Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Topic of the Week

New Fit For Work Guidance

The Department for Work and Pensions has issued guidance on the new Fit for Work Service.

Fit for work offers a free Occupational Health Assessment for any Employees who have been or who are expected to be off work for four weeks or more to help them to return to work sooner.  It offers work related medical advice via a telephone service and website.  The advice service is due to be up and running in May 2015 being rolled over a period of months.

Read more: New Fit For Work Guidance


Is obesity protected under disability discrimination laws?

In the case of Kaltoft v Municipality of Billund heard in a Danish court, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that an obese person may be disabled and protected by disability discrimination laws.

Kaltoft worked as a childminder for 15 years before being dismissed. During his employment, he was categorised as Class III obese (or severe, extreme or morbidly obese) under the World Health Organisation classification. He claimed he was dismissed because of his obesity and brought discrimination proceedings.

The court asked the ECJ whether discrimination on grounds of obesity is unlawful or alternatively whether obesity can be classified as a 'disability' under the Equal Treatment Framework Directive.

Read more: Is obesity protected under disability discrimination laws?


Overtime and Holiday Pay

On 4th November 2014, the Employment Appeal Tribunal made a groundbreaking judgement that overtime should be included in holiday pay.  Rather than paying workers basic pay, holiday pay should be calculated based on average earnings in the 12 weeks leading up to the worker's holiday.  The tribunal ruled that workers could make backdated claims but only for the 3 months prior to any holiday pay being received.  The ruling could be referred to the Court of Appeal meaning that a final decision on whether overtime should be included may be years away.  However, it is worth looking at how holiday pay is calculated at the moment and also whether any change in the calculation of holiday pay is included in the calculation of pensionable earnings.  Another point to consider is that if holiday pay is based on actual earnings it could be affected if the worker is off sick at any time during the 12 week period.

Ebola Concerns - What can an Employer do?


With the current Ebola outbreak making news headlines, Employers may be considering what steps can and should be taken in the event that an Employee has recently travelled to an area that is experiencing a significant rate of infection. The World Health Organisation has stated the "risk of a tourist or businessperson becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported." Nevertheless, Employers understandably want to ensure a safe workplace.

Read more: Ebola Concerns - What can an Employer do?


Time off to attend antenatal appointments

From 1st October 2014 there is a statutory right to take time off to attend two antenatal appointments from day one of employment. These should not be for more that six and a half hours and must be made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse. 

Read more: Time off to attend antenatal appointments


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