The Practical Lawyer


Sickness – holiday?

The ECJ has confirmed the impact of the Working Time Directive on the entitlement of employees to statutory holiday while off sick. In essence, workers are entitled to accrue their holiday entitlement throughout the sickness absence (however long that may be). So, staff must be allowed to take such holiday on return to work (or be paid in lieu of it if the employment terminates). Note in particular that the entitlement to holiday will roll over from year to year.

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Child birth – five-day return?

Much publicity was given to the French justice minister who returned to work just five days after giving birth.

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Unfair dismissal – incapacity benefit

Can you deduct incapacity benefit when working out the compensatory award (for lost earnings) in an unfair dismissal case?

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Insolvency – NIF

If a company goes into administration and employees are dismissed as a result, or where a company’s assets are liquidated, staff can claim limited sums from the National Insurance Fund:

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Statutory procedures – abolition

The statutory dismissal and grievance procedures are abolished as from 6 April.

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Dismissal – Step 1 letter

The statutory disciplinary procedures require the employer to send a Step 1 letter which ‘sets out in writing the employee’s alleged conduct or characteristics, or other circumstances, which lead him to contemplate dismissing or taking disciplinary action against the employee’.

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DDPs – new ACAS Code

The statutory Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedures are abolished as from 6 April.

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Age – retirement at 65

Are the UK’s age discrimination laws wrong to allow dismissals at age 65? The ECJ has ruled that such a provision can, in principle, be justified as not being against EU law.

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Unfair dismissal – final salary pension

Being part of a final salary pension scheme is a valuable benefit, and can be a source of compensation in an unfair dismissal award. That will be so even if the employee gets a new job, at a higher rate of pay.

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Discrimination – ‘harassment’

’Harassment’ has a different meaning under the discrimination laws than it does under Protection from Harassment Act 1997. As far as discrimination is concerned, we now have a unified definition from the EAT that applies across all areas of discrimination law.

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