In November 2021, Acas published its long-awaited guidance note on fire and rehire, now the Government has announced that it will introduce a new statutory code on the practice for employers. It is expected that the code will include practical steps that employers should follow and that the employment tribunal will have the power to award up to a 25% uplift on compensation awarded to an employee if the tribunal finds that the employer has unreasonably failed to comply with the code.
The Acas non-statutory guidance makes clear that fire and rehire should be an option of last resort and that employers should first have made all reasonable attempts to reach agreement through full consultation. This guidance can be accessed by clicking here. For our previous briefing on this please click here.
On 16 June 2022, Acas published results of a survey which it reports shows 3 in 5 employers have seen an increase in hybrid working since the COVID-19 pandemic, available here. The results were accompanied by guidance from Acas which stated:
Acas' advice for employers includes:
- 'a company hybrid working policy should explain how someone can request it, how job roles will be assessed and how decisions will be made – it can also include principles such as allowing remote working for a maximum number of days a week
- ensure staff who are working remotely are not excluded and have access to the same opportunities as those in the workplace such as team building activities, training and social activities
- decisions around whether to approve a staff request for hybrid working should be fair, transparent and other forms of flexible working could be discussed as possible alternatives
- make sure employees have the necessary equipment and information to work safely from home – employees might experience pain if they do not have the right working equipment, for example they might have back problems caused by an unsuitable chair and desk
- staff working from home may struggle with switching off from work or work longer hours – employers must follow the law on working hours and employees should make sure they take their rest breaks and take care of their mental health
- consider a trial period to see if it works and if any further adjustments to arrangements are needed.'
Since the COVID-19 pandemic Stone King has advised many of its clients in relation to flexible working. If your organisation needs general or specific assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact Stone King’s Employment Law Team or your usual contact at Stone King who will allocate your query.
Following reports, it was confirmed by a parliamentary written answer that the Education Secretary is examining plans to bolster the rights of teachers who choose not to join a union by allow them to be accompanied to grievance and disciplinary hearings by an external lawyer or representative of a body other than a union.
For further guidance on employment issues, please contact Stone King’s Employment Law Team or your usual contact at Stone King who will allocate your query.