HR Round Up October 2016

We have put together a quick round up of the latest HR case law as well as some topical HR issues in the news:

Holiday Pay

A recent court ruling in the Lock v British Gas case ruled that employers must include compensation for any results based commission that would ordinarily be earned while on holiday.  This is important to anyone who runs a commission scheme or who makes payments in addition to basic salary for example overtime/stand by payments.  Employers should check their current policies to ensure that they comply with this recent change.

Shared Parental Pay

Employers who pay mothers different rates of shared parental leave to fathers could find themselves guilty of sex discrimination. In the Snell v Network Rail case, Mr Snell was awarded almost £30,000 in a sex discrimination ruling when the employer refused pay him the same as his wife while on shared parental leave. He only received statutory pay during that period.  Network Rail has since introduced a new family friendly policy in which mothers and their partners are paid the statutory – rather than the enhanced rate, mothers used to receive – shared parental pay.  Employers should review their own policies in case they are discriminating against one sex or the other when it comes to shared parental leave.

Sick Leave

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently ruled in the Sobczyszyn v Szkota Podstawowa w Rzeplinie if sickness prevents a worker from taking annual leave due to sickness, then his or her annual leave can be carried forward into the next holiday year.

The Working Time Directive (WTD) must be interpreted as precluding national legislation or a national practice from refusing an employee, at the end of convalescence leave, the right to take his or her paid annual leave in a subsequent period.

The purpose of the right to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and relax which is in contrast to the right to paid sick leave which enables the worker to recover.

The Court ruled that a worker has the right to take annual leave during a period that does not coincide with the period of sick leave.  However regulation 13(9) which says that statutory annual leave can be used only in the year to which it relates and therefore cannot be carried forward into the next year is incompatible with other interpretations of the WTD.

Mental Health

The 10th October saw World Mental Health Day which was recognised across the globe.  This important day highlighted how employers can better support their staff’s mental wellbeing.  Mental ill health is the third biggest cause of absence in the workplace and presenteeism accounts for 1.5 times more lost productivity than absences.  Absence costs employers around £26 billion per year.

There is still a certain stigma surrounding mental illness and more should be done to encourage open discussions about mental health in the workplace.  Organisations should consider investing in mental health training which could help to identify signs of mental illness and guide people towards the right support.  Employers should provide provisions for employees who are experiencing a mental health issue and be on the lookout for behavioural changes.

If you’d like some advice on how Bradfield’s HR Advisors could help you on any of the issues mentioned or anything else HR related then please call us on 0207 977 9200 or email us


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