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Beware red tape day

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Here is a “red tape day” checklist for employers:

* The right to request flexible working has been extended to apply to parents until the day before their child’s 17th birthday (or 18th if the child has a disability). There is a strict, legally required process which must be followed after receiving such a request. Don’t forget the risk of indirect sex discrimination, which can crop up with many such requests – even if the correct form or process is not used by the person making the request.

* The statutory dismissal and grievance procedures have been abolished. However, be aware of the difficult, transitional rules that apply to their abolition. Grievances about matters which occurred or started before this weekend will still come under the old procedures. Under the new process, a dismissal can no longer be automatically “unfair” for failing to follow the ACAS code. Plus, there is no longer the possibility of a 50 per cent uplift on any award – the maximum is 25 per cent.

* The new ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures applies to any grievances about events from today and to any disciplinary procedures in which the hearing invite letter is sent on or after today. Read it prior to any hearings or decision meetings to make sure you are complying. The more detailed ACAS guidance document may also be worth reading before reaching a decision – but it is considerably longer and does not have the same legal weight as the code.

* There are new tribunal claim and response forms, which can be downloaded here. Paid holiday increases from 4.8 to 5.6 weeks. For most employers with employees on a five-day week, this will already be covered by 20 days plus bank holidays. However, it may raise particular issues with employees who: do not normally get paid bank holidays; have some form of pay which incorporates holidays; have a variable working pattern; or only get paid bank holidays if they are rostered to work those days and do a work pattern that does not cover sufficient bank holidays to make up their legal leave entitlement.

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If you would like further employment law advice, contact legal eagle Martin Edwards, head of employment law at Mace & Jones, at: martin.edwards@maceandjones.co.uk. Or any member of the Mace & Jones employment law or HR team in Liverpool: 0151 236 8989; Manchester: 0161 214 0500; Knutsford: 01565 634 234.

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