim back HRT prescription costs

James Timpson, the CEO of the retailer best known for key cutting and shoe repairs, announced on Twitter that ‘…all my colleagues can claim on expenses their prescription costs when they are recommended HRT. It’s so important that we support our colleagues going through the menopause.’

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 27 October 2021

Large companies will have to disclose their environmental impact under new government plans

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has published a roadmap setting out details on new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements which will mean businesses must start disclosing their environmental impact. The new requirements will also apply to pension schemes, investment products and asset managers and owners.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 26 October 2021

HR trainer wins unfair dismissal claim after being sacked while on maternity leave

In the case of Mrs A Rodin v Dhillons Management Services Limited, Mrs Rodin provided training services to a company that managed HR activities over a number of franchise operations, including Dominos Pizza, Costa Coffee and others. Mrs Rodin earned £25,000 per annum. She stated that she had worked on the Domino's Pizza contract for 16 years and latterly was employed by Dhillons Management Services from May 2016.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 25 October 2021

Director of accountancy firm sentenced for advertising non-existent jobs

Tshovo Accountancy Services Limited had been prosecuted by the City of London Corporation’s Trading Standards Service and subsequently convicted of fraudulent trading, following a four-week trial at Southwark Crown Court. Wemba Akobola was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months at the Old Bailey. He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and banned from being a director for five years.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 22 October 2021

Guidance for employers on the end of the furlough scheme

How many jobs have been saved by the furlough scheme?  We won't ever know the answer to that question but 11.6 million jobs have been supported by the scheme at some point. That equates to roughly 40% of the total UK workforce. There is no doubt that, without the scheme, many thousands of employees would have lost their jobs. Anecdotally, we have seen far fewer redundancies than we expected at the beginning of the pandemic.  This is borne out by the September employment figures, which show that the UK employment rate has almost bounced back to its pre-pandemic level, and the latest ONS statistics indicate that the redundancy rate has returned to pre-COVID levels.

Article by: Karen Plumbley-Jones, Managing Associate - Womble Bond Dickinson | Published: 21 October 2021

Apprentice hairdresser loses age discrimination claim after being told to ‘grow up’

In the case of Ms Jasmine Stunell v Leo Bancroft Salon Ltd, an employment tribunal has ruled that being told to ‘grow up’ is not age discrimination. The panel said: 'The tribunal does not find the words 'grow up' and 'pull yourself together' in themselves are related to age and can be said to anyone and particularly to someone older who is acting in a childish way.'

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 21 October 2021